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Celebrating Cairo’s odd collection of street chairs

A book to be released in May highlights the placemaking role of ubiquitous street chairs in Cairo. (Asim Bharwani/flickr/cc)

They’re crooked, weather-beaten and easy to find in public places in Cairo. Jeroen Beekmans reports for The Pop-Up City that Cairo’s iconic “guerrilla chairs” foster conversation, contribute to placemaking and inspired an upcoming book. 

That book is Sidewalk Salon: 1001 Street Chairs of Cairo, by David Puig and Manar Moursi. They see the chairs as both an artistic expression and key placemaking element. The authors tell the publication that they were attracted by the “imperfect charm and singular character” of the chairs, found mostly in Cairo’s older neighborhoods. The book is to be released in May and is currently raising funds for publication on Indiegogo

The chairs are integral to life on the streets of Egypt’s largest city. They’re a place to rest while sipping a coffee and essential furniture for seniors or anyone who works outside, such as vendors and doormen. By allowing more people to congregate outdoors, the chairs contribute to safer streets, particularly for the city’s female residents, the authors reason. One might say that these humble, often wobbly furnishings build community one seat at a time. 

The Pop-Up City

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