Paola started her own studio after graduating with honors from L'Academie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts with a Product Design Bachelor. In parallel, she worked as a product designer at PS Lab before deciding to focus solely on her projects.
Her work was exhibited during Beirut Design Week 2016 and 2017 as well as Beirut Design Fair’s first edition in 2017. She also exhibited in Dubai Design Week 2016, Milan Design Week 2018 and in Amsterdam in 2016. Her first Gallery show was for Joy Mardini Design Gallery, for whom she developed her first furniture collection in March 2018.
Paola was also selected by Maison&Objet for their Rising Talent Awards that will be held in September 2018.
In her own words, she likes to think of her work as “little stories from different times. I see it as a selfless, ongoing collaboration with the world as I am never the recipient of the intention in my projects.”
There’s always the purpose of bringing a little something to the world, always trying to do a little good: whether it is environmental, social or simply something for the soul.
Being very passionate about research and experimentation, she believes in constant innovation and simplicity.
How and why did you choose to become a designer?
I would say it always felt natural to me that I would end up in a field that required creativeness, pragmatism and (a lot of) curiosity. I first started my studies in interior architecture where Marc Dibeh thought me in an introduction to design course. He and the rest of a jury gave me a full grade on a project he had challenged me on, saying it could never work. In turn, he proved himself to also be stubborn and convinced me to change paths into product design and it turned out to be the best decision I’ve taken so far.
We noticed that your projects revolve around stories mostly inspired from your personal surroundings how does this help shape your aesthetic?
Being sensitive to my surroundings and trusting my instincts makes it easier for me to find inspiration everywhere.
Design should be sincere and I think there’s nothing more honest than something you’ve felt, lived, saw and experienced.
I have found that expressing all that through my work has always taken me to unexpected places.
As a young designer in today’s world what are the main challenges that you face?
Being called a “young designer”.
With M&O on the horizon, in what new direction do you feel your studio is heading?
I keep an open mind on where my projects take me through experimentations with various materials and ranging subject matters. I guess I’ll just have to feel it out as I go as I always do.
We found what you did with Haptic Tableware to be very interesting, do you plan on approaching more projects for people with needs?
A blind man struggling with his eating utensils or even the ocean filled with trash are the result of a “design bug” somewhere down the line of creation. Being an eternal optimist, I can only perceive this as call for innovation. I might not succeed at making the world a better place but I’d rather say I tried.
How was joining forces with Hala Matta in Dialogues like? And how has your individual approach towards the treatment of materials influenced your creative process?
It was interesting to see the difference in treatment of a subject by two people who come from completely different backgrounds.
Personally, it was an interesting challenge filling the gap between having an idea or a vision and technically bringing it to life using certain materials or shapes that haven’t been conventionally used like that.
I showed three prototypes: a clothes hanger, a mirror and a partition. They were inspired by the dialogues that occur while getting dressed or undressed in the company of someone else in the room.
The whole treatment of materials was based on transparency, with the purpose of creating a game of revealing and hiding.