22 May 2004

The Furniture Walk

Sharjah (the emirate next door to Dubai, see A Visit to Al Sharjah) yields up another of its secret treasures.

Geoff, who has recently arrived in Dubai and is looking to furnish his newly-rented villa, took us along on one of his furniture-hunting trips to Sharjah. We first went to Lucky's, a warehouse full of Indian furniture hidden in an industrial estate, a veritable treasure trove of carved and painted items. Wardrobes, tables and bookcases are stacked three high, leaving only a narrow alleyway between each precariously piled row. Everything was either covered in beaten brass work, exquisitely carved figures or painted with naive decoration such as fish, camels or elephants. We ordered a coffee table with inlaid blue tiles and a small cupboard with painted doors. In between the furniture we discovered a lovely camel to add to Fiver's growing collection:


The camel is the one on the right ;-)

Next up was the famed Furniture Walk, a long stretch of road through Sharjah lined with one furniture showroom after another. Most of these seemed to be aimed at the Russian visitor, judging by the advertising in the windows, but we didn't let that deter us. Geoff was hunting for a cream-coloured sofa for his new home, and we tagged along. The showrooms turned out to be a set designer's dream. If you need a bedroom for the Marriage of Figaro done the traditional way, or the interior of a Tsarist throne room, or the shiniest, glossiest Miami Vice-style drinks cabinet and bar, you would be in the right place. There were polished wood wardrobes you could see your face in, decoratively framed mirrors with elaborate detailing and antiqued MDF as far as the eye can see. But the most stunningly tacky item we discovered was this dolphin coffee table, which came in a range, so it would be possible to have a matching set of these beauties scattered around an undoubtedly large and over-furnished lounge:


At 650 Dirham (£95) it's a steal!

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