For Sydney-based designer and author Sibella Court, overseas travel is an essential part of running a multifaceted design empire which has defined a sought-after style in Australia this past decade. Through her interior design and publishing arm, an online store, and consultancy service her aesthetic —as rural Australian as it is new Bohemian, revering the past and embracing other cultures—can be seen in private residences, hotels and cafes from Sydney to New South Wales.
As she sets off, often at a moment’s notice to countries including Japan, India and The Galapagos, she returns to The Society, her company and studio, with a fully documented trip, bringing back newly-forged relationships with craftsmen and artisans, and objects and curios for The Imaginarium, her personal library. This is often the starting point for projects, which she parlays into interior designs, books and paint shades (a recent collaborated with an Australian paint brand was inspired by a trip to the South of France).
As travel feeds her ideas, they in turn inform her work. Here she shares her most recent trip to Egypt where she took in Egypt’s ancient tombs and temples, mosques and museums, while sailing down the Nile.
Tomb of Idut, Sakkara
My favourite tomb or House of Eternity depicting the everyday life of Egyptians. The river scenes of the Nile’s fauna & flora, fishing and activities depicted in a form of lime plaster frescos.
Watercolours, on the Nile
Capturing the essence of what I see, a travelogue of watercolours.
Al Refaie Mosque, Cairo
“The once oil-lit lamps dangling from vast lengths of chain from the soaring ancient structure of the mosque. Unfortunately, what you can’t hear is the call to prayer in the background.”
Pyramids of Giza, Cairo
The sheer size and manpower to build these monuments is nothing short of a miracle and so very, very powerful.
Hotel Al Moudira, Luxor
A boutique hotel, with a path of tiles that magically lead you from rooms, through gardens to pools and inner courtyards with the soundscape of trickling water and birdsong. An oasis in the desert, curated with eclectic layers & textures of a designer’s eye.
Sileh Ancient Sandstone Quarry
An ancient sandstone quarry that functioned from 2000BC - 1906 and supplied the building blocks for the Egyptian temples & pyramids. You get a real sense of how The Nile was used to transport these massive pieces to their final resting place, and these mind-blowing feats of early engineering and man power.
Egyptian Museum, Cairo
The most haphazard, loveable, chaotic collection of artefacts—more Cabinet of Curiosity in its display than a modern-day museum. A pink, purpose-built museum in central Cairo that feels as if the likes of Howard Carter (British archaeologist who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun) had just dropped his loot off & it is yet to find its spot for display. Full of theatre and magic.
Howard Carter Museum, entrance to The Valley of The Kings, Luxor
A quiet space to explore and understand an exciting time of discovery that captured the imagination of all nations. To live at this close proximity to the Valley of the Kings must have been magnetic.
Kom Ombo Temple, dedicated to the crocodile-headed god, Sobek
The early morning light at Kom Ombo admiring the intricate depictions of gods and hieroglyphics as well as symbols of early medical equipment.
Sibella Court is the interiors editor at Vogue Australia, and is known for her shop in Sydney called the Society Inc. Sibella has also written several books including Etc., Nomad, and A Stylist’s Guide to New York City.