After the success of rising talents from Italy and the United Kingdom, it is now Lebanon's turn to be in the spotlight. With less than 2 weeks to go, young Lebanese designers are gearing up to take over the next edition of the Rising Talent Awards at MAISON&OBJET Paris.
Held at the Parc des Expositions - Paris Nord Villepinte, from 7 to 11 September 2018, the Rising Talents Awards show at MAISON&OBJET attempts to bridge the gap between East and West; they do this in collaboration with a country that has a booming creative scene at its current time. This year, six Lebanese designers take the platform in exhibiting and promoting their work for an audience of international professionals. Usually educated abroad and fluent in several languages, this first generation of Lebanese designers has found success in a context that is very specific and unique to Lebanon – a melting pot of languages and religions.
As Marc Baroud, one of the seven selection jury members puts it: "The essential characteristic of design in Lebanon is the multiplicity of its influences. There is no cultural standard, no industrial heritage, and therefore no ‘ideology’ on function, whether formalised or otherwise. It is great liberty, which is very exciting.”
Design might have only been introduced very recently in the country, but it has nonetheless flourished and brings new energy to Lebanon's creative scene. Thanks to the Rising Talent Awards, Lebanon and its creatives are now acknowledged on an international scale.
Maiko (L) and Carla Baz
Cloud (L) and Borgia Candelabra (R).
Half-French, half-Lebanese, Carla Baz started studying at ESAG Penninghen in Paris before she went on to earn a Master's in Product Design for the Luxury Industry in 2010 from ECAL Lausanne. Hence, her designs tend to have an elegance that was influenced by the French aesthetics. "My whole approach consists of exploring possible ways to find connections between the Lebanese crafts and the decorative arts," she says, " I am very fond of artisanal techniques, but the final product and the visual result remain a fundamental part of my creative process."
Calling on the expertise of Lebanon’s most experienced artisans, her furniture also reveals the beauty of fine materials, as exemplified by her Hay bench, handcrafted from solid oak and incorporating traditional cane weaving techniques. More recently, Bonadea has produced her Borgia Candelabra, made from hand-brushed and hand-polished solid brass.
Marc Dibeh and The (Y) Lamp (R).
Somewhere Under the Leaves.
A breakout star at DesignMiami 2013 with his 'Wires' series, Marc Dibeh actually started his career working alongside Marc Baroud after graduating from Master's in Product Design at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts. He then went on to establish his own studio in 2009, and still regularly collaborates with Baroud.
His work skilfully plays on the notion of narratives as exemplified by a work he created for an exhibition entitled Jungle Protocol, held during the House of Today's Design Biennial. A dramatic rattan umbrella system entitled 'Somewhere Under the Leaves', this work was an evocation of a safe haven in the jungle. "I think the fact that I like making fun of myself can sometimes give my approach an edge, and if we are being realistic, it is not like I will be saving the world anytime soon, so I might as well make people smile," he said.
Autopsy stool (L) and Carlo Massoud.
After he graduated from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts and ECAL Lausanne, Carlo Massoud moved to New York to expand his knowledge on design. He joined Nasser Nakib Architect to oversee bespoke furniture designs for the firm's high-end residential projects. His solo career began in 2014 when he showed his 'Dolls' project at the Carwan Gallery, a thinly veiled allusion to the frictions over the chador, an outer garment worn by some women in Shia areas.
He takes an artistic approach in characterising his works, with projects that fluctuate between functional design and installation. He further incorporates social and political commentaries. For example, African fertility dolls inspired his 'Autopsy' project, a collection of stools he designed with his sister Mary-Lynn Massoud, Otto du Plessis foundry and the South African Imiso ceramicist Andile Dyalvane.
Anastasia Nysten and BookCase (R).
Snowflakes Candle Holder.
Born in Ottawa, Canada, to a Finnish father and a Lebanese mother, Anastasia Nysten grew up in Finland, France and Lebanon. She chose Lebanon to pursue her degree in Industrial Design at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, and later started her career with Karen Chekerdjian. After three years in London where she worked with Michael Anastassiades, she established her own studio in 2015.
Today, working from Beirut and Dubai, Anastasia's designs are shaped by everyday stories, by moments she experiences and by thoughts that come together. For example, the 'Snowflakes' candle holder was inspired by ‘snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes’; 'Troll', a chair that has earned her a Talent Award at the first Beirut Design Fair in 2017, is a reinterpretation of the bean bag chair. She experiments with volumes, textures and behaviours, with the hope of finding what makes us feel good.
Impermanence vase (L) and Paola Sakr.
Morning Ritual collection.
On paper, Paola Sakr is a designer, with a product design degree she earned in 2016 from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts. However, her expressions encompass a much broader field of disciplines, from photography to art. This capacity for multidisciplinary creation has allowed her to satisfy her tastes for innovation and her curiosity – the source of every one of her projects.
Her most well-known design, the 'Morning Ritual' collection, recycles coffee grounds and old newspapers into useful objects; the newest, 'Impermanence', is a series of vases created with a pile of concrete cylinders she found one day on the edge of a construction site. "I really believe that sustainable development is the future, " she said, "It opened my eyes to our roles as designers to make people’s lives easier and protect the environment."
Studio Caramel founders: Karl Chucri and Rami Boushdid.
Mirage Music Box (L) and Baron Bar Cart (R).
Karl Chucri and Rami Boushdid met when they were both studying interior design at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts in Beirut. After learning their Master's they met again in Lebanon and decided to establish Studio Caramel in 2016. Their personal experiences in various architecture firms have certainly become an influence in their approach to furniture design. One such piece, like the 'Baron Bar Cart', was created for the namesake restaurant designed by FaR Architects.
Additionally inspired by the wonderful furniture and the general atmosphere of the 1950s, they will be showcasing their Mirage Music Box as well as their 'Indolente' armchair. Both designs pay homage to the nostalgia of the 50s as a style that associates a taste for vintage details and historical references. By exploring elaborate details and bold materials, they manage to create innovative and unusual combinations.
For more about the Rising Talent Awards, visit here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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