Laila Gohar has spent her days creating a dream world of delicious food. Devoted admirers flock to her visually captivating Instagram feed to catch a glimpse of the brilliant way she shapes butter, braids cheese and deliciously dusts delicate berries with icing sugar and yearns to attend the affairs where these artistic meals are served. . Gohar uses food as both an artistic medium and a communication tool, creating unique experiences around the world for friends and luxury brands like Simone Rocha, Comme des Garçons and Tiffany & Co. Now, with his sister, artist Nadia Gohar, the New York designer by-way-of-Egypt launched Gohar World, a beautiful new way to build your own universe at the dining room table, one object at a time.
Encompassing whimsical tableware that embraces craftsmanship, time, tradition and humour, the brand was “born out of our love of entertaining and bringing people together,” says Laila, who conceived the idea with her sister during global lockdowns related to COVID-19 in 2020. Then, designing pieces in New York for future dinner parties felt like “kind of a fantasy, a way of getting away from it all.”
The Gohar World collection, handcrafted by artisans from several continents, includes a mother-of-pearl butter knife, an egg candelabrum and a clever baguette bag adorned with black satin bows. The designs are approached as future heirlooms, and many have a family feel. The sheets, for example, come from Egypt and are sewn in the Cairo workshop of Laila and Nadia’s great-aunt. Their grandmother, Nabila, a retired fashion designer in Egypt, “insisted on hand-sewing the knots of the baguette bags herself because she couldn’t find anyone else who could do it just like us. we wanted to,” explains Laila. “She then sent us a giant suitcase full of satin bows. We didn’t even know she was doing it. It was so sweet to receive.
The collaboration was of the utmost importance for the creation of Gohar World, whose slogan is “design for the table, where as much attention is paid to the dressing of the table as to oneself”. The brand marks the first time Laila and Nadia have worked together officially, and the former says she was continually impressed with her sister during the experience.
“Because she’s a painter, she likes to dream like me, but she’s also very meticulous,” Laila says of Nadia. “She oversaw much of the production process and worked with the workshops that make our designs. She’s an incredibly hard worker, it was amazing to watch her.
Tradition is of paramount importance to Gohar World designs and intentionality is a prerequisite. Their products celebrate customs that are on the verge of extinction, showcasing the art of mouth-blown glass, needlework and hand-dipped candles. On the brand’s Instagram page, a fascinating video captures of one of their makers masterfully crafting a piece of lace.
“I prefer intricate and maximum pieces to sleek and minimal pieces,” says Laila. “The candy, fruit and veggie hats are two of my favorite pieces from the collection for this reason. Besides lace, I’m really fascinated by needlework. There is a towel in the collection that uses a stitch called up to date [openwork] it’s not used very frequently but it’s so beautiful. I’m glad we were able to include it and bring it back.
In the philosophy of Gohar World, “no object or piece of furniture has had as much meaning for the family and the community as the dining table”. With their surreal tableware, the Gohar sisters seek to revive one of humanity’s oldest traditions, communal eating, while creating new rituals. The simple act of hospitality resonates more than ever, and Gohar World has elegantly reinvented the way we break bread.
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