Algerian Furniture

Looking for traditional Algerian furniture? Perhaps you would like to see some modern furniture from Algeria? Read our guide for more facts & information…

Like many of the cultures of Northern Africa, Algerian furniture primarily consisted of cushions, rugs, chests and trays before the influence of the Europeans changed the styles and pieces that comprised a household. Traditional chests made of wood and richly carved or decorated with intarsia were the most elaborate pieces. Instead of tables, trays made from brass and copper with folding stands were used to serve food and family and guests sat on rugs or on elaborately decorated cushions.

European Influence

Before the colonization by the French, arm chairs were reserved for people of great importance, and most Algerians sat at floor level to socialize and eat. Europeans, used to sitting on chairs and eating at tables, changed the type of furniture that was made and used by people in the area. The tradition of rich decoration with geometric forms, leaves and florals and arabic symbols carried over into the new types of furniture. Much traditional Islamic interpretation  forbids the depiction of people or animals, so the resulting designs are often abstract patterns.

The Use Of Intarsia in Algerian Furniture

Intarsia is a process where a design is carved into the wood surface of the furniture and filled in with other types of wood, bone or mother of pearl. The result is beautiful and exotic and it is a hallmark of Algerian and other Middle Eastern furniture. Furniture decorated with intarsia requires special care and exposure to humidity can cause the pieces to warp and the inlay may be damaged or fall out. Cleaning intarsia requires care not to catch any corners with the cleaning cloth.

Algerian Furniture Designer Honoured in Paris

Algerian furniture designer, Abdelkader Abdi, was honoured with a showing of his work in the prestigious Mamia-Bretesche Gallery. His style mixes traditional and post-modern lines and uses modern materials rather than those used in traditional Middle Eastern Furniture. He was a professor of fine arts at the Art School of Algiers from 1982 to 1989, but later moved to Paris where he lives and works today.

Although it is not a major export, Algerian furniture is available in Europe and North America and it is a popular decorating accent. Some import and decorating shops frequently offer small Middle Eastern furniture items as special pieces to add interest to a room. The most popular Middle Eastern export remains rugs which are traditionally furniture in the region. As the Middle East gains greater economic success and recognition, it is likely that more exports will be seen in other areas of the world.

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