Karen Chekerdjian, ‘Living Space’, 2012, Carwan Gallery

Sculptural and functional, this piece combines a lounger, coffee table, stool, and magazine rack into a single unit that becomes more than furniture. It is a living space, verging on architecture. This collection began many years ago with Living Space I and II. Living Space III harkens back to the radical designs of earlier eras, yet its shape and conception are very clearly of today. Sanded in places, notably at the head and feet, the chair conveys an impression of use, as well as one of ease, familiarity, and comfort, even while being rigidly constructed. The wooden structure is made airy by its rattan panels- a style once commonly used to make sidewalk café chairs in Lebanon. Its embroidered cushion references the lhaf, the quilted blanket used in wintertime in Lebanese mountain houses.

Carwan Gallery commission, produced in Lebanon 2012

About Karen Chekerdjian

Beirut-based designer Karen Chekerdjian creates “industrial handicrafts,” objects that marry contemporary pattern and design with traditional workmanship. The Lebanese-Armenian designer got her masters from the Domus Academy in Milan, where she studied under Massimo Morozzi, a member of Italy’s 1960s Archizoom group. She returned to Beirut to open her own studio in 2001; a store followed in 2010. When she couldn’t find factories like those she had worked with in Italy, Chekerdjian shifted her focus to handmade works made in collaboration with local artisans—carvers, brassmakers, embroiderers, and glassblowers. Along with furniture and objects, she has had several high-profile interior design commissions, including the Beirut flagship of Lebanese couturier Maison Rabih Kayrouz.

Lebanese-Armenian, Beirut, Lebanon, based in Beirut, Lebanon