Archipelago seats evoke the visual language of insular landscapes.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Beirut-based designer Roula Salamoun, who has showcased her creations at Dubai Design Week, is presenting a series of new pieces, alongside her signature Strata rugs, at Paris Design Week (Sept. 8 - 12).
Exhibiting at Espace Commines, she introduces the new Archipelago seats and Strata tables, which take cues from the natural world.
The Archipelago seats evoke the visual language of insular landscapes. Seemingly shaped by the passing of time, they reveal sculpted edges and striking views. Archipelagoâ€™s tapered bases hint at coastal erosion, while their prominent backrests are reminiscent of mountainous highlands.
Mimicking island clusters and peninsulas, their organic silhouettes suggest complementarity and independence, inviting the user to unite them freely or use them individually. The matching fabrics, available in an array of colours, are selected to reflect these different natural environments into a tactile experience; soft to touch, the dual textures elicit a sensory response.
The seats are handmade â€“ their cores are made of foam on a solid wood structure â€“ and hand-upholstered. The design of the Strata tables is rooted in topographical studies; they are an evolution of Salamounâ€™s Strata rug collection, this time manifesting the explorations into a series of three-dimensional objects.
Mimicking the tectonic landscape of cliffs and sea stacks, the collection investigates the ever-present richness of textures and colours revealed in the stratification of dissimilar topographical layers. Shaped by earth, water and wind and also man-made actions, the topographies bear witness to time. The Strata tables echo the terrain variations, inviting the user to imagine how they came to be.
The pieces are hand-cast using resin and natural marble, applied with a signature intuitive moulding method. To transform the rich colours of the natural realm while being mindful of the environmental impact, the designer carefully selected natural stones, leftover by the construction industry. Each piece is special, as natural colour and texture variation may occur from one edition to the next.
Salamoun is an architect and designer, and founder of a studio developing multidisciplinary projects. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture with distinction (American University of Beirut, 2007) and pursued her Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design in New York City (Columbia University, 2011), where she was awarded the William Kinne Fellowship. In 2019, her collaboration with Ieva Saudargaite Doueihy titled Nationmetrix, was awarded the Arte Laguna ARS Prize at the Venice Art Biennale.
She has collaborated with Columbia University on a number of regional projects in the Middle East and worked with Bernard Khoury/DW5 for over six years as a Project Manager and Architecture Manager before establishing her practice in 2017. Her work has been showcased at Studio X in New York, the Venice Architecture Biennale, House of Today Biennale in Beirut, Piasa Auction in Paris, and Dubai Design Week.
She has been featured in major trade publications such as Wallpaper, Architectural Digest, Galerie Magazine and she was listed among the designers to look out for by Domus Magazine.
Salamounâ€™s technical experience spans all project phases (see her website) from concept design, to tendering and construction supervision, which she combines with her experience in team and resource management, answering RFPs (Request for Proposal) and contract negotiation.
She explores her interest in multi-scalar design, experiential design and sustainable material experimentations through projects ranging from architecture to experimental installations and develops the artistic side of her practice through works that tackle the relationship of the human body, space and the objects that occupy it.
Her design studio strives to investigate the boundaries between analogue and digital design, experiential design and material experimentation through architecture, interiors and product design. Extraground, the lab section of the practice, is an explorative space for research and investigation on the built environment and its representations through its urban fabric and cultural production.
It brings an alternate approach to the practice of architecture and urban planning through research, installations, workshops and archiving practices, devising a symbiotic relationship between commissioned projects and self-initiated research.
â€œWe approach product design as we do architectural projects, reinterpreting form and function through the lens of research, subjects of interest and informed by the findings of our investigations,â€ says the studio. â€œWe strive to create unique projects that revisit the userâ€™s relationship to space.â€
Paris Design Week (Sept. 8 â€“ 17) gives industry professionals, design enthusiasts and the general public the opportunity to immerse themselves in the very latest trends in design and decoration.
The programme includes the chance to discover up-and-coming talents that are on track to becoming tomorrowâ€™s big names at the Paris Design Week Factory; a series of new Parisian addresses to add to design musts; a future focused take on design spearheaded by the Campus des Metiers dâ€™Art & Design at the Academie du Climat, a veritable laboratory showcasing work from the most exciting young design minds; and a gourmet trail by Gault & Millau, the editionâ€™s prestigious partner.
â€œWith over 300 addresses to choose from,â€ say the organisers, â€œhow will you decide where to head? Whether youâ€™re looking to further refine your collectable design eye, update your little address book of design, get to grips with French design expertise, delve deeper into the universe of â€œMeta Sensibleâ€, meet up-and-coming design talent, or simply see Paris in a whole new light, Paris Design Week offers everyone with endless enticing ingredients for a truly inspiring stroll.â€