“Four years, 50 walks, and an estimated 500 miles later, David Puig and Manar Moursi have pieced together a startlingly detailed portrait of Cairo, Egypt, just from photos they took of all the street chairs sprinkled all over the city. These chairs conjure a multitude of styles and eras, from the white Monobloc to a Rococo chair, from a Bauhaus-style steel seat to a stool-like pile of bricks. Some of them stay in the same spot for years. Other move around. Some hold up containers that serve as public water fountains, others serve as makeshift lunch tables. With more than 1,000 chairs now documented in Polaroid snapshots, the pair has named their endeavor Sidewalk Salon: 1,001 Street Chairs of Cairo, contending that the desert capital often called "the city of 1,000 minarets" may boast even more chairs in its boundaries.” Jenny Xie, Curbed Magazine

Sidewalk Salon is a critical inquiry into the unequal socio-economic, gender and power dynamics at play in the public spaces of Cairo.” Domus Magazine

“If you’ve been to Cairo, you've probably wandered by more than a few repurposed, decrepit, charmingly Frankensteinian street chairs. Moursi and Puig's spent years painstakingly documenting, mapping, and carefully curating these chairs for Sidewalk Salon, a beautiful ode to these inadvertent objects of art and the denizens who created them. The book is a journey through the last few tumultuous years of Cairo's history; but more specifically it is a tale about Egyptians—their struggle, passion, humor, and endurance—a story which unfolds as a walking tour of a fragmented city where conflict is rooted in the movement and reclamation of public space, the front lines of which are occupied by these fascinating chairs. This book is evidence that the streets, at least, are still in the hands of the people.” Yasmin Elayat, New Media artist

 

Sidewalk Salon is an outstanding documentation of every day ingenuity and creative adhocism, as displayed through a series of chairs, half ready-made and half invented to fit local and temporal needs of Cairo's citizens. The book showcases not only the remarkable traits of local craftsmanship, but also the material marks of a culture in revolt as manifest in urban space.” Lydia Kallipoliti, Assistant professor of Architecture at Rensselear University

 

TESTIMONIALS

“The streets of Cairo are full of odd chairs – and two artists have decided to document them in a book celebrating ‘the biggest open-air chair museum in the world.’” The Guardian

 

“Cairo is a city that rarely runs on straight lines - instead it's a patchwork quilt of semi-hidden and contested spaces, and you can find a dusty street chair in every one of them. Manar and David have chosen a unique and alternative lens through which to explore the capital, and I can't wait to see the printed book.” Jack Shenker, Journalist and Author of The Egyptians

 

"A chair is a container that frames the human body presenting its greatness or fragility. Whether on a throne or stool we are all united in our act of sitting, resting, or in the pausing of energy. This book is a collective moment of, a much-needed, stillness and contemplation from a nation that has been in perpetual motion for over three years. Moving away from the metaphorical chair of power that dominates Egyptian authoritarianism, it presents portraits of mundane chairs, as silent commentators, narrating an overlooked but meaningful aspect of a nation’s urban existence." Basma Hamdy, Artist, designer and assistant professor at VCU Qatar. Co-author of Walls of Freedom.

Sidewalk Salon is a beautiful collection of stories presenting fragments of life in Cairo through one of the city's most ubiquitous inanimate objects, the street chair.”  Mohamed El Shahed, Founder and editor of Cairobserver blog and magazine.

 

Sidewalk Salon: 1001 Street Chairs of Cairo is an art book for those interested in Cairo or in urbanism, and for those questioning how we walk the city and how it defines us. It aims at presenting an alternative perspective of Cairo that differs from the usual image of a monolithic city, it makes sure one will never look at the Egyptian capital in the same way again.” Tine Lavent, Al Arte Magazine

 

 

SIDEWALK SALON CAIRO IN THE PRESS

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Domus        MIT Colab Radio       CityMetric         Zenith                El Mundo                  Huffington Post                  Kalimat                    Cairobserver

Daily News               Mashallah News               Reorient               Cairo Scene               Egypt Independent               Middle East Revised              Your Middle East               Waslijn               Asharq Al Awsat Newspaper           24 Newspaper         Cairo from Below           Arab  Lit  (in English) Eldia           AlArte           HersKhazeen             Bazaar Magazine             EachArab            BarakaBits               Citiscope          The Guardian

 

 

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