Welcome to Stone Town, Zanzibar
In writing for my blog, I need to dig deep into my own persona: who am I, what do I really like and dislike, how do I live this passage of time that is life? A while ago, I worked with Sean Low who helped me define the process of running a creative business. This exercise was very personal as I needed to really understand and assess the core of my creative mind. In the end, it became evident that my design aesthetics are not about the expected perfection of an object, a piece of furniture or a space but quite the opposite. I need to feel a space, touch an object, to see and feel a piece of fabric, the texture of a chair or a table needs to stand on its own. The design of a piece of furniture or the inspiration for a new collection always comes to me from a part of the past, a discarded object or material, or even a few lines from a book.
It all came so clearly to me, what speaks to me, what I strive for in design and in my personal life is perfect imperfections. The essence of beauty seen, felt, breathed, touched... from this I will be writing a small series of jottings on perfect imperfections.
Hidden in the corner, I am indeed the lady in black
I will start with the doors of Zanzibar. I travelled all the way to Zanzibar, a rather small island off the coast of Tanzania to see its famous entry doors. The splendor of Oman's influence and its wealth is long gone, but what remains is a richness in history, texture, display of wealth, tortuous narrow streets, decayed gardens, ancient palaces and one's imaginations can go wild with visual stories of exotic days gone by.
For hours, I walked under tremendous heat in Stone Town's narrow streets, admiring, touching, watching the inhabitants of these houses go in and out via these magnificent doors. These doors are mute witnesses to the richness of the ancient Omani culture, beautifully sculpted in rare woods or sometimes just simple doors that evoke the terrible human suffering during the sordid times of slavery and far too often, death.
The doors with a chain design belonged to the slave traders. Zanzibar was once the main center for arab slave trading. The inhumanity of such men is almost palpable as one walks through the narrow street and enter some of the holding cells for enslaved men and women.
My imagination was running wild while looking at these remnants of past splendors
Very tempted to ship this one home!
More to come on fascinating Zanzibar, its culture, people,architectural heritage and its famous beaches and hotels.