Zenza is one of those brands that simply stops you in your tracks when you see their impressive collection! As you will have read from previous articles, I attend a lot of trade exhibitions and have done so for many years. It’s one of the best ways to source new brands, stay ahead of trends and keep up to date with collections – and I love being stopped in my tracks.
It doesn’t happen very often, but there is something so very nice about finding yourself just about tripping over your feet (and, rather embarrassingly, your fellow exhibition attendees…) when you do see something that makes you go ‘wow’! Which is exactly what happened the first time I saw the Zenza collection at an exhibition in Paris.
The Zenza stand at the Maison & Objet exhibition in January 2013 (which wasn't the first time I saw them)
The Zenza stand at Maison & Objet in January 2014
I thought the following video was rather fun and it will give you a feel for what their stand looks and feels like. It's from another Maison & Objet fair in 2012 (there is music with the video just in case you need to lower the volume).
I was still living in Dubai the first time I saw them and I did buy some of their lighting for one of the department stores I was sourcing products for. But once I’d moved back to the UK and launched Pomegranate, I knew I wanted to carry some of Zenza’s magical pendant lights, as well as some of their accessories.
Not only did their story resonate with me, but their collection fit perfectly into the style and vision I had for my business – and it wasn’t long before their collection became one of our most popular.
It all started over 22 years ago when founder Karen travelled to Egypt to source products for her new home accessories business, Zenza. Not only did she find some great things for her business, but she also met her future husband Hussein – with whom she now runs the business. How wonderful is that?!
Their daughter Yasmina has recently also joined the company, making Zenza a truly family business.
Karin, her husband Hussein and their daughter Yasmina, sitting on one of their majestic rattan chairs
One of the things that resonates with me about Zenza is their philosophy of helping to keep the art of craft alive by designing and creating collections that are contemporary in spirit and aesthetic, and that are made using traditional techniques.
Their largest and most successful range by far has been their amazing lighting collection. This really does seem to have taken the design world by storm and has captured the eye of interior designers and stylists from near and far.
I think it’s because they are just so effective and magical and they are also good value for money. This means you get a lot of effect and atmosphere at a reasonable price.
There is a wide selection of shapes and sizes but their magical formula seems to be the clever use of scale and pattern. In their displays and photography, they often show the pendant lamps displayed in clusters of the same shape but in different patterns and sizes.
And this mix of shapes, sizes and patterns can work equally well in a home environment, perhaps in a slightly less elaborate display. I have worked with many clients on selections of pairs or trios of different lamps, hung as a group at different heights. It is so effective!
The lamps are all handmade in Egypt using traditional metal working techniques. The base metal is copper which is then silver plated to give that contemporary effect or simply polished for the newer very trendy copper collection – very ‘on-trend’!
Zenza has also created a line of furniture, mostly made in India, which takes its inspiration from the old mango wood print blocks used for centuries in the textile industry in India. Like with the lighting, the designs have been updated a little to create contemporary practical pieces.
There are a couple of pieces in rattan from the newer collections that are ever so slightly reminiscent of the 1970s – do you agree??
To balance the collection and soften the hardness of the metal and wood, Zenza have also created a range of textiles in silk, wool, hemp, linen and cotton. This includes rugs and decorative cushions in a range of patterns and colours to suit a more neutral calm interior or a vibrant colourful one.
And finally, Zenza also have a fun and varied range of accessories including decorative knobs and handles, candle holders and even include some plant holders in macramé which is most definitely making a comeback this year!
So there you have it – Zenza in a nutshell! If you like an ’ethnic-chic-urban-nomadic’ aesthetic, then some Zenza pieces might be for you. For me personally, it’s all in the lighting – what about you? What do you like best about Zenza?
All images by Zenza
To see our assortment of Zenza items currently in stock, please click here