Feature// Seven Stages of the Heart

Bokja <3 Wyssem Nachi


In collaboration with designer Wyssem Nochi, Bokja has created an exhibition entitled: The Seven Stages of the Heart. This collection is rooted in sufi teaching and, through the creative application of fabrics to seven of Nochi’s iconic iron chairs, the installation illustrates the journey from the material to the spiritual. This collection was recently featured in Design Days Dubai 2013.

In the Kingdom of the heart, seven stages there are: That the seeker of Truth must go, through them all…

When the seventh stage, thy home is reached. – Hazrat Shah Sadegh Angha, The Light of Salvation.

“The lines of the hexagon in Wyssem Nochi’s chair form a natural pyramid,” Huda Baroudi and Maria Hibri of Bokja said. “His design was pure and minimal and offered the perfect foundation to build our collection. Each upholstered chair represents a stage in the journey of life – to shed oneself of all material possessions and earthly desires.”

They add, “When thinking about the impact of recent events in our region of the world, we found ourselves looking inwards, trying to make sense of things. Intuitively we were drawn to the words and teachings of sufism to help us understand, spiritually, what has been happening.”




The collection starts with a chair made entirely of “plastic noise”, fake flowers, cutlery and keyboards.




The second stage is represented by layers of Suzani textiles and needlepoint images of earthy connections: a bowl of fruit and home.




At stage three we see a shift. The chair is composed of layers of heavy white fabrics and Arabic letters begin to appear as in embroidered gold thread.




By now, the shift is clear. An embroidered Sufi text appears alongside a face.




The core of the fifth chair features an embroidered Burj Khalifa on top of an Ottoman prince’s coat. The fine, gold thread of the embroidery shines with vanity but the remainder of the chair is exposed, revealing the iron structure of Nochi’s design.




Stage six features more exposed iron with embroidered birds on a dilapidated Suzani fabric.




At the seventh and final stage, the chair is covered in a simple, natural white fibre representing a harmonious unity with God.


24The collection as displayed at the Contemporary Art Platform (CAP) stand at the purpose-built Design Days Dubai exhibition space.


25The collection as displayed at the Contemporary Art Platform (CAP) stand at the purpose-built Design Days Dubai exhibition space.



In kingdom of the heart, seven stages there are:
That seeker of the Truth must go, through them all.
The first stage is to seek and yearn,
With hardship and pain, he may earn.
Faith is the heart’s second stage,
Its essence is eternal knowledge.
The third stage is that of Love.
One with existence the seeker becomes.
In this stage, a witness of Truth he becomes.
The fifth stage is that of Unity,
Brilliant as the sun the particle will be.
The sixth stage is that of Ecstasy
Full of Wonder the seeker will be.
The seventh stage is Annihilation and poverty,
God will manifest is all to you.
In eternal peace thy heart shall live,
When the seventh stage, thy home is reached.

–    Hazrat Shah Maghsoud Sadegh, The Light of Salvation.

About Bokja:

Bokja is a design studio that produces furniture and we create artistic installations.Bokja aims to blur the line between art and design, and to add a touch of bold color and texture to any interior.

The talents behind the vision of Bokja are Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri. Hoda always had a passion for ancient tapestries and textiles, and Maria for antique furniture. The two joined forces in 2000 and chose a highly evocative name for their company: Bokja, an old Turkish word for the embellished velvet wrapping containing the traditional hand embroidered dowry of a bride. Baroudi and Hibri source furniture designs from the 50s, 60s and 70s, unearthed in Beirut’s flea-markets and antique dealerships, and then cover them with exuberant tapestries and textiles from the Levant and the legendary Silk Road countries of Central Asia.Combining ancient culture with repurposed modern design, Bokja is creating one-of-a-kind pieces that offer an explosion of colour, pattern and a richly textured sense of history.

About Wyessem Nochi:

Wyssem Nochi holds an MA from the Architectural Association in London and a BA from the New School of Social Research – Parsons School of Design in New York.
He has taught architecture and design at the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University,where he introduced product design to its curriculum.
He has produced works in architecture and urban design and has developed numerous products in limited batch editions and on-offs. He has earned a number of awards and has shown works in Lebanon and abroad. He recently founded ON/OFF a design stage in downtown Beirut.

All images are copy righted to wyssem nochi and bokja design.

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