Carla Baz: The Embodiment of Pure Positive Energy
“We’re all wired to find love.
& when we meet someone who radiates it,
we naturally crave their company.”
Not only she is one hell of a designer, and the winner of the Boghossian Foundation 2013 Prize, Carla Baz is a genuine beautiful soul as well. She radiated pure positive energy, from the very first moment I called her to schedule an interview.
The meeting ended up being a chat about our career tracks and all the things we have in common. I honestly felt like I was looking at a long lost piece of my brain, right there sitting in front of me… Only with the most gorgeous smile (Go home, Julia Roberts).
Carla talked about her passion to involve talented Lebanese artisans in producing her art pieces, how design can and must be incorporated into the public’s daily lives, her yearning to give back to the community, in addition to her future plans.
Without further adieu, get to know Carla Baz a little more here:
Tell us more about you! Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Beirut until university where I moved to Paris.
There, I completed my BA in Interior/Furniture Design at the ESAG Penninghen School, before obtaining my master in Product Design for the Luxury Industry from the University of the Arts and Design Lausanne (ECAL). Upon graduating, I decided to move to London, seeking for diverse professional experiences.
Over the course of 3 years, I worked for the iconic British brands Burberry and Vivienne Westwood, before joining the product design depart of Zaha Hadid Architects, where I could explore and develop different projects ranging from furniture to lighting and even jewelry or shoes.
This diversity of experiences truly broadened my horizons and definitely enriched my artistic persona.
How did you decide you want to be a designer? Where did you study design?
Ever since I was a child, I used to draw and sketch, I used to spend hours with my papers and colouring pencils drawing things, so it has always been a way for me to materialise ideas in my head. When I started growing up, I wanted to push these drawings further, and started trying to bring these drawings to life and creating mock-ups of them. At the time, I never knew that this could very well become a career. I just liked the idea of seeing a drawing become a live object and experimenting ways of realising it.
When I enrolled for my BA as an Interior architect, our two main subjects where spacial design and furniture design. It was only a matter of time before I realised that it was the latter that inspired me most, and it fit perfectly with my whole “drawing becomes a product” idea.
To this day I never start a project without sketching. It’s my way of connecting with my work.
Was your family supportive?
My family has always been very supportive of my choices and I am truly lucky to have such a great support system at home.
What was the first design you ever sold?
The first design I ever sold was a commissioned mirror sculpture for a dining room in a very beautiful Beiruti apartment. I was very nervous because it was the first client and project under my own brand, but it turned out to be a great experience, and they were very pleased with the final outcome.
Which materials do you like to use the most? Why?
It is my philosophy to only work with rough and noble materials so I mainly work with glass, metal and solid wood. Since I am collaborating with craftsmen I have an immense respect for their work and their relationship with their craft. It is almost a sacred relationship and within this respect for your materials, truly poetic pieces are born. I have a tremendous admiration for the effort put in developing new materials, but personally, I believe that the most timeless pieces are always those who carry a know-how, and I prefer provoking new ways of utilizing old techniques rather than working with new materials. That way my furniture has a story to tell.
Do you manufacture your products in Lebanon?
We have impeccable artisans in Lebanon, and it is a true privilege and honor to be able to contribute ever so slightly to reviving their craft. I am proud to certify that it was all 100% made in Lebanon.
What is “timeless” when it comes to design, in your opinion?
Anything that doesn’t pertain to a ‘trend’. Timeless design is more a pragmatic and beautiful solution to specific need. And of course, anything that triggers emotion whether it is through the use of a specific material, process or shape.
I think the biggest challenge we face as designers is that we have to learn to evolve with our time and especially we have to learn to deal with the notion of “temporality”. It is obvious that the world is on the brick of a change and it is noticeable that people are trying within this ocean of globalization to return to some roots. I try to keep my furniture rooted in the thought to their process and it can only be accomplished by respecting our heritage while pushing it further.
Who is your all time favourite designer?
This is such a difficult question because I have so many! But if I was to choose just one, then it would have to be Achille Castiglioni.
Castiglioni maintained his pragmatic and cost efficient approach that he developed early in his career: “Start from scratch. Stick to common sense. Know your goals and means”. He had a desire to create objects that solved problems in an efficient utilitarian way whilst maintaining elegance.
Where can we find your creations?
– Espace M in horsh Tabet
– Espace Jacques Ouaiss in Tabaris
– O’de Rose Dubai
Where would you like to take your brand next?
I would love to export my work overseas, and I have already participated in international fairs. So hopefully things will continue in this direction.
The sights that inspire me are nature’s sights.
When I’m not working, I usually like to go outdoors, hiking, horseback riding, spend a day by the sea. (hobbies, interests…)
The best thing about my job is I can work from anywhere!
The last thing I bought for myself and loved was a pair of Shwood sunglasses.
And the thing I’m eying next is a a red leather handbag.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to is Thailand.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home is actually a souvenir my best friend brought me back from Mexico: a porcelain handcrafted “Calavera” (a flower painted skull) that I have on my desk at work.
My favourite cuisine is Italian!
My dream dinner guest is Salvador dali.
In my fridge, you’ll always find juice.
An object I would never part with is my phone :S
To me, ‘ugliness’ is the absence of taste.
And ‘beauty’ would be defined by sensibility, intellect and imagination.