09.30.2013

Hybrid Objects

  • Hybrid Objects

There are different stories and diverse inspirations behind the charming objects designed and created by Karen Chekerdjian, Lebanon’s best loved designer. Entering her boutique in the up-and-coming Beirut Port neighbourhood is just like travelling through her own, complex personality and through her aesthetics.

 

Of Armenian-Lebanese origin, Karen graduated from Domus Academy in Milan, and she lived and worked in the Italian city of fashion and design for a number of years. Upon returning to Lebanon to open her own studio, she was faced with a number of challenges, chiefly in terms of the availability of materials and manufacturing techniques. Her focus, previously more on the concept behind her objects than on the way they were made, began to shift.

 

If advanced technical materials were not easily available, she would create with materials that were there, such as wood, ceramics, metal and glass. If the factories were not equipped with modern machinery, perhaps the solution lay exploring the possibility of getting her work made by hand by a local cadre of highly skilled traditional craftspeople.

 

And that’s how she developed a very unique style, a sort of ‘industrial handicrafts’ unmoored from time thanks to its blend of traditional manufacturing technique and industrial aesthetic, distinctively Lebanese and yet also International.

 

The hybrid nature of her objects is reflected by the concept behind her Beirut’s store, a sophisticatedly refurbished former metal warehouse which, in addition to Karen’s work, also stocks a thoughtful selection of items produced by other people - anything from furniture and design objects, to fabrics or books, illustrating the designer’s global and eclectic vision of beauty.

 

The store also offers a selection of edible items, mostly organic, mostly handmade and mostly of Italian origin; these are some of the designer’s favourite foods, sourced during her years in Milan.

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