Palestinian architecture duo AAU Anastas, led by Elias and Yousef Anastas, have designed a chair collection that focuses on the nature of furniture production, focusing on the skill set and craft.
The collection is currently up for sale until the end of February and will be exhibited at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai before being picked up by the buyers.
The exhibition will be developed in collaboration with Turbo, a graphic design studio from Amman, with whom the architects have been in close collaboration for past projects.
Entitled Local Industries, the architects worked with a factory that used to fabricate steel for the Jordanian army, prior to its severe drop in production due to political circumstances.
“The goal of our collaboration is to adapt to the skill set of the individual factory in order to produce furniture,” said Elias, architect and co-founder.
The collection has been developed in close collaboration with specific Palestinian artisans, he said.
“The conception and production of furniture happens through a constant back-and-forth between all the agents, thus undermining the usual boundaries which separate conception from production. Here, conception stems from the means of production and in return the means of production adapt accordingly.
“The result is a new type of object, which is adapted to local means of production but also to modern work or living spaces which require a high standard in functionality, aesthetics and quality,” Elias explained.
The challenges of specifying budget-friendly and suitable furniture for architecture projects inspired the architects to create Local Industries, which is locally-produced and therefore more affordable.
“It is also a way of maintaining a strong link with the world of production. Working as architects, the passage from creation to realisation is slow. Furniture production offers us the possibility to multiply possibilities of knowledge and exchange with a whole set of different disciplines,” Elias added.
He explained that although many expect or request the duo to create projects that are symbolic of Palestine, Local Industries does not, in fact, infuse any folkloric elements in its design.
“We believe that exploiting the peculiar geopolitical situation is the easy route but also a weak one, just as Orientalisation, at any cost, eventually becomes wearing. Working as architects and designers on different scales, it is interesting to move beyond the folkloric and nostalgic approach to materials.
“We believe that the city a person lives in also reflects the type of chair they will choose for their home and vice versa. Working successfully with our craft network allows us to generate a new morphology,” he said.
Recently, AAU Anastas exhibited a ‘self supporting’ stone installation in Alserkal Avenue, which is set to be erected in Bethlehem’s historic Cremisan Valley as peaceful protest against separation wall in Palestine.