“The design scene in Beirut has changed considerably since 2011, the first year Carwan opened. Six years ago, there were very few independent designers, and we were the only gallery in the city showcasing contemporary design. But since then, things have evolved at an incredible speed; the design scene has bloomed and, most importantly, collectors and locals have invested in such a reality and have learnt with great interest”, analyses Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte, co-founder of the pioneering Carwan Gallery together with Pascale Wakim. Carwan, the transliteration of an Arabic term, refers to the caravanserai where travelling caravans pause for a rest – desert enclaves of culture, tradition, and the trading of objects from near and far. Highlighting Lebanese creativity and the skill of Middle Eastern craftsmen in initiating unexpected encounters has always been a core concern and has formed the identity of the gallery since its inception. With Artifacts by 200 Grs. on show at its new exhibition space in the D-Beirut building (an ex-industrial space in Karantina, in the former harbour area), Carwan is staying true to its mission of internationalising design in and of the Middle East while, for the first time, addressing a wider audience with smaller and more affordable limited-edition pieces that are as exclusive and daring as the bigger ones the gallery is known for. Respect. In partnership with Atibaia – a boutique winery located in the mountains overlooking Batroun –Bellavance-Lecompte and Wakim have commissioned Beirut-based design studio 200 Grs. to re-invent the vessels that contain Atibaia’s latest vintage. Rana Haddad, architect and assistant professor at the American University of Beirut, and Pascal Hachem, designer and ex-artistic director of PSLab, who established 200 Grs. in 2013 “out of the idea of using timber off-cuts to produce a series of objects that deal with notions of scale and genuineness as well as human/machine collaboration”, have thus crafted a bespoke collection of simple, architectural, oak sculptures to adorn Atibaia’s wines. By exploring an unexpected functionality of the wine bottle, these artefacts are a perfect example of 200 Grs.’s ethics: to create “unique pieces serving a multitude of miscellaneous functions”.

Artifacts by 200 Grs. can be seen at Carwan Gallery in Beirut, Lebanon, until 15 January 2017.