x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Egizia tea glass and plate

Object of desire Talented designers in the Arab world are exploring ways of harnessing their traditional iconography to create contemporary motifs and objects.

Shedir pattern tea glass Dh195 and plates Dh124 (both per pair) from the Alibaba collection by Paola Navone for Egizia, available exclusively from Boutique 1, The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai; 04 425 7888
Shedir pattern tea glass Dh195 and plates Dh124 (both per pair) from the Alibaba collection by Paola Navone for Egizia, available exclusively from Boutique 1, The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai; 04 425 7888

Just as a growing number of talented designers from the Arab world are exploring ways of harnessing their traditional iconography to create contemporary motifs and objects, a handful of western designers is also recognising its inherent beauty and great potential. Among them, the gifted and prolific Paola Navone talks of her "curiosity and fascination with the Arabic" - which she encapsulates in her Alibaba collection, designed for the Italian handcrafted-glass company, Egizia.

Her interpretation of the traditional tea glass - and the small plate that sits under it or can be used alongside it for sweets - is my favourite piece from the collection, with its subtly Arabesque-modern motif. Navone has named the pattern Shedir, (from the Arabic sadr), the traditional name of a star in the Cassiopeiae constellation. As with all of Egizia's glassware, the pattern is made of sterling silver, applied by an intricate process of manual silk-screening - an age-old technique brought right up to date by a team of highly skilled artisans at the 60-year-old Tuscany-based company.

The motif's three-dimensional quality is the result of several applications of the screen - which demands absolute precision - each one followed by a firing at 540°C, which vitrifies the silver. The glass-holder is silver-plated metal sheet that has been stencilled and pierced - its matt-satin finish hinting at a patina of age, its design hinting at mashrabiya. All I need now is someone to make me suitably perfect mint tea - oh, and some rosewater-infused sweets to accompany it.

slane@thenational.ae