Lebanon-inspired eye candy by Charles Kalpakian

Cinetisme by Charles Kalpakian

I'm not new to Pinterest, but I've been appreciating it more recently.

Like all of you, I've done the 'Lebanon' search to see what pinners have been lusting on. My results: besides the images of Saifi's color fiesta and the glorious, colorful Gemmayze stairs by the Dihzahyners, I came across Charles Kalpakian.

It was obsession at first sight, which isn't always the case with me and design. I'm a big fan of angular designs and he's mastered his sharp edges. I just regret discovering him this late in life, but alas.

Rocky by Charles Kalpakian
A credenza featuring an angular and sculptural line
100% stainless steel
Born in Lebanon in 1982, Charles' work is highly inspired by Lebanon, France (where he now resides) and street art. In fact, many of his products are titled using Arabic words, including "Saida" (woohoo!) and "Ahlan".

B: "Furniture designer", "lighting engineer," or "artist," - which do you think describes you best?

Charles Kalpakian: I have chosen a hybrid approach and i explore all the variation of our work. Product Designer is the right description, because i need constraint to built a project and not the artist.

I like to find new solutions for a product, go back to see factories, the producers and the makers. A product need a good process to become something useful.

Wallshadows by Charles Kalpakian
Wall sha-dows
Graphic composition texture illuminated by LED
Latticework of the game of chiaroscuro
Wallshadows by Charles Kalpakian
Wall sha-dows
Wallshadows by Charles Kalpakian
Wall sha-dows

Favorite material to work with?

I work on mixing material, try to create a family of material not specially one. I think about how materials can live together in a same objets, like brothers and sisters. I don't want to use a material because it's the trend now; I work a global way for a product, what is best answer for this project.

Are you organic or geometric?

My work is based on different world of geometric, I take aspects of both and blends them to create something new and contemporary. So i try to reappropriating Orientalism.

Cine-tisme by Charles Kalpakian
Materials: corian and wood
A meeting between street art and Op'art,
scientific phenomenon of bistability disorder of perception

Cine-tisme by Charles Kalpakian

Which one of your pieces would you consider your favorite?

The candy box for Habitat; they look like little houses in an Eastern village, structural and the same time powerful, colorful and energizing shapes. They are boxes for the welcoming and happiness in a house.

Candy Box by Charles Kalpakian
Candy Box for Habitat
Painted Wood

How has Lebanon influenced your work? Some works are titled using Arabic words. Is this a tribute to your roots?

Fascination of calligraphy, Middle East living, the crafts, the landscapes and to don't forgot the food. The Arabic names are poetic and very narrative.

Saida by Charles Kalpakian
Material: Faience
Inspired by the sails of Felouks shaped by the wind.
The organic shells with geometric shapes adorn to
the color palette of Mediterranean landscapes

Ahlan by Charles Kalpakian
The oriental influences get involved in the modernity of lines,
letting the light of the South through the panels
Cedar Lamp
Materials: lacquered steel, wood, mirrors, LEDs
Cedar Folding Screen
Material: metal

Do you think opportunities are richer in Paris or Beirut?

For the moment I live and work Paris, but my projects are across the world . I see the new art scene very powerful in Beirut and I would like to be a part of it, to make my contribution.

Materials: wood structure, ebony feet, and Kvadrat upholstery
Contemporary reinterpretation of the major classics from the 50's 
Moon by Charles Kalpakian

Is there any Lebanese artist that you would particularly enjoy collaborating with?

I know david/nicolas, Carwan Gallery and SMO Gallery but I don't know artists well, maybe you can help me?

Material: aluminium equipped with with an opal polycarbonate lens


Would you consider bringing your work to Lebanon, or making it available for purchase here?

I work on it with my dealers in Europe and hope soon in 2015.

For more delights, visit Charles Kalpakian's website.

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