With a backpack strapped to her shoulders, she goes to meet the buildings she often refers to as business partners.
Even though she has walked through these alleys more than she can possibly remember, they still keep surprising her with new stories. During her regular journeys, she often passes by a window that became a colourful motif on one of her bangles or a mosque dome that she deconstructed into a statement necklace.
As she clutches her sketch book close to her heart, her eyes swipe the path ahead searching for the desired story that would ignite the first spark.
Reem Jano is a local jewellery designer that has managed to become an unexpected definition of modern Arabesque art. Her statement designs combine the authenticity of Islamic art with geometrical silhouettes and modern enamel details.
Jano is a prominent individual in the new local wave of jewellery designers, who aim to tackle global markets with local craftsmanship. After practising interior design, the artist shifted interest after studying at the Design Studio by Azza Fahmy.
Daily News Egypt sat with the designer to talk about the personal experience of turning historical buildings into contemporary fine forms of expression.
Arabesque is a traditional pattern, what did you aim to add to it?
To me, “Arabesque” is a form of Arabic art that constitutes of different geometrical shapes. Being originally an interior designer, my eye is attracted naturally to details found in mosques and buildings.
My evident keenness on adding traditional patterns to my collections is a reflection of my profound love of the exquisite details found in old Arabic mosques and interior design of historic buildings.
This is where my inspiration often come from and I work effortlessly to show it in a modern; yet, authentic method.
What did you aim to communicate through Islamic art?
In my opinion, Islamic art is unique and quite distinctive. Through my designs, I always aim to communicate the spirituality of that specific era; meanwhile, I also want to give it a fashionable and chic interpretation, which can appeal to a global audience.
Which architectural parts (windows, doors, floor mosaics, etc.) inspire you the most?
Khan el Khalili as a whole inspires me! I have to say that I am in love with the windows and the shadows created by the shutters.
If you focus on the details, you will find that each window has its own story, hence design. On the other hand, when the light passes through these wooden arabesque patterns, new designs emerge naturally.
Accordingly, the longer you keep staring at these windows, the more secrets will flicker right in front of your eyes.
Dainty jewellery seem to be making a great come back. Why did you prefer to go for statement?
I love how a statement necklace can be simple; yet, bold at the same time. For example, the long stars necklace with dangling arabesque sphere is one of my favourites because it is quite versatile; it can be worn front, side or back.
Do you work on each piece by yourself?
Yes, of course. I start with the design, then I create paper model, before developing a full detailed sketch and scale. Next step is often examining it and applying few modifications according to my inner gut feeling.
I constantly need to feel that this piece has a part of myself invested in its details; my designs represent me. Only then, I consider my masterpiece ready to meet the public.
How did your participation in the IFS two years in a row reflect on your brand and expertise as a designer?
I represented Egypt at the “International Fashion Showcase” in London fashion week 2016 and 2017.
It has certainly garnered international attention for the brand; especially that it came after my participation with two pieces in the “Mineral Art” competition in Germany in 2014, where my pieces were selected to be exhibited at the Gemstone Museum for 6 months.
What does each international event and showcase add to your brand?
Over the past years, being a designer and transforming raw material into wearable pieces of jewelry has always struck me as magic. I believe that Egypt consists of many civilizations that need to be represented globally in an artistic and expressive way.
I want to show people around the world the true beauty behind our culture. To me, the most-basic creative need is the ability to translate an inner vision into reality; I believe jewellery design is my tool to do so.
What is next for Reem Jano?
I have a busy agenda for the next few months. I will be working with Deliguoro, founder of Arti Star, an established jewellery brand in Milan, on a special collection.
Meanwhile, I have my eyes currently set on global expansion; on the other hand, I will continue to tell local stories through my jewellery.