Saturday, August 22, 2009

travel by chair

I love stumbling upon something, whether in a book, newspaper or blog, that connects to a subject I’ve recently begun obsessing over or something I've always fantasized about.

Take my recent fascination with embroidery and long time love of old furniture & cool chairs. Did you know that I briefly, but quite seriously, considered pursuing graduate studies in furniture design? It's all true.

More recently, as I try to learn how to wield a very small needle in my self-taught stitching exploits, I've found myself reading about the many world cultures that have this colorful, quietly expressive & painstaking craft of embroidery deeply woven into their heritage. South American cultures, for example, as well as Central Asian. The other day I found myself passing an hour (or two) at work reading about suzanis (embroidered textiles from Uzbekistan that happen to have an awesome name). Even though I can only manage a 4 inch needlepoint of very simple design at the moment, I began sketching designs in my head for a large, intricate, brightly colored tapestry that would hopefully, one day (if I managed to not make it look crappy) become a treasured family heirloom for future generations of my family.


Fitting that this morning, as I snuggle up in the late summer morning sun, sipping a mug of macadamia nut coffee (thanks, Madre) I would find Beirut-based furniture design company Bokja (and thank you, design*sponge).

If I had a normal-sized house and more wapums in my pocket, I’d grab my friend Joanne & make frequent trips to this Lebanese shop of wonders. And I would definitely have a room (or six) that looked like this:


Designers Hoda Baroudi & Maria Hibri create some of the most beautiful items I've ever seen. The bright clashing colors, the intricate detailing of many, very skilled hands, the mix of recycled industrial chairs, antique wood & old metal, wrapped up in the most luxurious Eastern textiles. The perfect manifestation of the artists' philosophy and the meaning behind the name Bokja (an old Turkish description for wrapping a treasured item in velvet, like a bride's dowry - what inspiration!). Imagine taking a beautiful, antique tapestry off a museum wall and wrapping it around a vintage armchair. Amazing.

As they say themselves, they are breathing new life into once-treasured embroideries by creating modern, eclectic pieces. Like ripping out a page from the Arabian Nights & turning it into a new reading chair. Perfection.


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