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Stories from the Middle East Region

Carlo Massoud: On his Design Process and Upcoming Armory Show

Carlo Massoud’s objects always make us think - Lacquered wood “dolls” that address the delicate theme of the veiled women; excavator trucks, made by bending rusted metal sheet by hand, that reference the 7 times his city has been destroyed and reconstructed, and of course the playful Hang Me Hangers on His work is being propelled internationally by House of Today and Carwan Gallery.  Read on to find out what inspires and influences one of our favorite Beirut based designers and see his new project at The Armory Show 2016.

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Designer Inspiration Over Cocktails with Christina Debs

Christina Debs

Letternoon recently caught up with beautiful Christina during her lengthy stay in New York.  She and her business partner / husband were in town for exciting business meetings that will soon result in an increased presence of her brand at American luxury retailers.  Simultaneously, she was getting ready for Jewelry Arabia in Bahrain and her Christmas events in Beirut.  All the while developing her new lines.  What does a busy business owner and designer do to keep it all together?  We sat down to ask over a fine dinner at Ilili restaurant, the owner of which is her cousin, by the way.

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INTERVIEW with Tar Tar Founder, Pinar Gercek

Pinar Gercek

Who or what are your influences?
My main influence in creating Tar Tar was Jean Michel Basquiat. I was doing some research on graffiti art in school and was totally blown away with his world of symbols, colors, references; his artistic world in general. I then decided that I was going to create my own label named Tar Tar (Tar is a word he repeatedly uses in his works) with his crown symbol upside down as the logo. I wasn’t sure what I was going to be selling at the time, but two years later I finished my studies, quit my job at the University, and Tar Tar was born.

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INTERVIEW with Bird on a Wire Founder, Rayya Morcos

Rayya Morcos

What inspires you? From the Middle East? Around the world?

I dream a lot...I really daydream, and anything that triggers that is food for soul to me. I love stories! I can obsess over one song and play it on repeat for a month! Social interactions fascinate me, as well as scientific discoveries. I also love surprises!

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INTERVIEW with artist Shirine Osseiran

Shirine Osseiran

Why did you decide to become an artist?

I wanted to be an artist because I love creating things, and I am quite happy producing by myself. I believe that the beauty of art lies in its universal quality and its ability to offer the viewer pleasure and inspiration. Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” and I am happy if I am able to do that for anyone.

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When Perfume Imitates Art, You End Up With Emir and Zohor

Parfum Jabrane & Fenaoui Emir

My sensory influences

I was exposed to a million and one different scents growing up in Morocco. From the delicious smells emanating from my mother’s kitchen and the spices of the souks, to the gorgeous scents of orange blossoms and nature when I traveled to the countryside. Scent is very important to Arab culture, and Moroccans are no exception: all the adults I knew wore perfumes. I remember smelling the distinct scent of each person every time I walked into a room of adults. I noticed a sharp difference between scents when it came to gender: men smelled musky and masculine, the women sweeter and more floral. These scents further fueled my imagination.

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