There’s a new cool duo on the block when it comes to exquisite design and you might have recently heard of their project, The Washroom Collection, a one-stop destination for your dreamy bathroom, with elegant wash-tables, mirrors and handcrafted clay sinks.
You might have even read all about it in our recent feature, but in case you haven’t, click here and thank us later. You’re in for a real luxurious treat!
Designers and friends duo Yasmine Hassanein and Ramzi Makram-Ebeid got the sparkling idea to do something together and the combination between their artistic perspectives couldn’t be better: Yasmine has a business background in the art & design world and is now a designer & entrepreneur at Leyya, a place for handcrafted potter home accents, where she feels most in her element by working in clay, while Ramzi is an interior designer and founder of Human Nature Design, a place where his eye for functionalist minimalism thrives, finding the balance between each and every inch of a space.
We’re excited to have presented you the collection, but now let’s meet the intricate minds behind it!
In the following interview, Y stand for Yasmine’s answer, R for Ramzi’s, and YR for answers they both agreed on.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Y – Traveling!
R – Sense of Humor, in the worst of times and the best of times. If you can laugh at something, or see the humor or ridiculousness of it, the situation you are in becomes much less daunting or difficult.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
Y – My business/design sense came hands down from my mum. She was a feisty entrepreneur – she used to have a clothing boutique in Zamalek where she designed ladies’ skirt suits in the 80s, she was one of the only imports of swimsuits 90s. Our home was an open house and I loved that. I Was always surrounded by creativity, good taste, and fun people.
R – Design was a major factor of my upbringing, and one of my earliest memories actually involves clay. During one pottery workshop, my work of “art” was actually a design of an office, with the desk, shelving, even a decorative obelisk, etc… 20 years later, I ended up being a freshly graduated interior designer that focuses mostly on office design. It’s so important to allow your kids to explore, because there are so many possibilities out there, and without exploration, they will miss so much!
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
YR – For our company, working with the potters really opened up our eyes and inspires us. Their technical expertise and passion helped us understand the craft so much, and of course, gave us the needed background to design in a realistic way. The same goes for our wood and metal manufacturers. We love working with our suppliers directly, visiting their workshops and factories and constantly brainstorming and trying new things out.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
Y – Cylinder carved, Yasmine’s first sink ever, I still have it in my home.
R – ½ zeir table with its sink. I’ve always loved the zeir, and was surprised by how little it was used in our modern life. So, we designed a combo product that honors the zeir in a very cool and new way.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
YR – Our elliptical table and cylinder sinks are our biggest stars right now. The cylinder sink is incredibly versatile and yet very stylish, and just like our entire sink collection, comes in a variety of finishes and colors. This flexibility is perfect for Egypt as we love customization. And the same goes for the elliptical table, it’s super stylish but also very clean and minimal, also coming in a variety of finishes and colors.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
YR – We’re very proud of our rich history, and love working with crafts people who still use decades or centuries-old techniques. And these craft people are one of the best things about Egypt, as they are an integral part of our history and future. And with so many crafts, there are limitless possibilities! That, combined with Egyptian resourcefulness, we as Egyptians have brains and the hands to always create something new and beautiful.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
YR – Arabic proverb – “I’ll break an Ola (an Egyptian pot) after you leave” It’s used mostly as a joke, in a very loving way, but always results in a lot of laughter. It’s the Arabic “good riddance” but with lots of heart.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
YR – There is so much happening here, that you have to come, visit and network. Researching before your visit is always important, but there are hidden gems everywhere, and you’d be surprised at what you will find here.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
Y – These days it’s the beach, being surrounded by beautiful nature and loved ones in good weather is perfection to me.
R – This totally depends on my mood, and so there isn’t one place that I always go to. These days I’m really into our Coptic history, so I visited the Coptic Museum recently, old Cairo (the hanging church) and the Weesa Wassef museum in Haraneya.
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
Y –So much beauty in our nature – from beautiful oasis’s to an unmatched coastline
R- Yasmine’s right, when I used to live abroad, I’d miss our beaches so much. And we have year-round beaches here, which is such an awesome blessing. No matter what time of year, you can find a warm place to chill!
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS
YR – Like most places, people have a stereotypical limited idea of us, and they do tend to put us in boxes. But, we can’t imagine anyone coming here and leaving with that same notion. Egyptians are super loving, smart, reliable, creative, dynamic and again, resourceful.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
Y R – Design! With all due respect, who else has a design history as rich as ours? We have so much inspiration here, and as we are currently going through a design renaissance, so we are so excited as to what is coming next from the Egyptian design community.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
Y –So private and always changing so hard to put in words.
R – For me personally, I believe that is a very private personal thing, and I live by the motto “to each his/her own.”
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
Y R – For our company, we believe beauty is everywhere and does not have to cost an arm and a leg. We love how our products are not only high quality, but also affordable! Everyone should have beauty in their lives, regardless of their finances.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
YR – There are so many, but our latest shared book love is The Architecture of Ramses Wissa Wassef, by Conchita Anorve-Tschirgi & Ehsan Abushadi.
AN EGYPT BASED FEMALE TALENT THAT DESERVES TO BE PROMOTED AT AN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, AS AN EXPONENT OF LOCAL CREATIVE SPIRIT
Photos courtesy of Ramzi & Yasmine’s personal archive. Make sure to check out The Washroom Collection Instagram page, right here.