Phillipe Malouin Intarsoa Bowl

Phillipe Malouin was one of nine designers — along with Karen Chekerdjian, Khalid Shafar, Lindsey Adelman, Studio mischer’traxler, Nada Debs, Oeuffice, Paul Loebach, and Tamer Nakisci — who traveled to the Middle East late last year for a grand tour of artisan’s studios, each pairing up with a different craftsperson to produce a new twist on an old archetype or technique. What caught Malouin’s eye was the wood-inlay method called intarsia, in which pieces of various types of wood are cut and assembled into a jigsaw-puzzle like image or pattern that often has the illusion of depth. Rather than using the method in a conventional way, however — as a decorative add-on — he tried something a little bit different; here, he explains how he arrived at the final design for his Intarsia Bowl.

“Carwan Gallery was kind enough to invite me to visit Beirut last year. During my visit, I was taken around the city to visit the many inspiring landmarks, including the Oscar Niemeyer international fair (below). Construction stopped in 1975 at the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war and was never restarted. We also visited local craftsmen and manufacturers in order that we might produce the gallery’s next collection in Beirut.”