Beirut designer Richard Yasmine sees two forces pushing his work. The first is a desire to highlight contemporary social and philosophical issues, and the second is to do so in a distinctly personal way that honors his Lebanese heritage.
The result is a style that, in Yasmine’s words, "mixes craziness with sobriety and a dash of fantasy" and probes heavy topics like preparing for a possible afterlife while drawing from forms dating back to the Stone Age. The black-and-white-striped After Ago series, for example, is inspired by Memphis, Art Deco, and brutalist motifs as well as Yasmine’s feelings about his home city and its history.
Or take the all-white "The Cure" (Heavenly Pie(a)ces) series, which "is intended to help people struggling with perceived complexities of beauty and time," Yasmine says. "The chair’s backrest is reminiscent of a tombstone, which invokes a message of destiny and regeneration. The pendulum clock is a reminder to seize the moment."
Learn more about Yasmine's design ethos by reading the Q&A below.
Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I stimulate my imaginary world to try out emotional, creative ideas [that are] sometimes provocative but always minimal, bold, and straightforward.
What's the last thing you designed? A new chair minutes ago, which may sees the lights soon or will remain a memoir on my sketch book.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? I'm passionate about coffee. It feels so good for the brain and improves creativity.
How do you procrastinate? Procrastination is the thief of time, and for me time is so precious, we are not allowed to procrastinate.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? We as designers are already constantly constantly everyday objects and the future generations will keep on redesigning. This is the cycle of life.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Well, my fictional heroes are Tom and Jerry, but someone who gives without expecting something in return is a real life hero.
What skill would you most like to learn? If metaphorically, I can say "control my emotions."
What is your most treasured possession? Time.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? My paternal family was in the couture industry, therefore I was so attracted by shapes, colors, fabrics, and materials. The interior of the family house was filled with multiple objects and furniture from the '20s, and some art deco and vintage ones. My single hobby was drawing dresses and houses on any paper around...These were my very first memories and a solid base in the structure of my personality.
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Trends have a cyclical pattern, therefore contemporary trends are a reinterpretation of previous movements or an inspiration from various cultural heritage. For that reason I don’t despise any, noting that design must be forever timeless...
Finish this statement: All design should... Evoke a kind of emotional connection.
What's in your dream house? A large kitchen since im a good gourmet chef.
How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? Sooner or later we will go back to normal and the show must go on.
How can the design world be more inclusive? The world of "Design" is vast. In my opinion we will always find exclusive, inclusive and accessible design. It's a matter of choice.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? The appreciation of the whole process yet the respect of the journey behind each design object: starting from the concept, sketching, and prototyping until reaching the final outcome. Not to mention the many hours spent by highly anticipated craftsmanship on each object to see the light. A design object is an unwritten book.
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