Laila Gohar/Gohar World.
Over the past two decades, the world of food has thrown its doors wide open: we no longer need only starred restaurants for superlative dining experiences, and the fields of fashion, design, and lifestyle in general have reflected and embraced this change. In this world, some names resonate more or better than others: among them, that of Laila Gohar.
An expressive wave on tiptoe: the artistic force of this young woman of Egyptian origin transplanted to New York is disruptive, surreal, iconic and ironic; her movements delicate and light. Artist, performer and designer, Laila Gohar has found in food the expressive medium to tell stories and create through her studio and refined research installations and pop-up spaces in which her visionary fantasies come to life becoming magnetic attractions and edible experiences during the biggest events of the New York and international fashion elite. From those made for the Met Gala to legendary works for Gucci Vault, Galeries Lafayette, Tiffany and Prada, his creations seem to narrate a magical and playful relationship with the organic, intimate and special universe of nature seen as the basis of every expressive experience.
A world in which to crown an atmosphere of imaginative taste live or revive human elements that return as childhood memories and become part of the setting or the table.
In this connection with nature and in this uniqueness of visions, in which art becomes a tool for personal expression, CIAM and Laila Gohar have found their point of contact. The encounter of two paths, professionalism and genius that have in common an idea of conservation, beauty, uniqueness and drive toward the future. During the last two editions of Alcova, the event that during the Milan Design Weeks 2021 and 2022 repopulated the Military Hospital Center with new frontiers in innovation, matter, sustainability and social interaction, CIAM and Laila Gohar collaborated to create set-ups in which design, food, art and nature invaded the spaces and experiences of the public by making them part of the same installation. In the set designed by Fabrizio Milesi for Alcova 22, common and poor ingredients like potatoes gave shape to resin-coated columns that defeat gravity starting from CIAM’s refrigerated counters and showcases.
A calm and orderly chaos that seems at the same time to have exploded from its untamable energy, yet perfectly regulated, as if everything were exactly where it should be.
Just as with the products born from the genius Ciam, the museum aspect of Laila Gohar’s works, so enchanted and fairy-tale-like, has at its core an artisanal soul, in this case, the heritage of her own Egyptian origins made explicit in the choice of textile materials from her land, and in projects involving members of her family. Such as the collaboration with his sister Nadia for the new tableware brand “Gohar World,” at the basis of which we find an irony that seems to echo the surrealism of the early twentieth century and a disruptive reinterpretation of the bourgeois dinners of the 1980s. A collection that originates from Laila’s visionary world and is composed of plates, glasses, tablecloths and cassatina-shaped candles, adult bibs, lace eggdresses, satin baguette bag and other objects that combine the sisters’ fantastical imagination with the workings of the family atelier.
During the two Milan events, which in an organic and harmonious flow of visions saw nature and technology, art and design meet and dialogue, thanks to Laila Gohar’s contribution, CIAM’s rooms at Alcova breathed a living, green energy imbued with humor and lightness: amidst extra-long zucchini, mirrored reflections that elongate and project even more the shapes of the installations, chocolate jeans and shirts that become tablecloths. As if to remind us that space becomes alive when we walk through it.