Meet Carla Baz, one of Maison et Objet Lebanese Rising Talents. Half-French, half-Lebanese, Carla Baz studied in France at ESAG Penninghen and ECAL Lausanne before working in London where she completed her training by joining Zaha Hadid Architects. Moved by the elegant lines of her furniture, reminiscent of her stint in fashion working at Burberry and Vivienne Westwood, the Boghossian Foundation presented her with their Design Prize in 2013. Working with some of Lebanon’s most experienced artisans, Baz’s furniture reveals the beauty of fine materials, as exemplified by her Hay bench, handcrafted from solid oak and incorporating traditional cane weaving techniques. More recently, Bonadea has produced her Borgia candelabra, made from solid brass, hand-brushed and hand-polished.
What do you think is so special about Lebanese crafts?
Craftsmen are the heart of our culture, probably because the Levant has long been known for its elaborate expertise. Using glassblowing, pottery, woodwork, weaving or embroidery, Lebanese artisans were able to sell attractive products at the largest ports of the Mediterranean. By the 20th century, this versatility was expressed through a wide variety of talents.
Among the designers you have met, is there one in particular that left a strong impression?
My experience with Zaha Hadid was the most stimulating, because she forced me out of my comfort zone, pushing me to broaden my horizons and my understanding of things. That being said, my time at ECAL is still a great help today. Working with so many designers on industrial projects was a real challenge, because it gave us a chance to experience a real-life work environment and taught us the importance of adjusting our creativity. I really enjoyed the time I spent at the school, especially when I was working with Pierre Charpin, a man I deeply admire and respect.
How much does your French side influence you?
I am a pure product of French education. I am very much influenced by French aesthetics and my whole approach consists of exploring ways to find connections between Lebanese crafts and the decorative arts. I am very fond of artisanal techniques, but the final product and the visual result remain a fundamental part of my creative process.
Carla Baz is one of six designers awarded Maison et Objet’s prestigious Rising Talent Award and will exhibit their work in Paris this September at Maison&Objet 2018.