David/Nicholas Inspirational Industrial Designers

Nélida Nassar   02.12.2016

David Raffoul and Nicolas Mousallem aka David/Nicholas a pair that have elected to live and work in Beirut, are the designers of a vast range of creative projects, from interior to industrial design. Their work has been commissioned and exhibited in many venues in Lebanon, Dubai, London, Milan, Paris and Portugal. Everything they do is in collaboration with each other, and their clients including Nilufar Gallery, Art Factum Gallery, Vista Allegre, Collection Particuliere, and others. In this interview, the lovely duo talk to art and culture today about working and collaborating together, and the various sources of their inspiration.

NN: Are you still a team of two? How are the responsibilities of running your design studio delineated?
DR & NM: Yes, we are still a team of two, an additional person will join us once the new studio space is ready. For the moment, the responsibilities are just intuitive we don’t have a big structure and it doesn’t require any kind of management.
Nelida Nassar: What is your first design related memory?
David Raffoul: It was probably the swatch watches.
Nicolas Mousallem: It was more street related, and it was informed from the different elements of skateparks.

NN: You work together but live apart. What do you like and dislike about being in each other’s company so many hours a day?
DR & NM: Well, we like the fact that we live apart! At least there is some time off or else we would be working non stop. We don’t believe there is something that we dislike, we are very close friends and even when we are not working we hang out. As long as we are both very honest with each-other we enjoy each other’s company.

NN: Tell us one interesting fact about yourselves?
DR & NM: We are very different people, even our way of creating is different, and if we ever work alone the products we might design would have nothing
to do with what we create nowadays as a duo. Our objects are the perfect
equilibrium between our two various personalities.

NN: Are you still a team of two? How are the responsibilities of running your design studio delineated?
DR & NM: Yes, we are still a team of two, an additional person will join us once the new studio space is ready. For the moment, the responsibilities are just intuitive we don’t have a big structure and it doesn’t require any kind of management.

NN: Can you recommend a book or movie that inspires you?
DR: James Bond, I always liked the ‘feeling of perfection until the final moment.’
NM: A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking. In my previous life, I was supposed to become a physicist; the passion is still there.

NN: You are about to move to a new location your first formal office away from your respective homes. How does it feel? Are you doing anything to celebrate this event?
DR & NM: We are so happy, you can’t imagine how long we have been waiting for this moment. Having a permanent space is like building a new episode where we can gather under the same roof all our collaborative projects and material and conducting of our meeting. It is also a space where we will grow and bring a team together. We will not celebrate with a specific event but more by inviting people from time to time to share a cake!

NN: In 5 short years you have been very prolific designing a 12 piece collection Loulou/Hoda that include Coat Hanger, Rocking Chair, Carpet, Carafe, Tretaux Table for Art Factum, Artichoke of Agresti, Chaise Maurice and Dualita Dining Chairs for Nilufar Gallery, Digital Love and Orquestra plates for Vista Alegre, Guillotine High Chair, Explorer side tables, Gold Digger, Bar Michele and door handles as well as others what is the design relationship between all these pieces?
DR & NM: Mix of materials – Details – Evolution

NN: What project are you most proud of to date? and why?
DR & NM: Loulou/Hoda is a personal project in which we tried to express our vision towards our Lebanese tradition. It was triggered after reading Amine Maalouf’s book Les identités meurtrières and it ended with a rediscovery of our grand mothers’ homes contents where we understood, and decoded some of the Lebanese identity’s DNA.

NN: What’s your favorite kind of project to work on? Artistic, personal or commercial?
DR & NM: We believe each project has its own unicity and challenges. The commercial ones have the most impact as they target thousands of people but you don’t have control over how they’re distributed and marketed. The Gallery work is more humane as you had become acquainted with the person buying the piece, hence there’s already some kind of connection. But nothing is greater than traveling to an unknown city and observing a guest in a restaurant eating on the porcelain set you have designed, it gives you goosebumps!

NN: What is your work methodology? Do you design only when a piece is commissioned from you? Does the client or gallery finance the prototype?
DR & NM: We mostly create when we have a brief. We also often initiate our own briefs and generate few pieces. But of course whenever an idea pops up, we draw it and keep it until we can develop it.

NN: You straddle different design disciplines industrial design (product and furniture) and interior design do you see yourselves venturing into other areas?
DR & NM: We are redesigning a Porsche today, a 911 targa 1992, from inside/out. Nothing can stop us from exploring new spheres. We would get bored if we didn’t challenge ourselves.

NN: What are you working on now and what would you like to have achieved in the next 12 months?
DR & NM: We have various projects, in industrial design, gallery presentations and even some new commissions. We are also working on a project for a restaurant where we will design all the components, from the interior design to the cutlery, a complete scheme that will represent our vision and aesthetics.

NN: Five things, that come to your mind at the inception of a project?
DR & NM: Function – Impact – Materials – Innovation – Appeal

NN: What does design mean to you?
DR & NM: Design is a state of mind.

http://www.davidandnicolas.com
https://www.facebook.com/davidandnicolas/

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