Architectural Digest (UAE) - - Contents - WORDS JU­MANA AB­DUL-RAZZAQ

Le­banon-born Na­bil Issa launches a retro-style furniture line this fall

“Ithink peo­ple who ap­pre­ci­ate de­sign and art look for things that are dif­fer­ent and unique,” says the de­signer Na­bil Issa, who has cre­ated just that. With a new furniture line launch­ing this au­tumn, he is bring­ing retro-luxe furniture to the fore. The sculp­tural stor­age, seat­ing, din­ing ta­bles and bed frames are fash­ioned from no­ble ma­te­ri­als (brass, cop­per, mar­ble, wood) in strong sil­hou­ettes. Ev­ery piece makes a bold im­pact.

“The mar­ket is full of the same de­signs and a lot of copies, and I think a lot of peo­ple play it safe in terms of the styles and mod­els that they pro­duce,” he says of his in­spi­ra­tion for the col­lec­tion. “I wanted to do some­thing out of the box and dar­ing.”

Born to a Le­banese fa­ther, Issa spent part of his child­hood in Le­banon be­fore mov­ing to Mi­ami at the age of 14. De­scrib­ing him­self as a ‘global cit­i­zen’, Issa stud­ied Ar­chi­tec­tural En­gi­neer­ing and En­ter­tain­ment Busi­ness in Florida, and has lived in some of the most cos­mopoli­tan cities in the world, in­clud­ing New York, Mi­lan, Lon­don and Dubai – ex­pe­ri­ences which have shaped his de­sign aes­thetic. He also worked in a va­ri­ety of fields (ad­ver­tis­ing, film and in­te­rior de­sign among them)

Le­banon-born de­signer Na­bil Issa’s lux­u­ri­ous de­but furniture line gives

retro style a 21st Cen­tury spin

be­fore pur­su­ing furniture de­sign full time.

“The in­spi­ra­tion for my de­signs comes from a com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent things but mainly my per­sonal sto­ries,” Issa ex­plains. “Be­fore get­ting back into de­sign, I worked as a film pro­ducer for many years, which helped me de­velop as a story-teller. I try to tell a lot of sto­ries through my pieces, in­spired mainly by mem­o­ries.”

He is an ad­mirer of mid-cen­tury Cal­i­for­nian de­sign, par­tic­u­larly the work of the late ar­chi­tect Richard Neu­tra, con­sid­ered to be among the most im­por­tant mod­ernist ar­chi­tects. Neu­tra’s in­ter­sect­ing sharp lines and spheres are echoed in Issa’s work, which man­ages to be both min­i­mal and dec­o­ra­tive at the same time.

“In the era when mod­ernism was in its hey­day, they were able to in­no­vate and bring for­ward the styles that have lived on since,” he says, “Those de­signs have be­come mod­ern clas­sics. I try to take the spirit of that de­sign era and ap­ply it to the 21st cen­tury.” Mis­sion ac­com­plished.

“I think a lot of peo­ple play it safe. I wanted to do some­thingout of the box and dar­ing”

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT: A dy­manic Ski Chair; Issa with his Iconic Chair; the Ovus Wall Unit OP­PO­SITE FROM TOP: Issa's O Ta­ble, and Tub Chairs; the X Chair dis­plays the de­signer's in­clna­tion for strong shapes

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