feature\\ Nada Debs
Lebanese by birth, raised in Japan, educated in the United States, and worked in the United Kingdom – Nada Debs‘ creations are unique as the designer herself. This global fusion of cultures influences her distinctive designs that capture attention and seductively draw one nearer for a closer view. Debs began her journey into design in the late 1980s receiving her bachelors from the Rhode Island School of Design, USA in interior architecture. Upon graduation she pursued a career in interior design three years in the United States. A move to London and the birth of her first child lead her to develop her own company called NDK Designs Ltd which specialized in designing nurseries and children’s furniture. Her revival of the ancient wood craft marquetry became the hallmark of the children’s furniture collection and today this craft is still an important influence in her work.
In 1999, Debs moved back to her roots, Beirut, Lebanon and established Nada Debs Furniture & Design Beirut was the ideal place for experimentation and inspired new designs with a modern Middle Eastern flair. Furthermore, the highest level of craftsmanship in the region persuaded Debs to design more furniture.
Adhering to a philosophy of ‘less is more’, Debs’ sophisticated pieces are tailored to the lifestyle and the personal needs of the client. “My designs are all form and function,” says Debs of her current collections and commissioned pieces, “that’s quite Japanese.” With Japanese minimalist values Debs is reinterpreting traditional decorative Middle Eastern design. Debs has again transformed an ancient craft (inlaid mother-of-pearl) to create chic, contemporary furniture. The combination of disciplines creates pieces with clean lines while the unexpected use of a variety of mediums – mother of pearl in the ‘East & East’ collection, perspex in the ‘floating stools’ – have become the epitome of her design.
Her multicultural background created inner tension and leads her to express the vast breadth of these influences through her designs. “The creative process is therapeutic. It allows me to express all my cultural influence, which aren’t always compatible, in a harmonious way.”
Through the years of living between numerous cultures, Nada Debs has developed a diverse range of products from tables to flower pots. Evocative of eras gone by, the distinctive union of the Far East, West and Middle Eastern design influence creates a synergistic blend that is unique and modern.
The company now has retail outlets throughout Beirut: the Nada Debs Gallery, which displays the ‘East & East’ and ‘Contemporary’ collections and two Nada Debs Boutiques, which carry her home accessory collections. Globally, Nada Debs is represented in New York, Dubai, Geneva, Cairo and Amman.
East & East
The ‘East & East’ concept is a celebration of Eastern craftsmanship through contemporary design, using both Arab heritage and tradition as a platform into modernity. The use of the multiple ‘Easts’–a homage to the vibrant medley of Eastern cultures that have influenced the designer’s personal story–is a harmonious translation of the minimalism ideals of the Far East and the contrasting warm patterns typical of Arabesque design made into classic, high quality interior pieces. The ‘Contemporary’ collection, an extension of the concept illustrates the blend of Western influence on Middle Eastern design; from the ‘form and function’ design ideals of the US to the refinement of European antiquated design. This clarity of concept provides the perfect canvas for designer Nada Debs to continually explore newer translations of Arab identity through the fusion of design disciplines, the experimental use of materials, adoption of international trends and most importantly, the preservation of local craftsmanship across the Middle East.
With Nada’s unusual upbringing, her overseas experience, her own design sensitivity and desire to preserve local craftsmanship in the Middle East, she has created an extremely successful collection of furniture, accessories, lighting and architectural features. Her signature style is one that combines contemporary designs with traditional Middle Eastern craftsmanship. And beyond that? Debs says there are “lots and lots of things” that she would like to design but hasn’t had a chance to, yet. Among them a hotel. “A hotel using the East & East concept is one of my dreams,” she says.
Nada featured her latest collection “Vintage Meets Arabesque” at Maison & Objet 2013 in Paris. Debs reveals. “I am inspired by midcentury furniture and incorporating craft into it. The look will be very different from what I have exposed before.” The collection is inspired by the golden age of function and style, the Nada Debs Vintage collection captures the idealism of mid-century modernism with a fresh sensibility. By embracing the intimate textures and tonalities of the 1950s and 60s and fusing them with dynamic geometries and exquisite craftsmanship, Nada Debs has created a collection that is imbued with nostalgia yet contemporary in spirit. We are looking forward to see her work at Design Days Dubai 2013
Content courtesy of Nada Debs