While Lebanon seems to be undergoing an unprecedented design boom, most new designers are generally creating modern pieces that reflect the country’s contemporary know-how.
Very few are looking to Lebanon’s past and reinterpreting it for the present day. Enter Mawsam, whose distinctive pieces provide a nostalgic nod to the past, but with a refined contemporary edge.
Mawsam’s handcrafted objects include a cake plate, cheese platter, rolling pin and more, all made by Lebanese artisans using noble materials like wood and gold leaf. The idea behind these products is to offer new items that are contemporary, yet linked to Lebanon’s history.
For its second collection, inspired by Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day and unveiled in February 2018, Mawsam has two star items, a hand mirror and a jewelry box. The jewelry box looks like a simple wooden box, but once you slide the cover off, you discover individual compartments with gold leaf, providing space to store a variety of jewels. The hand mirror, also made of wood, was created using the same mold used to prepare maamoul, the traditional Middle Eastern sweet served during Easter and on other festive occasions. So while one side has the actual mirror, the back showcases the intricate embossing that adorns that most ubiquitous of Lebanese sweets.
The initial collection, launched in December 2017, includes a pestle and mortar, the kitchen device traditionally used by Lebanese cooks to crush and grind garlic. This time around though, the mortar is adorned with golf leaf, while the pestle comes in rich hues of either blue or red. And the shape is sleek and elongated, modernist rather than old-fashioned. It’s a blast from the past and a peek at the future, all at once.