Through her bespoke interiors brand, Klekktic, Heba El Habashy reconfigures attitudes towards furniture.
Words by Laura Cherrie Beaney in Design & Architecture · Mar 9th, 2022
Local craftsmanship, customisation, functionality and refined aesthetic codes inform Klekktic. These priorities spill over into Heba El Habashy’s own address which reveals an eclectic combination of antiques and artworks collected from Kyrgyzstan to Kashmir as well as hero pieces from her own brand. We step into Heba’s artful Al Safa abode where life and design come together.
Heba: I’m originally from Egypt, but grew up all over the world - my father was a diplomat. We moved every four years between countries including Russia, Kazakhstan, Peru and Malta. I went to Harvard University and graduated in 2011 with a degree in Government and Economics and have been in Dubai since 2013. My Husband, Umran, is from Indian occupied Kashmir but also grew up all over - he lived in Singapore and London and has been in Dubai for almost 18 years. My first son, Sully, is two years old.
Heba: My appreciation for design stemmed from experiences in my youth. My uncle was an antiques dealer in Cairo; I always loved going to auctions with him and my mum. I appreciated how in love with each piece the auction community was.
Heba: My parents were really into antiquing and collecting carpets from the places that they lived in. When I was around six years old and living in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, I remember scouring street markets with my parents and finding little gems from samovars to random Matryoshkas that we still cherish.
Heba: Our made-to-order furniture brand, Klekktic, is a direct-to-consumer model meaning we cut out the middlemen and go from factory to home. We want to present an affordable and high-quality alternative to what was existing in the market. All our pieces are customisable and easy to design online.
Heba: It’s impractical to expect clients to have to wait for furniture for up to six months and then charge extra for freight, logistics, customs, and warehousing. If the piece arrives and needs to be customised that’s another 8-10 weeks - a super long process for a person trying to live in a pleasant space that doesn’t break the bank. Klekktic cultivates local craft to exceed the quality coming from abroad.
Heba: I love being inspired by the mundane - it leads to the most useful pieces that our clients covet and relate to.
Heba: I love a utilitarian product that’s also aesthetically pleasing. Our Marylin vanity was inspired by my own struggles finding a decent vanity that could hold all my makeup and skincare without making my room look cramped or messy.
Heba: We moved into our home at the beginning of covid in March 2020. My son was just a few months old and we decided that we needed more space. I was never a “house” person and loved apartment living yet with a young child we needed more room and an outdoor area. I love our house for many reasons. It’s super central - in the middle of Dubai in Al Safa 1. Our house is one floor which gives it a more relaxed vibe that evokes that Palm Springs feeling that I’m always lusting over.
Heba: 95% of the furniture in my home is created by Klekktic – this is good and bad. It's good because obviously I love my own brand but it is bad because I’m always analysing everything. This drives the people around me insane but helps us improve our products - we can only understand how they perform through time.
Heba: My husband and I mainly buy accessories and antiques when we travel. We want to expand our art collection but it’s very hard to find pieces, especially photographs, that connect on a deep enough level to house in our daily space. Art really affects your mood. We've moved pieces around many times because of the feelings they evoke.
Heba: Most of the rugs in our home are from either my parents or my in-laws. My parents collected rugs over the past 30 years during their travels, especially from countries like Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. These rugs are very special to me - they remind me of my father who passed away a few years ago. We have Isfahan, Tabrizi and Kashan rugs that are hundreds of years old. Most of them are very geometric which I love. One of our rugs used to be in my grandma’s house and that’s the oldest rug that we own – it was part of the marriage furnishings of her grandmother and has been passed down through generations until it reached me in Dubai.
Heba: In terms of the adornments on our walls, I love my framed pashmina – a wedding gift from my mother-in-law – it has very intricate handwork and is from Kashmir where my husband is from. I can’t believe the hours, months and even years that it took to complete - I always felt it was too stressful to wear so I decided to frame it so I can look at it every day.
The rest of our artwork is photography. Some of it is by my husband and some by friends. We have a piece by Sana Abedi, for example, she’s a super talented photographer who lives in Delhi and also a dear friend. I’m obsessed with photographs by Jayanta Roy – we have one that was taken at a “Darga” while snowing in Kashmir. I gifted it to my husband on our one-year anniversary. I tracked down this photograph after I saw his work in The Atlantic and he agreed to sell me the photo in digital format when he knew my husband was from Indian Occupied Kashmir. The large piece of art in the entryway was commissioned and made by AR Gallery at d3. It’s half of Jim Morrison’s face.
Heba: I love vases and have a massive collection – I can’t stop buying vases – Sometimes I don’t even know where to put them so I store them and try to rotate them as much as possible.
Heba: I’m a die-hard mid-century modern person. It was all about utility and minimal aesthetics with a very appealing industrial touch. Basically, Palm Springs – 100% my vibe. I also love a little loud postmodern aesthetic with crazy shapes and colours - it's so liberating to have such pieces in your home.
Heba: My favourite furniture and interior designer right now is Pierre Yovanovitch – everything he does is so chic and playful. I’m eagerly waiting for some of his dining chairs.
Heba: It’s important for me to have a functional space that's calming with unexpected details. I love adding vintage pieces, they bring a lot of warmth and uniqueness – I don’t like sticking to design “rules” and love to experiment. It's so easy to change your space with minimal costs with a shift in colour or fabric.
Heba: I'm particular about scent. I only like two in my home and even as perfume – Jasmine and the aroma of my Huvo Ajon candle – a friend got it for me and I became addicted.
Heba: What advice would I give to someone looking to reinvigorate their home? Don’t be afraid when selecting a colour or fabric for your Klekktic piece. We send out free swatches so that customers can take them home and decide without the pressure of being in a showroom. It’s important to make these decisions in a relaxed environment in your own lighting. Go with what you love. This space is your own – it is important that you feel comfortable in it. We offer fabric changes for a small fee to all our clients – if you get sick of your fabric you can just change it to give your space an entirely different look.
Credits: Creative direction by Aneesha Rai