Sep 01, 2011
Seeing Beauty in the Broken
The ability to see the potential for life and beauty in the broken is an amazing life skill. This vision is what designers channel when they approach a new project or a renovation. While at the NYIGF the other week checking out color and furnishing trends, I was introduced to 2b design, a remarkable company that takes this vision a step further, integrating a social mission into all that they do. For their beyt line, the design duo (French designer Benedicte de Blavous Moubarak and her husband Raja Moubarak) salvages and reclaims architectural elements from abandoned or destroyed homes. From there, gorgeous products are crafted by disadvantaged and marginalized persons (those with physical or mental disabilities, and those with limited access to the job market) who are given training and employment opportunities. 2b design's mission is to "restore the unseen beauty of the broken," in people, heritage the environment, etc. The French and Middle Eastern couple also have a committment to building cultural bridges: They make it a point to hire staff from diverse religious groups that have, in the past, fought against each other. (Beyt means home in Arabic!)
Lamps made from vintage Suzani fabric at the NYIGFEvery material in the products have a past life. Lampshades and pillows are former Indian wedding saris, or old Suzanis and other fabrics from Uzbekistan; the lamp bases are salvaged Juniper wood or wrought iron. Every items is both saving gorgeous historic architecture from being tossed into a landfill and every item helps to restore the dignity and self worth of the disadvantaged workers. Simply fabulous! Which is your favorite?!