Don Tanani’s first commercial collection attests to the growth of contemporary Egyptian design 

This Egyptian design brand launched their first official collection called Moruna

Moruna is the Arabic word for ‘flexibility’ – and the name of the first official collection launched by Egyptian design brand Don Tanani, led by Lina Alorabi. Inspired by the Ouroboros bench (part of the brand’s debut Duality collection, created in 2021), the pieces represent the deconstruction and reconstruction of the bench; its undulating curves and solid hand-carved wood transformed into a range of versatile seating options.

To understand the Moruna collection, one must become familiar with the brand’s Duality collection – an ongoing project that aims to redefine and disrupt the perceptions of Egyptian design, both locally and globally. “Imagery of ancient Egypt is universally recognised but defining modern Egypt is a struggle for Egyptians and those outside of it,” Don Tanani and Alorabi state in their brand manifesto.

“Our designs aim to redefine and explore our history and to help us to understand where we come from and to define our future,” says Alorabi. “Every piece we design is an exploration of the limits of craft, furthering the role of Egypt’s excellence in artisanship and its unique identity and position in [the art world].” Don Tanani groups its collections into two segments: ‘closed editions’ like the Duality collection explore the brand’s research and development, creating limited-edition pieces such as the Ouroboros chair and the Mehen and Apep tables; while the ‘open editions’ reference the ideas and concepts of the former by creating more functional and commercially viable designs. “Instead of creating a single object as [a] demonstration of skill and concept, we expanded into functional needs,” Alorabi explains. “The seats are designed around ergonomic principles, while also allowing for both relaxed and formal seating postures. The collection can be used both indoors and outdoors, blurring and expanding [the] boundaries of functional spaces in a home.” 

The Moruna collection comes in solid oxidised oak or solid teak, with cushions that are fully removable, and upholstered in a selection of outdoor fabrics. Each piece also features brass-capped feet. The collection also includes a coffee table with solid wool ‘tiles’ inlaid with end-grain inserts to create a contrasting pattern from the top, curving seamlessly down to its front. 

“We wanted to express the luxurious slow life that we enjoy as Egyptians; conversing, sharing, making memories and enjoying company,” Alorabi explains. “The Moruna collection focuses heavily on expanding the definition of seating as a social machine. The Double Sided sofa can be used from both sides, while the Conversation chair aims to stir up deep dialogues, and the sun lounger invites relaxation. The collection expresses physicality and functionality as an intangible social expression.” Most importantly, Don Tanani’s goal is to contribute to the elevation of Egyptian design by facilitating opportunities for innovative and research-based design in Egypt. As the country continues its rigorous urban expansion, Egyptian designers, artists and curators are using this time to ensure that the momentum is guided in the right direction, where cultural pride and the appreciation of the country’s heritage are carefully referenced and interpreted in a contemporary context. “The Egyptian design scene has become aware of its importance in preserving our culture and artisanal heritage,” says Alorabi. “Design can serve as a protector and developer [and] so it is a very exciting time to be a designer in Egypt. 

“People are more demanding and thoughtful when considering their environment and the objects they interact with on a daily basis,” she continues. “They want to contribute to something and not follow blind consumerism. Purpose is transforming the Egyptian design scene.”

Photography by Louay Nasser

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