If we only listened to mainstream media, we would know Beirut as a city full of bullet holes, terrorists and Syrian refugees – all of which are unfortunate realities in the densely populated capital of Lebanon, which borders both Israel and Syria.
But it is also home to some of the world’s most interesting artists, designers, movie-makers and other talented people. Bokja Design is one of them and they recently rocked Milan Design Week – one of the most important events for furniture and interiors designers – with a new product line called Migration Series.
We have never seen anything quite like Bokja Design’s work, which is probably exactly what piqued attracted so much attention in Italy last week.
Their fabric-wrapped tires used as part of a social protest against tire-burning, a common activity used during times of political unrest in the Middle East, has appeared on Green Prophet previously, but we haven’t said much about their interiors.
Combining vintage fabrics and motifs with a sort of contemporary gypsy design essence, Bokja designers inspire a tremendous nostalgia. At least, it seems this was the experience in Milan among both buyers and international press.
“The overwhelming reaction to our show was how poetic it was,” said Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri, founders of Bokja.
“We felt our story was well received in Milan. People connected with it and wanted to share their own personal migration stories as well! The experience was very moving and it felt rewarding to see our ideas translated into fabrics, embroideries and design.”
With the migration series, the pair sought to convey the spirit of nomadism caused by “war, economics, instability, ambition or love.”
“The need to move from one place to another is familiar to millions,” they explain in their design brief, a need they depict with absolutely zero inhibition of imagination.
They (very artfully and deliberately) mash together reclaimed fabrics and other materials that would never normally find a common home to create furniture, rugs, wallpaper and other uniquely Bokja interiors.
But the animated Migration Sofa definitely stole the show.
With a pile of rolled up rugs and bedding attached to its back, the way cyclists pack their bikes, or nomads pack their camel saddles, and a drawer that mimics a suitcase at its base, the couch appears to be ready for travel. Add some flaps to the side – like wings or a rudder – and the thing seems poised to take flight.
Worldwide designers are hitching on to 21st century nomadism, and small-life living, both of which are much more the norm than big houses and gold cars. But Bokja Design has taken the concept to new creative heights with this latest series heirloom pieces designed to stand and mirror the test of these crazy times.