Zahraa El Shafei: First Egyptian Woman to Win International Red Dot Award for Design

by Nada Khaled




Egyptian designer Zahraa Al-Sayed El Shafei snatched the Red Dot award for the Design Concept branch, which is considered one of the most important international design competitions around the world, for a seat inspired by one of King Tutankhamun’s chairs, dating back to 1250 BC.





Last Monday, the young designer was named among 2023’s Reddot Product Design Award, becoming the first in Egypt to win this prestigious international award, joined by talented designers from all over the world.

Since 1955, specialized arbitration committees, consisting of 50 independent designers, academic design professors, and aesthetics experts, have awarded annual awards in 3 branches, which are product evaluation, branding, and design concept, based on multiple technical criteria, including functionality, ergonomics, quality, environmental compatibility, and innovation.



The competition also measures the designer’s success in producing new and exciting design concepts over a specific period of time. According to the award’s website, the winning work is a reflection of the ability of Real sustainable design innovation.

Graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts at Damietta University in 2017, El- Sahfei is currently working as an independent designer.

During an interview with Al Sharq Al-Awsat, she expressed her pride in winning this international award, especially as she is the first Egyptian to receive it, for her product that is excessive in minimalism.



The chair is 767 millimeters high and 508 millimeters wide, inspired by one of the chairs of the Pharaonic king, Tutankhamun.

The designer shared: I cannot describe my joy to win this award, as it is known that it is difficult to pass the competition since it requires an unconventional style of thinking and a tendency towards innovation and innovation.

She continued: It is considered out of the question for any young designer to apply to it, but last September I decided to go for it. When I presented the idea to my design instructor Amr Arnasa, design director at the Pinocchio Furniture Factory in Damietta (Northern Egypt), I expected a frustrated reaction or Sarcasm, but he surprised me by encouraging and supporting me, which boosted my self-confidence and excitement for my decision.

Regarding her muse, the artist chose this particular model to inspire her design because she wanted to shed light on how the ancient Egyptian designer preceded the era through works characterized by extreme simplicity.

This antique chair displays remarkable details and colors and is truly a thing of beauty and a model for taking into account functionality and modernity as if it was produced in 2023.

The young designer, who comes from Damietta, one of the most important Egyptian governorates in furniture and wood, known as the “Fortress of the Furniture Industry”, has been working on manufacturing the chair for 7 months, using pure Egyptian raw materials.

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