Initially, there were plans to display the work of two Tel Aviv designers, Noam Dover and Michal Cederbaum, alongside the work of designers from Lebanon. However, even in the context of presenting design from the two regions, the union was deemed too risky.
It’s a sobering reminder of the conflicts of the Middle East, and makes the exhibition even more of an interesting exploration into the inherent characteristics of Middle Eastern design.
19 Greek Street, the gallery hosting the show, says the exhibition ‘acts as a tribute to the passion, courage and love that exist alongside the terrible conflict that divides this area of the world.’
The show will now feature works from Dover and Cederbaum, alongside their long-term collaborator, the London based Israeli designer Yoav Reches.
The pieces are both beautiful and forward-thinking, using innovative styles and techniques to explore the idea of celebrating the process, as well as the final result in design. By focusing on the fabrication, the works examine the links between design, craft and production.
Cederbaum says, ‘It’s about exploring the borders of the aesthetic – between the finished and the unfinished. The inbetweenness of prototypes.’
Among the pieces on display is the wonderfully scruffy fabric Tailormade Vases series. Created to look unfinished, their muted colours and topsy-turvy forms create a very craft-led but modern aesthetic.
Greek Street owner and creative director Marc Péridis, who curated the show, says, ‘It’s a marriage of technology and craft – the vases are like an expression of how 2D pieces can be transferred into a 3D form.
‘It’s the idea that it’s not completely finished – a story that remains to be told. It’s a characteristic quality of Middle Eastern design.’
Other pieces on display include the Saj Tables, referencing their Middle Eastern heritage in their material – the spun steel domes used for making pitta bread.
Technology is at the fore in the gorgeously animatronic Scan and Scale vessels. Using a pebble as a starting point, the form was created using CAD and CNC technology, and the vessels adjust in size according to their contents.
Designing the Middle East: Part 1 runs from 28 March – 31 May at 19 Greek Street, London W1D