Le Lab, a contemporary and collectible design gallery founded by Egyptian art and design collector Rasheed Kamel opened its doors to the public at Walk of Cairo, in the 6th October.
With his deep understanding of the past, and aspirations for the future of the Egyptian and regional art and design scene, Kamel’s vision for Le Lab is an ambitious one; to re-explore the way in which collectible design is interpreted in our region today. A movement questioning the boundaries created between art, design and architecture. At Le Lab contemporary and collectible design is a language; it tells a story of our historic past, tales of major societal events and the way in which they were perceived. It is a means to understanding our common humanity, allowing us to ask questions of our present and plan for our future.
Le Lab is a place to experiment, discover and explore the grey areas found today in our quest to identify and differentiate between the three fields of art, design and architecture. Le Lab’s multi-disciplinary approach, collaborating with some of the region’s greatest and brightest artists, designers, craftsmen and architects promises to challenge our understanding of the contemporary design scene both locally and regionally, promoting an enriching exchange of ideas and influences.
The gallery showcases works by emerging and established designers from across the Middle East, with a vision to foster a new appreciation for one-of-a-kind, limited-edition design pieces in Egypt. The gallery opened its physical space in Cairo with a solo exhibition of works by renowned Lebanese designer Georges Mohasseb, co-founder of Beirut-based design studio, Studio Manda.
The exhibition, titled “Intermission,” highlights various aspects of Mohasseb’s creative process with a particular focus on the diversity of natural materials that he incorporates into his designs. The show looks specifically at how each of Mohasseb’s pieces are unique creations that offer a united diversity of materials as well as a multifaceted expression through their form and function.
The idea was born during a conversation after a play Georges had seen while in paris. During the Intermission, Georges had the time to reflect and pause looking around observing people, the actors on stage, the lights, the sounds, the fabrics, the scent, etc. Georges’s mind was enjoying the relationship between the reality and the play and how it can be translated in creating a conversation between us and Objects of different functionality. Before the second act was about the start, it became clear that intermission “entre acte” in French is the title of Georges’s upcoming solo show.
The design objects featured in Intermission include Mohasseb’s popular Marguerite coffee table, a riveting sculptural object made of 950 long stemmed meticulously carved flowers in solid brass that have been brought together to create a table in the form of a bouquet. While the table is a static object, the movement from its curvaceous lines and dozens of flowers endows it with a dynamic energy.
Other pieces shown include Galet bench, which was made from the contrasting materials of solid laminated American walnut and hand-carved solid marble; works from the I-beam collection, an experimental group of objects inspired by a building’s metal structure. Made of cast coloured resin, each piece basks in its transparent glow from light that filters through the material. Also displayed will be Mohasseb’s Baleine Lounge Chair. Inspired by the retro design of the 1960s, the chair revisits the style of the era by instead laminating multiple layers of wood. Also included is the Pepple Dining table, a sculptural object made of Solid travertine marble highlighting the natural vains making it a unique object. In each piece displayed, every material used plays a major role in the creation of a united expression that defines each object.