Ornamental Stories

Design Stories, Uncategorized



Growing up in Egypt, our mother was determined to expose us to the many different flavours of Egyptian life and the influences of the different eras. She used to take us every week to visit a different historical site. Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic spaces and motifs were engrained in my mind. I was intrigued when people spoke of Egypt’s “bygone era,” it seemed as if they were always nostalgic fora past that I had never experienced. Having grown up with such a rich and diverse ornamental vocabulary I wanted to use that in my professional life as a designer, be it in interiors, furniture or textiles and wallpapers. I wanted to celebrate our rich ornamental past and vocabulary, which appeared to have been somewhat lost under many layers of dust and nostalgia.  Thanks to the help of my design assistant, Yousra Yassin, Jam Space is proud to present its first fabric and wallpaper launch.

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This collection, translates traditional Pharaonic symbols, such as the Falcon God Horus, the Lotus flower and the Nile Zigzag symbol into bold and contemporary designs.  The collection ranges from a colourful chevron design, to a soft and painterly portrayal of the Lotus and an intriguing geometric repeat/pattern of Horus’ wings.  The colour palette ranges from monochromatic neutrals, to fresh and tropical aquas and marine blues and exotic and warm earthy tones of tangerine, papaya and terracotta. Textured natural linens and cottons constitute the bulk of the collection.

This collection is available through Jam Space UK since May 2015.

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Take your pick


In the interest of economies of scale and mass production, furniture and lighting, the pieces that define a home, are becoming more featureless and repetitive.  Customisation and personalisation of pieces are becoming distant memories with fewer people affording the luxury of imbuing their piece with their personality.


Here at Jam Space we are hoping to change that. Our sofas are available to be ordered in varying fabrics, textures and colours. The most popular piece is the Lotus Sofa, by Eklego Design. The modularity of the sofa combined with the mix and match quality granted by its stacked mattresses, throw pillows, and graciously curved out ‘body’, has been a delight for buyers with a keen desire to be involved in the creation of their piece. Soft hand-woven Egyptian cotton fabrics, rich in texture and subtle in colour, have been a favourite combined with tightly woven jute/cotton material for the body. Smooth natural linen is used for the hand tufted top mattresses while applique, patched and embroidered throw pillows line the back.

One client called it a ‘Pyjama sofa’…so comfortable you could lay back on it all day long.  All you need to do is ‘Pick’ your look

lotus sofa

Our Kelos hand blown, hand painted glass lights can come in any shape, size or colour. A collection of twenty colours is found adorning ornate perfume bottles which act as a sample palette for those who want to get that ethereal light to match their colour scheme. One can combine different shapes together, colours and sizes. You can either suspend them as a cluster or hang them individually.  The sky is the limit for all the colour combinations and shapes you can get.  You just need to ‘Pick’ your colour.

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Egyptian Cotton Linens: Malaika

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Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 16.44.38The very best of luxury Egyptian cotton linens are now available at Jam Space from Egyptian company, Malaika.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 16.33.01Malaika (which means ‘Angels’ in Arabic) was founded in 2004 by Margarita Andrade and Goya Gallagher who, after growing up in their native Ecuador, found themselves living and settling in Egypt. With a background in design and a keen interest in hand techniques such as embroidery, crochet and hand-drawn thread work they decided to utilize Egyptian cotton to produce top quality bed linens previously not available in the local market.


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Malaika’s line reflects the passion for handmade items of both of its founders with an emphasis on quality and “social responsibility”. The collections aim to encompass a range of individual bed linen needs, from classic, delicate hand embroidery to simple contemporary designs. At the top range is the luxury collection, which revives ancient hand-drawn thread crafting techniques to create a distinct Malaika style.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 16.43.59At the heart of its business model Malaika focuses on teaching hand embroidery to local women giving them a chance to learn a valuable skill and improve their economic standing. Since the inauguration of its first line in 2004 Malaika has expanded its business dramatically and is proudly producing luxury bed linen with the confidence that they are able to deliver a quality product, whilst empowering the lives of many women.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 16.33.32Egyptian cotton is world renowned due to its very long staple that when woven produces a fine, smooth fabric. The finer the threads, the higher the thread count possible. Thread count is the number of threads woven in one square inch of fabric, and is an important factor in indicating high quality bed linen fabric. Additionally, it becomes softer after every wash, and as Egyptian cotton produces less lint, it does not pill after repeated washing either.

A variety of Malaika linen designs are now available at Jam Space,118 Fulham Road, London.

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Textile Inspirations: Horus

Design Stories


Today, the day of the first solar eclipse since 1999,  is a fitting day to talk about one source of inspiration for the upcoming Jam Space fabric collection; Horus; the Egyptian sun god.

Jam Space has drawn inspiration from the Pharaonic motifs of the god Horus, the Zig Zag symbol for the Nile and the Lotus Flower found in ancient Egypt.  Re-interpreting these iconic motifs within a contemporary textile context, creates a new and fresh approach that is relevant to design and people today.

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Mythologically, Horus was imagined as a celestial falcon, whose right eye was the sun and left eye the moon.  The speckled feathers of his breast were probably considered to be the stars, while his wings were the sky that created the wind. (source: touregypt.net)


Horus within the Jam Space fabric collection is represented as the falcon; Horus is used in it’s full form as well as deconstructed with a pattern repeat of its wings.


The Jam Space fabric and wallpaper collection will launch in May 2015.  For further information about the collection or to request an invitation to the launch event please contact gallery@jamspace.uk.

Jam Space Presents: Alef Gallery Fabrics

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Jam Space is excited to present a beautiful new range of printed fabrics from Cairo based gallery Alef. The collection is based on traditional Coptic, Islamic and Orientalist designs, printed on a variety of Egyptian cotton weaves, from airy voile to light-weight canvas.


Alef Gallery share many design philosophies with us here at Jam Space and we are delighted to be showcasing their talents.

“The roots of Alef dig deep into all origins: as our name suggests*, we start our journey from the beginning, unfurling the traditional arts of the Mediterranean basin and keeping them alive in the modern age. Alef is more than just a gallery; it is a place where people can wander from reverie to reverie and be transported back to those ancient civilisations that have fascinated us for centuries. We are dreamers and want others to be inspired. We seek to share our journeys into the mystique and diversity of Arabic culture. We draw from this source our inspiration, mixing modern with traditional; luxuriant decadence with contemporary simplicity. The gallery’s main aim is to revive high quality handicrafts and home furnishings; to maintain the highest standards of craftsmanship in all our creations. Our vision into reality.”

*Alef is the first letter of the Arabic alphabet.


The hand screen printed imagery employs traditional Arabic and Ottoman motifs such as pomegranates, lotus flowers, palm trees and the bukhara motif which inspired our own bukhara table.

IMG_0857Bukhara Table

The range is available at Jam Space now to order by the metre (delivery time two weeks.)


Egyptian Glassware

Design Stories


A selection of our beautiful glassware

A selection of our beautiful glassware

‘In general, archaeological evidence suggests that the first true glass was made in coastal north Syria, Mesopotamia or Ancient Egypt. Because of Egypt’s favorable environment for preservation, the majority of well-studied early glass is found there, although some of this is likely to have been imported.’ (source: Wikipedia)

From ancient Egyptian times to present days, glass making has been a passion for many.  According to al-Biruni; Persian scholar and polymath, regarded as one of the greatest scholars of the eleventh century; traditional glass making was a discipline involving both chemist and artisan.  By observing the glass artisan at work, and through experimentation on compositions, only then was the chemist able to properly discuss and ascertain the different glass colours which arose from metal oxides.

To this day, passionate designers and collectors are drawn to various forms of glass, both within historical and contemporary contexts.  Jam Space carries a variety of vibrant and colourful glassware in all shapes and forms that would add style and elegance to any table, as well as providing an array of colours worthy of al-Biruni’s observations.

Jam Space also carries a selection of glass lights and lamps, which also showcase the many beautiful effects that glass can create.

“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.”-Aaron Rose



Jam Space is currently offering a 30% discount on all lighting.  

Visit us at 118 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HU.

Siwa: Legends and Lifestyles of the Egyptian Sahara


In 331 BC Alexander the Great, a brave and ambitious traveller, embarked on a treacherous journey through the Egyptian Western desert on a mission to reach the Saharan oasis town known as Siwa. For six weeks he led his army through merciless terrain, barely surviving the arid climate and vicious tempests. Once there, he consulted the famous oracle at the Temple of Amun where he was reassured of his destiny as a worldly conqueror and Son of God. The story goes that Alexander the Great then consulted the oracle privately. What did he ask that he didn’t want others to hear, and what answer was he given? This remains one of the greatest secrets of antiquity. Alexander the Great went on to lead some of the most celebrated military campaigns and conquests in the history of civilisation. His dying wish, however, had been to be buried in Siwa, and there has been fierce speculation ever since as to whether that wish had ever been honoured.

I recall the story of Alexander the Great in Siwa often because it captures all the experiences that this small town imparts on visitors. The road to Siwa is neither pleasant nor easy, yet the hardships make the arrival more poignant. Approaching Siwa in that final hour is part hallucination part flight from the world. The starlit skies, infinite desert, ancient temples, mysterious people and shimmering lakes stun and captivate. Siwa is ethereal and otherworldly in a way that makes travellers feel like they are living a vivid dream with eyes wide open. Time takes on a different meaning here. After all, Siwans insulated themselves from the outside world for thousands of years, and during recent centuries lived in the half-lit labyrinth of the impenetrable Fortress of Shali. This is a town of secrets and superstitions, rituals and legacy.

This is also a town of design stories. Many artists and designers find refuge and inspiration in Siwa. Photographers revel in the infinite vistas of the Sahara dunes. Artists spend hours with their canvas in the silent surround of the oasis. Designers use the salt and stone that is so abundant in Siwa to produce rustic, earthy products. In her book, renowned Egyptian Jewellery designer Azza Fahmy describes Siwan jewellery as bold and robust with distinctive engraving on silver, reminiscent of pieces found in Libya or Tunis. In our book on Siwa she sheds light on how the Siwan woman is a designer by nature. She makes beautiful veils, shawls, shoes, jewellery, and straw products. Her muse is Siwa itself; she draws inspiration from her surroundings when picking colours, illustrations and motifs. International designer India Mahdavi returns to Siwa every year, where she has a home, to work with local craftsmen. Her collaboration with Salt Master Sayed in his workshop led to developing the translucent salt votive that appears in our book. In 2009, hundreds were shipped to Art Basel Miami to light up the 1111 parking space designed by Herzog de Meuron. Designer Laila Nakhla focused on reviving the Siwan tradition of embroidery, an art form that was literally dying out with the demise of the older generation of matriarchs. Her efforts led to the continuity of embroidery traditions, and she thoughtfully updated them to produce modern looks that garnered global attention. Italian fashion house Ermanno Scervino produced four years of summer collections from the workshops of Siwa’s talented embroiders. There are more design stories by Rope Master Ahmed Ali, Stone Master Abdel Salam Ghanim and Modern Art Master Adel El-Siwi in our book.

Siwa is a mythical tale that should be told over and over again. It is a pleasure to bring the spirit of this oasis to London for the first time through Jam Space. Jam Space as a concept store that celebrates design stories, and curates limited edition pieces in one beautiful viewscape, is the perfect host for this exhibit. The book, along with the photography on display, pay homage to a place that is one of Egypt’s hidden gems, and one of my favourite places in the world.

Rawah Badrawi

London, 2015

Craft Traditions: Hand beaded and embroidered Throw pillows

Design Stories

JS4Adorning many of our sofas at Jam Space, these decorative throw pillows are handmade by artisanal craftspeople in remote rural areas of Egypt such as Aswan, Nubia and Siwa. Using appliqué, patchwork and delicate beadwork, these artisans create pillows inspired by the rural scenes of their surroundings; with designs ranging from the colourful patchwork reminiscent of women’s galabeyas, to soft shades of the desert flora.

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“The main reason we started is because we highly appreciate these skills and want to maintain our heritage. Another reason is that there are unused treasures and traditional skills that are dying out. In Egypt we have plenty of craft skills but no products and that’s something high in demand,” -founders Mohamed Amin and Naila El Shishiny speaking to Cairoscene.com.
“it’s also the only source of income for many of these men and women,” who produce them. “Usually it’s the only job women in these areas are allowed to practice. By generating income and practicing the skill, we preserve the skill.”

The artisans are given the raw materials by Markaz, who then buy the finished product back from them, thus providing a sustainable enterprise for artisans who wouldn’t otherwise have access to large markets.  This process also  ensures the beautiful and high quality of the products and as some pieces are combined and assembled from different parts of Egypt,the result is unique.

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Sail the Nile in Style

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Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 15.52.07The continuing cold weather has got us thinking of sunnier climes and for the ultimate in luxury travel we look to the stunning Nubia Dahabeya boat.  This one of a kind Nile boat is inspired by the traditional Dahabeya Nile cruisers. Jam Space creator and interior designer, Hedayet Islam and her Cairo based company Eklego Design, are responsible for the stunning interiors.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 15.51.15The owners chose not to refurbish an old or second-hand vessel, but rather build a new one based on the old lines, but modified to suit their modern lifestyle. Divided over three levels, the lower level contains the bedrooms, staff area and kitchen. The main deck is divided into a large terraced area and a secondary tea corner, while the inside living space is divided into a lounge and dining area. The topmost deck situated in the stern has Bedouin-style floor seating with straw carpets and floor cushions, making this spot perfect for star gazing.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 15.51.54The boat is named Nubia and the design is inspired by the river villages of Upper Egypt, with desert colours and rich textures. Islamic and Ancient Egyptian motifs are used to stay true to the owner’s love of Egypt’s abundant heritage.  Custom-made sofas inspired by the Lotus flower, with exaggerated/ accentuated depth and traditional Egyptian upholstery, double as day beds.  This Lotus sofa can be found at Jam Space.

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Hedayet's Desert Moodboard can be viewed at Jam Space for inspiration for soft colour palettes and natural materials.

Hedayet’s Desert Moodboard can be viewed at Jam Space for inspiration for soft colour palettes and natural materials.

Old doors sourced from Cairo’s back alley antique stores are used as art, chests as tables, and cut-out motifs for lighting features. White-washed wood work keeps the mood true to the desert inspired colour scheme, while neutral upholstery adorned with traditionally embroidered throw pillows gives richness to the serene interior setting. The overall result is a charming floating home inviting you to layback and reflect on the wonderful surroundings of the river banks.

This project won the prestigious Finest Interior Award in the Special Award Category for Interior Decorating with Textiles.

Eklego Design

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Creator of Jam Space, Hedayat Islam relocated to London from Cairo, Egypt in December 2013.  She brings with her to London her 17 years of experience as co-founding partner and principle interior designer of Eklego Design.

“Eklego” is the Greek origin of the word eclectic, meaning to draw upon various styles, sources or cultures; something that is also part of our design aesthetic here at Jam Space.  Eklego Design use this principle to inform their style and guide their creative approach.



Ekelgo Design is an award-winning full-service design firm working across architecture, interiors and retail products.  The team at Eklego creates and produces its own exclusive line of contemporary furniture and accessories, working with some of the best furniture manufacturers in Egypt to guarantee superior materials and quality. A range of the design company’s classics are available exclusively in the UK at Jam Space, including the popular Bukhara table, Lotus Sofa and Mafrouka coffee table.


Bukhara Table


Lotus Sofa

Mafrouka Coffee Table


Find out more about Eklego Design at www.eklegodesign.com or come and visit us at Jam Space, 118 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HU to find out further information, view our product range or browse the latest Eklego catalogue.