Alya Tannous is a Lebanese designer specializing in hand blown glass and ceramics.
Can you recall how or why you became a designer and why did you chose glass/ceramics as your primary material?
My mother is an Interior Designer. She is the one who started to work with glass and mainly colored blown
handmade glass. We started going together to Egypt and creating new shapes and colors. At the beginning
it was for fun then I decided to come back to Beirut and open my own showroom/shop in Art de la Table in
- I started going to Cairo often and designed a new more modern Collection.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of working with glass?
Working with glass is an amazing experience of creativity and precision. I just got back from London where
I did an intense workshop of 3 days at Michael Ruth’ s Atelier. And there I really learnt about the glass itself,
the material and the way it can be used. The glass industry is changing. You always need to renew the designs
for the clients. There is a big challenge in the process of creation. My glasses are very delicate and fragile. The
rewarding part is when you have an idea in mind and you start the work and after many trial and different
people working on the same glass you get the result that you imagined originally, and sometimes even better!
Egypt has a rich tradition of glass blowing, can you please talk a little bit about your relationship to this craft and the country in general.
My father worked in Cairo and so I did my last College years there which I adored. There is something
really special and touching about this crazy city. It is quite challenging to work in Egypt so I really need to
follow up the work closely. I go there every 2-3 months. If not, after making 100 glasses of the same original
sample sometimes it can change shapes, colors, dimensions. That s why the follow up is very important to
keep the right proportions as everything is handmade. And that s what s beautiful about the glasses, their
Your practice stands on the crossroads of Cairo, Europe and Beirut, what do you draw from these in individual locations?
I lived most of my life in Paris where I worked in Fashion at Christian Lacroix Haute Couture then in PR
Events with Pia de Brantes. But I have to say that Beirut has a special place in my heart and this is where I
decided to live and create my own Company Interiors by Alya Tannous. It is such an inspiring City with an
amazing community of talented Designers.
Would you consider diversifying your practice with other materials and mediums?
I have been working also with copper I designed stands in copper in different shapes and sizes. I sell them in
Beirut at Over The Counter in Achrafiyeh. Also I just introduced a new material of gold in my glasses.
Your studio has already gained commercial recognition in Beirut, what would be your dream project to work on in the future?
One of my dream project would be to be able one day to open my own factory of glass in Lebanon with the
How do you find the right balance between timeless aesthetics and contemporary trends?
We don’t create anything new. Everything is already made. We reformulate. There is a balance. Even with the
new materials, it s just a way of putting things together. You have to move with it with time.
What was the best advice that you have ever received?
The best advice? To be aware. Be aware of nature. Be aware of everything.