We are happy to share our conversation with Carlo Massed, designer based in Beirut, and one of the winners of Maison&Objet Rising Talent Award 2018.
Can you please tell us about your professional background?
All my work has been focused on the interrelationship between art and design. I translate something social or political into my work. For instance, I developed a series of work for Carwan Gallery based on women’s right. The work I showed in Abu Dhabi refers to shaping cities. I try to raise questions regarding different aspects in life. I find my personal expression between art and design.
What did you exhibit at Maison & Objet?
I exhibited a series of architectural objects made of carrara marble. They are all hand made and open to use in different ways on the table. I took the references from architecture and architectural details. Besides this, I exhibited a chair I worked on with blind people. I wanted to collaborate with an association in Beirut supporting blind people. This is the first piece from our ongoing project. The interaction with the people I worked with in this object was very unique. We communicated via WhatsApp video call as they can control their smart phones with audio commands. It was a great experience. In the first prototype there were many missing points as these people are used to do structural works. This design project was something new to them. The way of making and also the material such as steel were all first time experiences. Also new to me …
What was the main difference between working with people who can see and who can’t?
First of all you don't have the same finishing. This creates another beauty. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for them to work on something that they can’t see. They were really lovely people and I could see that they enjoyed working on something new a lot. They were very receptive.
What is the Lebanese touch in design from your perspective?
Our ancestors were people focused on trading. Even their language was based on trading. We gathered information from the whole world. I would say we merged all this information and created our own thing. That's why we have a lot of different inspirations, sources, ways of making, etc. In this sense, we don't have a well-defined, clear identity in design. The authenticity of the people is the most valuable thing in Lebanon.
You have already mentioned that your work is going between art and design. How do you want to continue with your career?
Since we produce ourselves, it is possible to do it anywhere in the world. I think the best way to produce as an independent designer is to do it in small quantities and have the direct contact to the clients. If you can manage both the production and the communication with the clients, it is the best.
What is exciting for you in the design discussion nowadays?
I believe that design should transmit a strong message. We are surrounded with a lot of things. With very few design pieces you can create an emotional connection. For me this is crucial. The emotional value of the piece is the core criteria for me. Besides this, I avoid to work with plastic. I do believe that a project should have a life span and it should leave no traces when it comes to an end. Craftsmanship is something that I want to continue to focus on to create unique and emotional pieces.