Cairo was – and still is – a cultural center for crafts, arts and creativity, where artisans, residents and visitors meet.
In the heart of Old Cairo and near the craftsmen workshops, French designer Blanchet has chosen to establish her “Take Caire” project to support handicrafts and heritage.
More than 12 years ago, the French interior designer decided to settle in Cairo, influenced by her passion for design and her interest in the Egyptian craft heritage, to complete her design career after she graduated from the French design school of INSEAD.
Blanchet showcased special interest in supporting traditional crafts and artisans in Egypt to develop their skills, open new fields for them to work, display their products in foreign exhibitions, and export abroad.
Take Caire was founded in 2012, borne from a deep understanding of Egyptian crafts.
The project developed by exploring new technologies and different materials. Each element tells the story of a fusion of two talents, two countries, and tradition and contemporary elements, so that the result is an Egyptian product with local materials and a modern spirit, most of which are recycled, such as copper, glass, wood, cotton, paper and green waste such as rice straw.
Through this initiative, craftsmanship and innovation merge through new methods of handmade design for young designers and entrepreneurs.
It aims to develop the skills of male and female artisans, adapting them to new horizons and enhancing their competencies with intensive vocational and technical training – in addition to introducing them to a wide range of local and international communities to market their designs.
In her project, Blanchet presents an exhibition open to the public in a building dating back to the 1930’s in the heart of Cairo, to serve as a cultural center that combines antiquity and modernity and diversifies creative energies.
It also started organizing workshops and lectures for craftsmen and individuals, in cooperation with the INSEAD.
Since 2015, it tended to rely mainly on the use of recycled materials, allowing Take Caire to become an innovate rolemodel for the Egyptian handicraft sector; one concerned with sustainability and aiming to become a 100 percent eco-friendly design brand.
Blanchet said that she is working to provide residencies for five French designers.
She added that she held her first workshop in 2012, the second in 2015, and the third in 2021.
These residencies last between one and two months, she explained, and are where French designers produce collections of designs in cooperation with craftsmen and concerned institutions in Egypt.
Every French designer works with the craftsmen themselves in these workshops to produce different and new designs, she added.
Blanchet said she is also preparing to participate in the “Maison & Objet” exhibition scheduled in Paris in September, where hundreds of design houses across the world will join.