A Closer Look at The Ocular
Though the Earl Grey is piping hot and expertly prepared and the dessert menu formidable, it’s an architectural feature at the Tea Lounge of Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence that seems to get all the attention.
A large circular window made of stained glass dominates the elegantly appointed room, its dozen or so spokes presenting an intricate pattern of shapes and curlicues radiating outward.
Designed by local artists and dubbed simply “The Ocular,” its sheer beauty alone is enough to captivate the eye, though sunrise and sunset are when it truly approaches the sublime. Turning a brilliant shade of blue as the sun ascends, The Ocular is brightest at noon and takes on a reddish hue as the sun retires for the night.
The Ocular is an example of what’s generically referred to as a “rose window” or a “wheel window” – both popular components of Gothic architecture, though early forms date back to Roman times.
What makes a rose window a rose window as opposed to just a circular piece of glass? That depends on whom you ask, though most experts agree that the defining characteristic of rose windows is a series of glass segments divided by mullions (vertical structures that separate each window) and tracery (stonework that supports the glass).
Rose window designs vary, from depictions of religious figures to abstract formations. Examples of famous rose windows include St. Patrick’s Cathedral at Melbourne, the Basilica of St. Denis in Paris, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
Whether you encounter a rose window on a cross-continent sightseeing trip or while enjoying a cup of tea at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence Tea Lounge, its exquisite artistry will not soon be forgotten.