There are no tell- tale signs of flashy design in the works of these designers. Their individual take on minimalism produces unique products.
WHEN WAR CAME TO HIS HOME COUNTRY, FORMER GRAFFITI ARTIST, FURNITURE AND PRODUCT DESIGNER, CHARLES KALKAPIAN AND HIS FAMILY LEFT LEBANON FOR FRANCE. “I WAS BORN IN BEIRUT BUT MY FAMILY CAME FROM ARMENIA,” THE DESIGNER EXPLAINS.
Charles, the grandson of a cabinet maker, is known for the three dimensional approach to his minimalistic designs. This resonates in his brightly coloured shelves and cabinets, Cinétismes for BSL Gallery and Rocky, featured by LaChance. Some, which are cubic, create an aesthetically pleasing illusion.
He calls his creation, Rocky, a bookshelf as a functional painting. It involves Bistability as part of the process. It is the invention of an ambiguous image which shocks our brain pathways into changing our visual perception. Charles elevates this effect with his choice of colours and shapes.
His pronounced colourblocking skills reflect an artistic flair. It is not just seen in the shelves, but his clean-cut “boxed” Ahlan seats upholstered in Kvadrat, boasts a contemporary and cosy look. He pairs muted tones like grey with a darker colour to create an interesting colour contrast.
Each of his designs tells a story. Influenced by the calligraphic past of the Middle East and Europe’s minimalist present, it is the lifestyle of Middle Easterns that he tries to depict through the simple and graphic, bold but beautiful lines of his works. Charles admits, “I was taken with graffiti’s possibilities but I became frustrated with its twodimensional character.”
Meanwhile, Charles is still searching for innovative ways to create and light graffiti, his favourite, is one of them. His Cedar’s folding screen for example, has a calligraphic element on the top and its stems trailing downwards at different lengths seem to be inspired by light graffiti.
Creativity is in his genes. “My father was an art director in an advertising company in Bahrein and my mother paints and works in galleries in the Middle East,” says Charles.
The designer is currently working on two private luxury flats in Paris, a custom gallery project, new lights for Nemo Lighting at Euroluce 2015, furniture for Habitat, high quality handmade rugs with an Armenian dealer, exhibitions at a Collective Fair in New York and a solo exhibition with Galerie BSL.
98 FROM LEFT Ah Lan chair for Darenart; Candy Boxes for Habitat; Wall Shadows for NEMO OMIKRON.