Friday April 19th, 2024
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Dokan Boutique & Doodle Factory Unveil Furniture for Al Nas Hospital

The cheerful collection features patterns drawn by the children who are being treated at the hospital.

Karim Abdullatif

Doodles by kids being treated at Al Nas Hospital, a prolific children’s hospital in Cairo, Egypt that provides free heart treatments based on charitable donations, became the foundation of Cairo-based concept store Dokan Boutique’s latest furniture collection. The collection was made in collaboration with Doodle Factory, an Egyptian design brand that creates lifestyle products based on children’s drawings, with all proceeds to be donated to the hospital.

A cheerful palette of sage green, blush pink and many shades of blue is applied on everything from throws, pouffes, armchairs and cushions, to cabinets, coffee tables, benches and mirrors. Doodles of flowers, hearts and other shapes - which were created during art sessions hosted by Doodle Factory with the children being treated at Al Nas Hospital - were turned into patterns featured on side tables and dining tables. “We’ve been working on it for the past seven months and we didn’t want it to look ‘too cute’ or for people to think that the furniture is for children,” Reem Aboulmakarem, founder of Dokan Boutique, tells SceneHome.

Doodle Factory has been working with children in need for the past seven years. “We go to children in hospitals or NGOs and hold an art session that allows them to draw whatever they want,” Yasmeen Khamis, Co-Founder and CEO of Doodle Factory, tells SceneHome. “They get to express themselves and we derived patterns from their artworks to apply on any product.”

When Khamis first met Aboulmakarem and asked about the initiative closest to her heart, Aboulmakarem’s answer - naturally - was Al Nas Hospital. “It was the first time for us working with the hospital and it felt like the right choice,” Khamis recalls. “We held our usual session, asking the children to scribble and doodle.” With the children asking if they can draw ‘anything, anything?’, they began doodling whatever came to mind.

“There were a lot of flowers,” Khamis says. “To break the ice, children would draw a lot of strokes, dots and hearts.” Graphic designers at Doodle Factory then translated those doodles into patterns, which were then applied on fabrics. Working with the product designers at Dokan Boutique, the collection started coming together as both sets of designers figured out the products that would best work with the patterns.

Aside from the main art session that produced doodles which were then applied in the collection, both Dokan Boutique and Doodle Factory wanted kids to explore different mediums of art as part of the initiative. “There were canvas paintings held with artist Dina Fadel, who also conducted dance movements,” Khamis explains. Artworks from Fadel’s live painting session were immediately purchased during an auction for the hospital held at Dokan Boutique’s exhibition.

Furthermore, providing a therapeutic experience to the children, local artist Jimmy Gami held origami sessions, while also producing a larger-than-life ‘heart’-shaped origami to be sent to the hospital. Inside the heart are little origami birds, and messages dedicated to the children which were collected from the exhibition’s visitors.

The collection, derived from the children’s doodles, was quite difficult to realise despite how heartfelt the process seems. “We looked at the doodles and thought, how will we turn them into furniture?” Aboulmakarem recalls. Dokan Boutique ended up with over 70 paintings, unaware - at the time - of how they’re going to be developed. “But that’s a typical case of creative collaboration, we weren’t sure about where we were going but we knew where we were coming from,” Aboulmakarem says.

For some of these kids, it was the first time holding a brush. But that didn’t hold them back. The fresh design environment within Dokan Boutique and Doodle Factory’s ability to develop patterns while still keeping their essence allowed the collection to have a unique feel to it, showcasing just how far designing with purpose can go in terms of impacting lives and elevating interiors.

Images Credit: Dokan Boutique


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