A labour of love
Identity|June 2021
The House of Today platform has supported emerging design talent and students in Lebanon for nearly a decade. Today, in the face of ongoing challenges, their efforts remain as solid as ever.
AIDAN IMANOVA

“At the beginning of everyone’s career, there is always a wish for someone who would hold your hand and guide you, and I think I am that person for [up-and-coming designers in Lebanon],” begins Cherine Magrabi Tayeb, founder and chairwoman of non-profit design platform House of Today. Since 2012, House of Today has been dedicated to the enrichment of Lebanon’s design culture and, more prominently, in nurturing and growing emerging Lebanese designers – as well as alleviating potential difficulties faced by design students in the country.

“A big part of what we do is mentoring designers, so, no matter where they are in their career path or academic path, we guide them and work very closely with them to develop their talents, seek funds for them or introduce them to the [local] design community as well as galleries and collectors,” Tayeb continues. “When I first started, there were a lot of designers who, when you spoke to them, were either dropping out of design, couldn’t see where their career was going or were uncertain whether Lebanon or the world at the time was ready to acknowledge their work. Since then, a lot has changed. We are now seeing [increasingly] more students entering the design field, and we just want to try to grow these communities and their talents and shed light on them.”

“We had the chance to work closely with Cherine and have fruitful discussions together on how to improve the local design scene and how it could have a larger international reach,” say David/ Nicolas, the Lebanese duo, who are today represented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery. “What is great with House of Today is that it pushes you out of your comfort zone and stimulates your mind.”

Tayeb recounts her earliest encounters with the Lebanese duo, who met her during their early design careers. “I gave them their very first commission,” she recalls, moving to another room in her apartment to indicate a gorgeous cabinet that is unmistakably a David/Nicolas piece. “This was in 2014 and it says ‘one of one’,” she laughs. “You can see all their details. Their aesthetic is still intact. They are now shining among the top designers of the world.”

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