Armchairs by XXe Siècle Galerie
I think what appeals to me most about these armchairs is how seamlessly they blend with almost any interior design aesthetic. They mimic the 1970s-style Brazilian furniture. The combination of the Brazilian decorative wood grain with a neutral palette can really make a space stand out.
I also really like the combination of materials in the armchairs themselves, as well as the cut and curves of the pieces. The XXe Siècle Galerie paired it with a complementary wooden table that really emphasises the unique shapes they were presenting.
Speaking to the designers about their work, the choices they made and how they went about realising their concept was one of the things I enjoyed the most about participating in the Beirut Design Fair.
The Split Bench by Studio A
What immediately stood out to me about the Split Bench by Studio A was the way in which the piece appears to float, despite the fact that it is produced with a traditionally heavy and solid material. It is a testament to the creativity of Studio A’s Ahmad Bazazo that he was able to achieve something so visually interesting.
The bench itself is decorative, yet fully functional, a description which defines all of Studio A’s work. The piece itself is also an interesting marriage of a traditional Art Deco look with modern techniques and materials which gives it an interesting dimension.
Explorer by Opus Magnum Gallery
The Opus Magnum Gallery booth was actually very close to mine. I immediately noticed its exhibition space because of how striking the Explorer table is.
The table itself is a metal cast dining table that makes excellent use of a robust iron material that is designed in a sleek, simple and pure design that makes it a statement piece.
I was also particularly drawn to it due to the use of the material and the ironwork of the piece itself, it reminded me a lot of the material I used in the Orbital collection I designed with my father, Wajih Nakkash, for last year’s Dubai Design Week.
Inge sofA by Marta Sala Editions
There are some pieces that, even in a design fair, just stand out and the Inge sofa is certainly one of them. The architect in me immediately fell in love with it – the proportions of the sofa, as well as the contemporary form and lines paired with the details of the piece, make it visually stunning.
Marta Sala Editions has a reputation for creating simple and refined pieces of furniture, which can be integrated effortlessly into a myriad of design concepts. It’s an architectural masterpiece.
Paola Sakr by Joy Mardini Design Gallery
This table has been produced by one of Lebanon’s most exciting emerging designers, Paola Sakr. I think the beauty of the piece comes from the asymmetry of the base, created by two differently shaped and finished terrazo marble pieces that support the clear glass that is cut differently on each end to create another dimension.
Like most of the other highly popular pieces on show at the event, this was a visually beautiful piece with a refined and simple feel. Part of that is also how Paola and the Joy Mardini Design Gallery decorated their space, the addition of the plants and vases no doubt added a new element to the presentation of the table.
Trinity by Omar Nakkash
The inspiration behind Trinity comes from a walk I took through the city of Beirut. I couldn’t help but notice the architecture as I wandered around, specifically the arches. That got me questioning why Lebanese arches were always made in sets of three.
This thought led to my research on the history of the Lebanese arch and how I could integrate a staple of the countrys architecture into a physical design product.
The research taught me a lot about the history of my home country. In the early 17th century, Fakhreddin II, the Emir of Lebanon at the time, was exiled to Tuscany by the Ottoman Empire. During his time in Italy, he was hosted by the Medici family, and upon his return, a few years later, he brought back a series of Renaissance architectural features and ideas, including the now famous triple arches.
I wanted the piece to be contextual, as it was inspired by Beirut, I thought it was important that it was also produced, and launched in Lebanon.
Trinity was produced by Fabraca Studios, a lighting design studio located in the heart of Beirut’s industrial city. They’re at the centre of an exchange between the area’s artisans and designers, matching a contemporary aesthetic with traditional skills. The collaboration resulted in a product that truly translates the city’s architectural elements into a sculptural light.
To emphasise the sculptural element of Trinity, I decided to use heavy materials that reflect light differently. I settled on solid steel, solid copper, and solid brass for each respective piece, although they all share a brass base.