Meet The Trio Behind New Dubai-Based Design Collective Talata

BY Ayesha Shaikh / Jun 4 2018 / 20:28 PM

Friends Farah, Mehry and Mona hark back to their roots to revive forgotten Egyptian crafts through Talata. Ayesha Shaikh sits down with the trio to see what they’re bringing to the table

Meet The Trio Behind New Dubai-Based Design Collective Talata
Photography by Aasiya Jagadeesh and images courtesy of Talata
Mehry El Masry, Farah Dana Zoghbi and Mona Ramzy amidst Talata homeware. Pictured here are the pyramid side table and barrels from the Chameleon collection, and pot by Talata collaborator TPots

In Dubai Design District (d3), a new collective is quietly creating a stir. This is Talata, the creative brainchild of friends and fellow Egyptians Farah Dana Zoghbi, Mehry El Masry and Mona Ramzy, who lend new meaning to eclectic with their interior design service, furniture and accessories, all flecked with their heritage and cultural influences. At Talata, you’ll see that the whole Egyptian aesthetic vocabulary on display but in a deeply nuanced way – geometric patterns, nature-inspired motifs and pops of vibrant colour assembled in a punchy fashion that’s all about letting the outside in with a Middle-Eastern-style arms-wide welcome. “I don’t think you’ll find water pipes made into lamps anywhere else in Dubai,” says Farah, pointing towards a floor lamp by one of the brand’s collaborators, Egyptian concept store EHEM by Dina Naguib. “Talata has its own pieces but also represents other upcoming designers and things you won’t find in Dubai,” she adds.


Left: Right: Talata love chair and barrel from the Chameleon collection paired with pillows from debut line Raa'; Right: Janan Art mother of pearl mirror, Talata throw, pillows and curtains, Kelos and Salsabeel lighting fixtures, and face pot by TPots

Talata means ‘three’ in Arabic and denotes the number of pillars the brand represents; interior design and architecture, furniture creation and accessories, and collaborations. The idea came about a year ago when Mehry and Mona, both interior designers, talked about channelling their creative energies towards product design. Farah, having worked in marketing and communications for over seven years, then changed paths in favour of a career in design. And so began a confluence of ideas and the three went on to assume different roles, combining their strengths for Talata, which officially launched with a pop-up store in d3 that was open until 7 May.

Farah spearheads marketing, communications and business development, Mehry is head designer who also works on procurement and styling, and Mona is design head and oversees production, inventory and financing. Both Mehry and Mona bring their own distinct flair to the pieces, and where the former fuses the designs with an easy-going, bohemian flair, the latter brings a certain refinement to the collections that she draws from her background in architecture. On offer is a spectacular mix of four collections including debut line Raa’ or Pharaonic, Ebly, Bahary and the Chameleon, all recently showcased at the pop-up store in a way that would let you envisage how you can update your own home. “A reason why people have been warmly receptive to this collection is the way it’s styled,” shares Farah, and Mona adds, “When you’re here, you feel that you want this entire design to be replicated in your home.”


The Ebly collection

Talata brings forth creations that are at once functional and multipurpose, such as barrels from the Ebly collection that can be used both as side-tables and stools. Also part of this line, which is inspired by the colours and earthiness of south Egypt, a wooden dekka, the Egyptian version of a majlis, featuring stout shisha-shaped legs, is meant for outdoor, but Mehry explains it would work just as well for the living room. Draped in rich fabrics that are 100 per cent Egyptian cotton and created using natural dyes, the Ebly cushions feature palm leaf and cotton flower motifs along with zigzag and polka dot patterns. There’s also a pair of tableya (centre tables) and superbly impastoed paintings by Egyptian artist Ahmed Farid, along with Talata’s rendition of Nubian doors and windows evocative of Islamic geometric patterns.

The Raa’ collection utilises mother of pearl in the selection of consoles and dining set, taking a cue from the Art Deco movement that draws heavily on angular shapes and other decorative elements from ancient Egypt, dating back to when Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922. While Bahary takes inspiration from coastal Egypt, with fresh and oceanic colours, furniture pieces from the Chameleon are made to go well with any interior. And then there’s a full accessory line – from tableware to cutlery holders to curtains that round off each collection. Talata’s uniqueness lies in its exclusivity and handmade design. Mehry adds how it’s nice to have imperfections in an industrial world where everything is mass-produced.


The Bahary collection

Talata has also handpicked emerging regional designers to source pieces that are in line with the brand’s aesthetic sensibilities – playfully modern with nods to tradition. Among them are Lebanese carpet brand Iwan Maktabi, Egyptian design houses Sahira Fawzy, Maison 69 Concept Store, Tpots, and Shewekar El Gharably, lighting brands SAL by Salsabeel Amin and Kelos, and artist Ahmed Farid. But Mona is careful not to categorise Talata as just an Egyptian company, emphasising that the designs are much greater in scope and would appeal to the Middle East and beyond.

Talata will continue to showcase the designs in their d3 showroom and take them to other countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, particularly Egypt over the next two months. The brand also hopes to participate at Dubai Design Week this year and Maison&Objet 2019 in Paris. We’re eager to see what’s next. Orders can be placed on Talata’s Instagram account and website or at their D3 showroom.

Prices range from Dhs150-18,000.