Studio mischer‘traxler: teamed up with an expert woodworker in Lebanon to redefine the constructive system of the traditional mashrabiyas- delicate wooden window screens often found in Middle Eastern architecture. Inspired by the process of lathing the small wooden parts for mashrabiyas, mischer›traxler focused on exposing the many steps of production, to make the craftsmen›s work visible and understandable to the observer. The result – a sideboard – is composed of a network of more than 650 distinct pieces of manually carved wood. From rectangular slats to refined decorative elements, all stages are visible within the one object, which becomes increasingly more defined, detailed, and fragile, but at the same time progressively more three-dimensional.
Karen Chekerdjian: Sculptural and functional, this piece combines a lounger, coffee table, stool, and magazine rack into a single unit that becomes more than furniture. It is a living space, verging on architecture. This collection began many years ago with Living Space I and II. Living Space III harkens back to the radical designs of earlier eras, yet its shape and conception are very clearly of today. Sanded in places, notably at the head and feet, the chair conveys an impression of use, as well as one of ease, familiarity, and comfort, even while being rigidly constructed. The wooden structure is made airy by its rattan panels- a style once commonly used to make sidewalk café chairs in Lebanon. Its embroidered cushion references the lhaf, the quilted blanket used in wintertime in Lebanese mountain houses.
Paul Loebach: based on the idea of a ‘vertical chandelier’, inspired by a voyage to the Middle East where he found the traditional oil lamp manifested in countless unique shapes and extraordinary configurations. The project is a collaboration with a local Beirut metal atelier that was able to use antique casting molds to recreate the old, metal lamp forms. These were assembled together with structural tubes and light fixtures to create a floating, illuminated installation.
Nada Debs: Using her recently established East & East workshop which focuses on modernizing traditional craft, Nada Debs has created the Fragmented Clock- a contemporary take on the grandfather clock, which is reminiscent of the past and captures the significance of heritage. The clock is carved from solid maple wood, an unusual material in the region, and incorporates mother of pearl inlay. The diamonds form an intricate pattern from the top, becoming distorted and more fragmented as they reach the base, until there is no more carving, reflecting a purity of design. The mother of pearl inlay is also scattered, showing the dying craft as time passes, requiring meticulous workmanship for each diamond shape to be carved into its 4 facets. The clock itself is fragmented into 4 pieces as if time were broken into units. The secret doors hold memories collected over time. The Fragmented Clock requires 4 hand carvers and 6 craftsmen specialized in mother of pearl inlay, 500 hours of work, and 30 kilos of mother of pearl to create the final object.
Oeuffice: explores the world of Middle Eastern architecture and ornamental structures. Collaborating with a Lebanese craftsman specialized in wood inlay, Oeuffice has created a system of independent boxes that stack together forming a monumental tower fitted for the domestic landscape. The form evokes a simplification of traditional Muquarnas found in Middle Eastern architecture, and the inlaid ornamentation renders a new study of scale and an unexpected shift in direction of traditional pattern standards.
Philippe Malouin: explores with Lebanese artisans the assembling system of combined intarsia and lathe technique. Both intarsia and lathe are ancient crafts that originated in the Middle East around 1200 BC. The objects are composed of hundreds of single crossing pieces assembled together to create the pattern according to the intarsia process. The bold objects are then turned on the lathe to confer a precise and unique shape. Malouin design brings with this project an innovative simplification and experimentation in the building process of Middle Eastern woodworking while exposing this ancient process to the viewer.