Internationally acclaimed designer, graduated in 1999 with a Master degree from the Scuola politecnica di design in Milan. Rona has started her career where she worked in different design consultancies in Milan and then moved to London where she worked in Isometrix lighting and design. Rona's professional experience in design and manufacturing motivated her to create products under her own label, Kukka Studio. The first collection was released in Milan during Salone del Mobile 2007 at Spazio Romeo Gigli, the following year she was approached by the British embassy in Milan to exhibit selected products at The Galleria d’Arte moderna in Milan, an exhibition curated by Sir Paul Smith and Moroso. Few years later kukka brand was founded under Rona’s direction and as head of design; their products are sold worldwide through over 50 retailers among them Conran, Paul Smith, La Rinascente, Selfridges, De Padova. The minimalist approach and “honest” design is recognised with Rona’s style. Rona's latest bespoke project, 'Project 34' in conjunction with Caesarstone which was unveiled, to great critical acclaim, at Tent London during LDF and then “Spectra”, in 2016 with Frame magazine during Milan Salone del Mobile. The studio, underpinned by creative stimulation, specialises in experimenting with materials, manufacturing methods and technology. In April 2017, Rona was invited by Fresh Paint Fair to create a seating area installation, spread across a large area within the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv. Commissioned by the British Council, Rona collaborated with Amorim to create the project 'Blocks' using cork. Rona is also a visiting lecturer and in summer 2016 Alexander Von Vegesack, founder and curator of Vitra museum, invited Rona to tutor a week long workshop at Boisbuchet. Rona is also the founder and presenter of Designers in the Middle.
Nada Debs is a Lebanese designer living and working in Beirut. Her work spans scale and discipline: from product and furniture design to one-off commissions across craft, art, fashion and interiors. What ties her work together is her ability to distil culture and craftsmanship to create pieces of emotional resonance. Nada grew up in Japan, studied design at Rhode Island School of Design in the United States and has spent significant periods of time living and travelling the world, finding connections between different cultures. There is something of each of her experiences in all of her work. In essence, she captures the power of the human hand to tell stories that touch the heart. She calls her approach: hand made, heart made.
Nada believes in the importance of human stories. She places value on connections - to places, to others and to our own identity within the wider world. She is fascinated by the role of the human hand to tell stories and to evoke a sense of belonging. She describes her belief in craft as a feeling that goes beyond geography, language and culture. Geometry is an important tool for Nada, representing complex philosophies with intricate, simple beauty. She uses materials to tell tactile stories, sometimes in pure and surprising forms, and sometimes with intriguing combinations and juxtapositions. What connects her work is a belief in the power of design to cross time and border and touch us on a primal level. She believes not just in form and function, but in feeling too.
Nada brings her philosophy to life in a number of ways. Her experience as a designer gives her the language to understand how things are made and how they can be made special. She has a hands on, human approach, understanding that good relationships and a collaborative attitude are the key to achieving good results. She brings passion to process; she combines ideas, skills and techniques together from her travels, to form a unique cultural exchange. Her mission is more than simply the nostalgic preservation of time-honoured traditions, it is to translate the traditional into something energetic and alive.
Taher Asad-Bakhtiari (b. 1982, Tehran) is a self-taught artist whose practice focuses on, but is not limited to, objects, textiles and experiences. After studying multimedia and management in Canada and Switzerland, Taher opened a creative agency in Tehran and later New York City. He has developed several bodies of work including "The Tribal Weave Project", a multi-tiered and ongoing reimagination of tribal artifacts, and "recovered barrels", a metaphorical conceptualization of crude oil containers. Taher lives in Tehran.
London born and educated, Suzanne Trocmé spent many years in New York and Paris and has written on the subjects of art, fashion, music, interiors and architecture for a variety of publications including The New York Times Magazine, Architectural Digest, House & Garden, The Telegraph, Interior Design (European Editor) and Wallpaper* (Editor-at-Large).
Apart from her contributions to print journalism, Trocmé began writing books following the birth of her first two sons and is the author of many publications which include Influential Interiors (Clarkson Potter), Retro Home (Rizzoli), Fabric (Mitchell Beazley), The New Moderns (Stewart, Tabori, Chang), Attention to Detail (Stewart, Tabori, Chang) and Cool Homes in Hot Places (HarperCollins).
Trocmé herself has received awards for her journalism and books including the American Fabric and Fiction Award, usually awarded for fiction, for her nonfiction work Influential Interiors. An expert in her chosen world of architecture and design, the author is often called upon to judge competitions. She has also presented radio programs in New York on WBAI and television in the UK with Granada, the BBC and Channel 4 television.
Trocmé in 2014 curated Middle East Revealed, a showcase of Middle Eastern contemporary design during London's Design Festival and a second elaborated exhibition in Milan in 2015 before developing the international and inaugural Dubai Design Week with the Art Dubai Group. In 2017 she co-curated the first Sub Saharan contemporary design exhibition Africa by Design to be held in Africa, which launched in Accra, Ghana on the date of their 60th independence. The exhibition will travel through Europe and the Middle East.
Trocmé lives in London with her four sons
Jerry Helling is the President and Creative Director of Bernhardt Design. Helling began his professional career at Bernhardt and recently celebrated his 25th anniversary with the company. In addition to setting the creative direction, he also manages the business side of the company. A featured speaker on design and business, Helling has addressed audiences for organizations in the United States and Europe including: the Swiss Cultural Center, New York Magazine, the French-American Foundation, the Italian Trade Commission, Kendall College, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, the International Interior Design Association, Fast Company Magazine, Detank, ID Magazine, the London Design Festival, Dwell and Interior Design Magazine. He also serves as curator and juror for a number of exhibitions and design competitions. Helling is one of the few Americans that is consistently named as one of the 100 most influential people on the global scene of fashion, art, architecture and design.
Industrial designer and design lecturer Rami Tareef, who hails from a Druze family line that has lived in Northern Isreal for over 500 years, graduated the department of Industrial Design at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Israel and the ZHDK, Zurich School of Arts. In 2014 he completed Master in Industrial Design at the Bezalel Academy.
Culture researcher which seeking to formulate a new and fresh dialogue of the fascinating intercultural encounter between east and west. He explores the limits of the current discourse between craft and design, new and old, traditions and technology towards progressivism. Experimental craftsman who works on preserving traditional crafts through design.
Born in 1980 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. As a business graduate of the American University in Dubai Khalid worked in marketing and communication for almost seven years. In 2005 Khalid completed a degree in Fine Arts in Interior Design and by the end of 2009 had decided to leave marketing and follow his passion for design. Khalid has studied and specialized in Furniture & Objects design, first at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, UK, then at the Centre for Fine Woodworking in Nelson, New Zealand. In 2011 Khalid opened his own studio in Dubai and in Nov 2012 Khalid inaugurated his first showcase space ‘KASA’. Khalid’s approach to design encompasses his personal expression of form, movement, emotion, and in particular, ‘the tale’ of objects. Among his notable international collaborations, Khalid collaborated with the Brazilian duo Campana Brothers on an installation for Abu Dhabi Art 2010. He recently collaborated with the historical French cabinetmaker Moissonnier, with the carpet industry leader Tai Ping, with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), with the fashion brand COS, and with the design brand Kartell on special limited edition releases.
French-born architect Annabel Karim Kassar has developed an international expertise in Architecture and Interior Design since founding her architectural practice in Paris in 1994. She now has offices in Beirut, Dubai and London. Annabel Karim Kassar has been credited with breathing new life into the Middle East’s most creative capital, Beirut. In the mid 90's, she was declared winner in a competition for the reconstruction of the city’s souks. She is also responsible for creating some of Beirut’s hottest venues, Momo at the Souks with Mourad Mazouz, Strange Fruit and Balima. She is currently working on completing major architectural projects in Lebanon and UAE among which Al Zorah pavilion, a landmark overlooking the mangrove of Ajman and winner of the German Design Council 2014 Architecture Iconic Awards, and a Golf club in Ajman. The ongoing interior projects range from hospitality to residential with : Almaz by Momo, restaurant in JBR, UAE and different interiors in Paris and London. Alongside her architectural practice, Annabel Karim Kassar has created Caï-light, a company dedicated to Lighting Design.
Hagit Pincovici, born in Tel Aviv in 1978, belongs to the third generation of an Israeli family who dedicated since the sixties to the craft testing of materials, particularly of plexiglass. The family tradition of Hagit Pincovici evolves into a personal interpretation of design during her training in Israel at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and in her first years of work in Tel Aviv after her graduation. The following specialisation at the Domus Academy in Milan encounters her with the world of Italian artisan quality and she develops a personal research based on association between different materials and technology.