Jury

Cairo Design Award is honored to have a distinguished panel of jurors for all six design categories. Each jury member will head the panel in an elaborate deliberation process, in his/her own particular area of expertise, for all six primary design categories (and their corresponding subcategories).

Designers will submit their innovations and creative designs within the announced categories each year. The work and projects submitted will be assessed in accordance with each category’s published guidelines by a distinguished jury panel according to established evaluation and selection criteria. This jury deliberation process will be conducted in three filtration levels for all CDA 2017 categories (and their corresponding subcategories)

Level 1: Evaluation of all qualified submissions and selection of twenty (20) entries per each subcategory.

Level 2: Shortlist of five (5) finalists per each subcategory.

Level 3: Final selection of three (3) CDA winners (gold, silver and bronze) for each subcategory in all six awards’ categories to be announced during CDA ceremony event.

Amr Helmy


Head Juror, Product Design

The name of Amr Helmy is synonymous with quality Egyptian kitchen designs. With a passion for architecture that he did not pursue, Amr Helmy graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts, Cairo in 1981. Following his graduation, he established his own design company Amr Helmy Design where he is still, today, both Chairman and CEO. From the beginning, he identified the potential, seeking to cater to and address a clientele in the high-end niche of the creative design and furniture market. Following his passion, he started up a new design enterp rise, Designy, specifically intended to help newly-weds and the young to obtain designs at an affordable price, without compromising quality or design. Helmy envisions Designy to be the Egyptian equivalent of IKEA, a new concept in the domestic market since Egyptians are not used to assembling their own furniture. The longer-term strategic vision of this business, where he is also the Chairman and CEO, is to develop the company nationally and in time, to open branches in all governorates. Through Designy, Helmy strives to anticipate the clients’ needs ‘seven years ahead’, as he puts it, that is, ‘before clients even realize what their needs could be in seven years’ time, by offering them affordable yet sophisticated avant-garde designs. Another vital concept in his designs blends architectural creativity with the Egyptian cultural DNA, as he explains. However, Helmy has also infused different traditional elements from all over the world, particularly Asian influences in his production. For example, an ability to subtly hide the kitchen from view, from the living room or to reveal this (by pressing an electric button). Some kitchen designs are inspired by nature, by incorporating good quality wood, branches, and plants in the design of tables. For Helmy, every design tells a story, and for him, good design expresses practicality, function, simplicity, and quality. Placing great emphasis on teamwork and on mentoring young designers, in 2007-2009 he was a Co-Founder of the Egyptian Designer Forum (EDF), a ‘magical moment in the history of Egyptian design, as it gathered the cream of Egyptian designers’ he notes. The Forum ran weekly design lectures and organized a variety of creativity-led exhibitions. Then, in 2009, Helmy founded Talent Academy, which he ran as the CEO for a further two years, to help shape and guide the career path of young designers with novel design lessons. Today, in conjunction with Furnex & Home Art Director, Giulio Cappellini, he supervises a design school in Fostat (Old Cairo), to help foster young Egyptian designers. Helmy has also participated in significant international and Egyptian furniture and design exhibitions, since 1984. His creative industry colleagues dub him the ‘Philosopher of the Furniture Industry’ since his work expresses a person who has delved into ‘the quest for meaning’ with a keen appreciation of the often unique alchemical process that develops organically between the designer, the designed object itself, and each individual client. Being a designer has not stopped Helmy from pursuing his many other creative interests in the arts, music, and writing. He has published his writings on Word Press, and ‘Some are Expelled from Paradise Twice’, is a work that fittingly sums up his worldview.
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In 1969, Azza Fahmy initiated her journey towards being one of the most esteemed jewellery designers in the region. With a profound purpose, Azza Fahmy has taken the role of translating the region’s culture to the world, through her unique research approach and craftsmanship preservation. Dedication and hard work have won her international recognition that boasts a diverse client list attracting jewellery connoisseurs from around the world. The history of the brand began when Azza Fahmy, a BA in Interior Design, came across an art book about the classical jewellery of Medieval Europe at an Egyptian book fair. She became an apprentice in Khan El Khalili, Egypt’s ancient jewellery quarter, learning with one of the craft’s most respected masters. In the mid-1970s the British Council awarded her a fellowship to study jewellery craft at the City of London Polytechnic. Fahmy returned to Cairo with wider horizons and greater confidence, opening her first shop in 1981. In 2002, Azza opened her factory complete with a design studio, now housing over 180 employees. Azza Fahmy set out on a journey of research and exploration across Egypt covering its traditional jewellery, launching her first book ‘Enchanted Jewellery of Egypt’ in 2003. Celebrated as Egypt’s luxury multi-national brand, Azza Fahmy, set her sights on Europe, venturing on various Fashion, Culture, and Educational Partnerships. For London Fashion Week, Azza joined forces with Julien Macdonald, in 2006, for a two-year collaborative partnership catwalk and capsule retail collections followed by another collaborative partnership with fashion design duo- Preen, Justin Thorton and Thea Bregazzi for New York Fashion Week in February 2010. Early 2012, Designer Azza Fahmy embarked on a culture collaboration, creating a Bespoke collection for the British Museum’s Exhibition ‘Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam’ entailing historic reflections inspired by Hajj pilgrimage and sacraments. Further, Azza Fahmy partnered up with Alchimia, Contemporary Design School in Florence, to establish ‘The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy’, early 2013. The Studio aims at educating young student designers who ultimately want to become professional jewellers themselves equipping them with the knowledge that allows them to compete internationally. The studio is the first establishment of its kind in Egypt and the Middle East, positioning Egypt on the map as the region’s jewellery design hub. In 2013, Azza Fahmy partnered up with British Designer Matthew Williamson for a two-season collaboration to create the ‘Azza Fahmy for Matthew Williamson’ Catwalk Collection for London Fashion Week, to retail at Azza Fahmy boutiques worldwide and at Matthew Williamson stores in London. Creative Director Azza Fahmy continues to direct her focus towards education and industry development, aiming at guiding and encouraging youth while giving back to Egypt and the region. She is currently on the board of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council, acting as an incubator and mentor offering her knowledge and experience to help emerging designers to become the next generation established designers. In 2016 Azza Fahmy collaborated with KarmBuild on the first showcase project and joint venture - the KarmSolar Sahl Hasheesh Campus Headquarters Listed as one of Egypt’s influential women, designer Azza Fahmy travels internationally as a cultural ambassador for her country and has held more than 200 exhibitions worldwide. Azza Fahmy Jewellery currently has boutiques in Egypt and Jordan, with retails in Qatar, KSA, UAE, Washington D.C. the UK and is available via Azza Fahmy Jewellery worldwide Online Boutique www.azzafahmy.com
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Azza Fahmy


Head Juror, Jewellery Design

Karim Mekhtigian


Head Juror, Interior Design

Karim Mekhtigian is a designer who picked-up his skills and knowledge from around the world. Though Armenian in origin, he was brought up in Cairo in an environment that allowed him to enjoy the city’s multicultural background. He traveled to Paris to study Interior Design and Scenography at the E.S.A.T. (École Supérieure d’Art et Techniques). In 1993, he started ‘Dessilk’; a small Paris-based design studio specialized in the creation of handmade tableware and home accessories. Then in 1997, he moved back to Cairo and founded ‘Alche my Design Studio’ offering a wide range of design services including architecture, interior, and product design. Believing in the importance of creating an Egyptian Design Community, he created the Egyptian Designers Forum (EDF) along with other Egyptian design moguls in 2005. Winning a leading spot in the Egyptian contemporary design universe, in 2006 he worked regularly as an Art Director for different initiatives and installations to promote the local design industry with the Egyptian Furniture Export Council (EFEC).In addition to being a Chief Designer, Karim Mekhtigian launched in 2010 a new furniture brand ‘Alchemy Cairo’. Armed with an insatiable need for innovation and flawless taste, he has been trying to subtly transpose the Cairene sensorial landscape into his designs for the new brand.“A designer is a surgeon with the sensibility of a poet” Having been a designer for almost two decades with extensive projects in architecture interior and product design, I believe that one should never arrive at the point where comfort & predictability in design take over the radical & creative edge that seeks to reinvent design concepts over and over. New ideas, dreams, and visions are the fuel that makes design the catalyst for big transformations in society, lifestyle, industry, and politics. Good design combines cultural codes, traditions, modern visions and new technologies and creates an individual design story for each client. When designing a private residence the creative process is tailor-made to the clients and should be reflected in the final outcome. Homes are individual temples of serenity, peace, and comfort. An interior concept should realize this spirit by incorporating elements of nature, simplicity and slick design. The same applies to products where function and good design yield in a better lifestyle. Each product must have its own DNA to reflect its birth from the culture, tradition and use it came from.“Of course, I cannot succeed in designing for everyone. It’s not a simple matter to be common and universal. One must design for oneself, it is the only way to reach the OTHERS.”
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Onsi Abou Seif was born in Aswan Governorate in Upper Egypt. His love for the cinema and set designs enticed him to study at the Higher Institute of Cinema in Cairo from which he graduated in 1967. That same year saw the beginning of his association with Director Shadi Abdel Salam, whom he later considered to be his mentor. He became the set designer and assistant to Dr Salah Marei on Shadi’s only full-length feature film “The Mummy”, also known as “The Night of the Counting of Years”, following that Shadi Abdel Salam asked Onsi to j oin him in the costume designs of his film “Akhenaton” which was a new pivotal addition to Onsi’s career and a vital step in establishing his name. In 1969 he worked as the production/scenic designer on another feature film called “Diary of a Countryside Prosecutor”, a film by Director Tawfik Saleh. The association with these two giants in Egyptian Cinema had a profound impact on him. It helped him set high standards for himself and others and to work only on movies and TV series that had artistic value or a pertinent message to impart. Another long-time friend and colleague he worked with is Daoud Abdel Sayed, for whom he designed almost all the sets and scenes for his movies. Other producers and directors he collaborated with are Mohamed Khan, Khairy Boushra, Yousry Nasrallah and last but not least, Youssef Chahine. In a television interview conducted in 2012 on the occasion of being offered an award at the 35th Cairo International Film Festival honoring his contribution to Egyptian Cinema over forty-three years, he explained that history in general and history of Egypt, in particular, were very important to him. The role of cinema, he stressed, was a means of communication not only among Egyptians but also between Egyptians and the world or humanity. Not only was the cinema of entertainment value, but a form of a language and a means to raise art standards and the human spirit. Cinematic films succeed if they move or stir something inside viewers, he explained. Cinema was a way to expose existing societal problems and required the freedom to express them, whereas curbing freedom of expression would produce “take-away” movies, movies that were “not art” but a superficial form of entertaining distraction of no intrinsic or lasting value. For that reason, Onsi Abu Seif has preferred not to contribute to movies that did not meet his criteria, movies whose sole purpose was a high profit at the box-office and he, therefore, experienced some downtime in his career.   Throughout his illustrious career, Abu Seif received about twenty-one local and national awards, as well as certificates of appreciation for his cinematic output at film festivals. In 2004, he was honored by the Ministry of Culture during the National Film Festival. In 2016, he also received an award as Art Director for the film “Extraordinary Abilities” (Qudurat Ghier Adeya) at the Arabian Cinema Awards (ACA) held in Cairo. In February 2017, Abu Seif was also honored at the 65th Egyptian Catholic Center Cinema Festival for his contribution in his field. By 2017, in his capacity as set designer, supervisor, and costume designer, Abu Seif has participated in forty-six important and trail-blazing films, TV series and one theatre play. He also designed the museum space at the Aswan International Sculpture Symposium and for artist Adam Henein. His legacy and output extend beyond Egypt to include international films as well. • Egypt: Costume and accessories design for the films “Al Quadeseya” (Dir. Sarah Abou Seif), “Akhenaton” (Dir. Shadi Abdel Salam) and theatre play “The Chess Revolution” (Dir. Nasser Abdel Moniem); set designs for TV series “Critical Moments” - Lahzat Harega (Dir. Sherif Arafa), and “The Brotherhood Part I” - Al Gamaa (Dir. Mohamed Yasseen). • International: Design and supervision of “Malcolm X” movie scenes set in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Dir. Spike Lee), design and realization of scenes in “Legend of the Lost Tomb” (Dir. Jonathan Winfrey).
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Onsi Abou Seif


Head Juror, Set Design

Tarek Naga


Head Juror, Architecture and Landscape

Tarek Naga is the founder and principal of the Los Angeles/Cairo–based Naga Studio Architecture (an investigative/experimental architectural practice established in 1991 in Venice, California). His work has been internationally recognized and widely published in various international professional publications in the US, Europe, Japan, China, Russia and the Middle East. He has been invited to lecture in several universities and academic institutions throughout the world. In 2007, he was nominated for the Marcus Prize in Architecture (US) and f or the State Award in the Arts for Creative Excellence, Egypt, 2009. He was honored to deliver the keynote speech at the Nordic World Heritage Conference in Copenhagen, 2009 and the UIA convention in Tokyo, 2012. Naga’s experimental work is driven by the notion of “Architecture of Becoming” and aspires to create a body of work that challenges the status quo in architecture and engages in a genuine Avant-garde architectural discourse. Naga has been commissioned by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) to undertake the complex task of the Master Planning and architectural design for the Giza Pyramids Plateau in Egypt. Most recently, UNESCO and the SCA have commissioned Naga Studio to document and Master Plan the Memphis Necropolis World Heritage Site from Giza to Dahshur. A registered architect In the United States (NCARB/AIA), member of the International Union of Architects (UIA), and corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He is also a professor of architecture and has taught in several institutions and universities in the US (Southern California Institute of Architecture (Sci ARC), Art Center College of Design, Cal Poly Pomona University) and in Egypt at Ain Shams University, AUC (the American University in Cairo) and GUC (the German University in Cairo). Recent and current projects include: The Memphis Necropolis WHS Master Plan, the Giza Pyramids Plateau Master Plan and Design, the Master Planning and Design of Oqyana, Dubai, an installation for Tokyo Tobari Co. at the Tokyo Designers Week, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) competition, the Science Museum competition, Cairo, Egypt, Yokohama Pier Terminal, Nara Music Center and Opera House, AUC Requiem Installation, and the Venice Biennale 2000, Egypt Pavilion.
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