House of Today bares all for Christmas event

BEIRUT: The House of Today collaborative design platform at Zaitunay Bay’s Le Yacht Club is exactly what you might expect from an art exhibition at such a location: glamorous and unique.

The Daily Star got a sneak preview of the exhibition, which is entitled “Naked: Beyond the Social Mask” and runs from Dec. 16 until Jan. 17, 2015. The artists adopted the theme of nudity and interpreted it in a number of artistic ways, leading to beautiful and powerful objets d’arts, although at times the items are overtly provocative.

Past a stand of skillfully carved wooden and marble incense holders is a wall with various peeling wallpapers. The lightly colored papers indicate a shedding of skin or a softly concealed identity, as if it to say that someone’s exterior manner may be shy or calm, but to see the true being you must look underneath.

There are also a series of goods for sale, such as bed sheets, pillow covers, soap box covers and more.

Tala Hajjar has branded a series of relatively large key chains based on subtle variations of five of the seven deadly sins: pride, lust, wrath, greed and sloth.

The most provocative of all the items, however, is a tissue-box cover designed by Gilles Khoury and Cynthia Merhej. The cover is all white with words, available in different colors, that read “Protège Moi” (protect me). The side of the box cover shows an outline of a woman’s opened legs. Rested in the middle is a blooming flower, signifying that this is where life begins.

Tamara Barrage’s “Second Skin” involves resin vases redecorated with things like leather and metal flakes. Her exhibit reads, “We are all born naked. When naked we are equals: equally vulnerable, equally exposed, equally weak but we do not allow nakedness to define us.”

Barrage told The Daily Star that her first thought when told about the exhibition’s theme was about concealing nakedness. “I decorated each in a different way with my own materials,” she said. “I knew from the beginning I never wanted to use metal or wood.” She said that we wear clothes not just to dress but to conceal and use our clothing as shields – something that comes through in her artwork.

One of the more modern pieces is done by Karim Chaya. His art is simple but effective: a golden-painted skeleton hides behind the backside of a full-size mirror, peeking out from behind.

Najla El Zein designed a few hairbrushes, which, although not usable in the practical sense, are memorable all the same. One sprouts long strands of wheat and another is stuck with golden pins.

There are also many chairs, tables, clothes hangers and other furniture designs that are all elegant one-offs, perfect for Christmas shoppers still looking for that something special. They stand out with their creative designs and textures and would certainly add a bit of life to any living room.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 17, 2014, on page 2.




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