Studio Diaries / 200Grs.
Pascal and Rana report from their Beirut studio.
As the first in our new strand, Studio Diaries, we are very happy to introduce Rana Haddad and Pascal Hachem, co-founders of design studio 200Grs. Based in Beirut, their one-off and limited edition work is inspired by the city and by the artisanal skills and creative imagination, abundant there, which have fuelled the rise of Lebanese design. This summer Beirut was torn apart by the devastating bomb blast in the port area in early August. Here we find out how it has shaped their lives and work.
Rana and Pascal: We would like to share with you our ‘Dust In The Wind’ project. We did it in response to an open call launched by House Of Today (HOT) last July to creatively re-interpret soap design. The idea for “The Soap Project” came from curator Anne-France Berthelon, in collaboration with vegetable soap makers Senteurs d’Orient (who donated the raw materials), and was devised to support Lebanese designers during the pandemic.
We had a month to deliver the project, and then the August 4th explosion happened. We decided to reflect on the blast in our soap project by using fragments of broken glass in our design – producing a film and a poem.
‘dust in the wind’
you set the tools
You are ready to embark in a ritual
You lay the tools
you get the pieces
You measure the pieces,
you make an inventory
you prepare the ground
the fit has to be perfect
you draw an outline
you scrap the surface you start carving slowly
flushed it will be
you have to insure the perfect incision,
You blow softly to see better
you dust, you brush, for a better measure
once in place, it is placed for eternity
you just secured the perfect inlay
you preserve what was taken away from the body
the scar has to last, preserved and embraced, protected and purified by the softness that is no longer
the scar impregnated each body
it is safely kept, and you are forever wounded
After the apocalyptic blast a piece of us had died.
When we went down to the most affected areas from the blast, we were struck by the most vulnerable left-behind objects – eyeglasses – a very fragile yet indispensable everyday element. They were scattered everywhere: on the pavement, between the glass debris, in a building, in the middle of the street. We instinctively started collecting them, writing down the location, the time, and a description of the site, stories of buildings, and of the imagined owner of each spectacle. A collective of an everyday shattered practice.
It took us a while to get back to these findings. However, as hard as this could be, we believe that the work needs to be shared and to become public, to make sure that it will be there to remind the world of the 4th of August. A date not to be forgotten.
‘Debris of Text and Eyeglasses’, 2020
200Grs. – deals with notions of scale and genuineness in order to produce unique pieces serving a multitude of miscellaneous functions.