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Tabliya: Going Against The Grain

Made entirely out of up-cycled wooden pieces, Sherif Aly's Tabliya is a brand that is at the forefront of revolutionising what we look for in furniture here in Egypt…

For any of you with a pinch of bohemian in your blood, you’ve probably contemplated creating your living space with sustainable materials, natural elements and probably a Navajo rug or two. Then you think, fuck this and head off to Ikea, arriving back home with industrial amounts of collapsible plastic.

This Tumblr-esque trend of up-cycled furniture has been weeding its way through to Cairo society of late with droves of initiatives set up offering chic interiors from locally made handcrafts, but none as of yet have specialized in the use of wooden pallets… enter Tabliya. Coming to the rescue of anyone who has ever bent over backwards trying to find them for furniture, Tabliya specializes in recycling these iconic cargo palettes that would otherwise end up being thrown away, and creating a diverse and colourful range of affordable home-ware, including bookshelves, coffee tables and beds, as well as customized projects.

Tabliya is founded by 31-year-old Egyptian Sherif Aly, who grew up in London and moved back to the motherland two years ago with aims to learn the Oud after studying marketing design back in the UK. Both, of course, have nothing to do with his current occupation, but after working with set designer Hassan Soliman on the beautiful boho Townhouse Gallery library renovation in early 2014, he began getting referrals, and decided to turn his carpentry hobby into a workshop and business. “I’m really keen to inspire people and spread the word that you can create beautiful furniture out of existing materials at a fraction of the price,” Aly told us.

Sourcing the wood from a few warehouses in Bab el Khalq, Downtown, Aly mainly selects those palettes which have been used to transport machinery as opposed to food, making them a lot cleaner. While there is this preconception that palettes can be harmful if chemically treated, Aly ensures us that rarely are these palettes chemically treated, and as long as they are heat treated (check for the initials HT near the IPPC logo) you won’t find any rot, and the bed bugs won’t bite.

In addition to being a longer lasting and environmentally friendly alternative to mass produced pieces, the prices are far cheaper. A painted palette table, for instance, will cost around 400LE.

“I’ve had calls from some people suggesting that that’s a lot for a wooden palette, but even if people don’t buy my work, but have the inclination to go out and make it themselves, I would love that,” chimes Aly enthusiastically, eager to create a paradigm shift in the public’s purchasing habits.

Check out Tabliya on Facebook here

For orders contact: 01140394551