In a uniquely challenging year, these Middle Eastern designers tapped into their personal nostalgia to create new works that speaks to our collective longing for simpler times.
SACCAL DESIGN HOUSE
Saccal Design House was founded in 2014 by two sisters Nour and Maysa Saccal. The company provides interior design and architecture services as well as product design. Nour Saccal is an architect who completed her graduate studies at the Barcelona Institute of Architecture with an undergraduate degree in Architecture from the American University of Beirut.
Saccal Design house aims to evoke emotion and instill a sense of wonder and ambiguity that is explored at different scales.
Through product design the studio explores design in different mediums/materials to invite emotion and even a sense of confusion in the positive sense. Designed elements are not solely thought of as static objects; instead as tools for engendering actions, reactions and sensibilities.
This year, they launched the ‘Nostalgia’ collection, inspired by memories of summer in Lebanon. The Nostalgia Lamp uses the remains of travertine blocks that would otherwise have been considered as waste. The brass mesh and visible light source are inspired from the aesthetic of old lamps that have been adapted for contemporary living.
REJO DESIGN STUDIO
Based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Palestine, Rejo Design Studio was founded in 2017 by Reem Olyan and Jumana Qasem in 2017. After studying architecture and working together on various projects the duo decided to focus on furniture design ultimately centring their process on identity and the environment.
“This quarantine time that we lived through, made us realise this more, that designing furniture for us is about creating pieces that are more like us, pieces that make us feel emotionally comforted,” says the duo of their 2020 work that features an armchair and a book case. Both respond to the emotional resonance of the lockdown, but from opposite perspectives of the human experience in this challenging year.
The ‘Hug’ chair reflects on a difficult time: full of unrest and anxiety, but also reflection. The chair offers a warm embrace — as if protecting one from the craziness running a mock in the real world. On the other hand, the bookcase, with its unusual design and eschewing typical organisation that is inherent to a bookcase signals that it’s OK to be as we are right now, without having a clear plan or structure.
Meaning ‘Universe’, Kawn was founded in Amman, Jordan by designer Rama Akel. Kawn brings to life unique, limited and imaginative pieces, bridging the gap between art and practicality with the hands of local craftsmen.
Elegant, sleek and modern, Kawn journeys beyond mere furniture, with clear sensitivity to materials’ originality and compassion for life experiences. Kawn Designs came to life through Rama’s architectural journey that often was interwoven with interior design. Her approach to product design is heavily inspired by her passion for art, design and furniture — all influenced by nostalgic styles that speak to her childhood growing up in Amman in the 70s.
The studio’s new collection ‘Would it be possible to play forever?’ ventures into an arena forgotten by adults. Play and imagination are back in the forefront and into our daily lives. Inspired by a collection of games, both physical and virtual; the collection enlarges familiar shapes with a sense of flexibility and wonder. Creating an interaction between the onlooker and larger than life objects; transforming the pieces into toys, and blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.
The collection’s hero piece, ‘Slinky’ is a gateway to happy childhood memories. An enlargement of a toy that has brought joy to whomever’s hands it fell in, the piece plays on size and imagination in our spaces and also reminds us of the beauty of chance.