Hackney designer Philippe Malouin worked with traditional craftsmen from Beirut to create a series of bowls and plinths by shaping wooden blocks made of many smaller, tessellating batons.
Commissioned by Carwan Gallery, his Extrusion project combines the techniques used to make decorative wooden inlays with those of a lathe-worker.
The constructed block would normally be sliced into thin layers and used to decorate boxes but Malouin freezes the traditional process at this point and hands it over to be turned on a lathe.
Here are some more details from Malouin:
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.
One specific craft interested me, which was intarsia making. Intarsia makers produce amazing wood-inlayed and patterned boxes. These inlays are used only for decorative purposes on the outside of the boxes. I was especially interested in the way in which a thin patterned sliver comes to life from a bigger ‘wooden sushi roll,’ which will be sliced into wafer-thin pieces in order to be inlayed on the exteriors of the wood boxes.
The geometric patterns were very beautiful, but it’s the ‘wood-sushi’ block itself that inspired me the most. I was also interested in using more than one craft, or more than one craftsman in order to realize the final piece. I was introduced to a local lathe-worker and the idea came together: I wanted the intarsia worker to create intricately patterned wood logs to then give to the lathe-worker, who would transform them into objects.
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