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George Geara’s ECHELLE Chairs: Craft & Modern

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Lebanese designer George Geara has garnered significant attention with his latest collection, QUARTET, showcased at We Design Beirut’s inuagural event. Held from May 23rd to May 26th, 2024, at Beirut’s historical Villa Audi, this exhibition presented Geara’s ECHELLE chairs, a series of hand-crafted furniture that blends traditional Levantine craftsmanship with contemporary design. The ECHELLE chairs, with their ladder-like backrests, are a testament to Geara’s innovative approach, expanding to embrace the human body in a unique and ergonomic manner.

Each ECHELLE chair is a result of a meticulous process where Geara collaborated closely with a Lebanese carpenter to sculpt the sleek wooden frames. The handcrafted wooden elements are complemented by a laser-cut metal skeleton, integrating modern materials and techniques into the design. This fusion of traditional and contemporary methods highlights the potential of a multidisciplinary design studio approach, where diverse techniques and materials come together to create a cohesive and innovative product.

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The collection features upholstered and curved seats in vibrant tones such as red, yellow, light gray, and electric blue, with each chair coated in matching or complementary hues, including black and white. This thoughtful use of color enhances the bold and modern aesthetic of the chairs. Geara’s attention to detail extends to the ergonomic design, offering variations with or without armrests to suit different preferences. He comments, “Together, they evolve ergonomically, creating a bold and modern look that contrasts beautifully.”

The QUARTET collection, curated by Bablyon – The Agency, is part of George Geara’s AMALGAM collection, previously introduced at Edit Napoli and Dubai Design Week. This collection underscores the importance of combining artisanal craftsmanship with modern machinery, illustrating how a multidisciplinary design studio can bridge the gap between traditional skills and contemporary demands. As Geara explains, “For a long time, furniture production has relied heavily on manual processes, but in today’s world, responding to the high demand of society, machinery has become a valuable tool for makers. We feel a sense of responsibility to keep our artisans motivated and echoing their skills through our new creations.”

The ECHELLE chairs not only serve as functional furniture but also as pieces of art that reflect the rich heritage of Levantine craft while embracing modern design principles. This dialogue of materials, trends, and craftsmanship is at the core of Geara’s vision, showcasing how a multidisciplinary design studio approach can create innovative and meaningful products. By blending classic design with modern materials, Geara’s ECHELLE chairs stand as a testament to the enduring value of craftsmanship in contemporary furniture design.

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