The work of Lebanese multidisciplinary product designer Iyad Naja distills the avant-garde with the legacy of this region’s patrimony. His rich sensory experiences are applied to many creative disciplines. Enriching his viewers with a fresh perspective on heritage, he creates pieces of high art from everyday objects and material know-how. Weaving his personal experiences to his work, he applies a personal element to art, mirroring his soul-searching methods in the foundation of his unparalleled products.
Fusing heritage with contemporary, his work pays homage to the skills of the craftsmen that have helped shape the region over the centuries.
Very much the modern 21st-century man, the references in his works to Islamic history and art are authentic and stand scrutiny – unlike much of the pastiche copy-cat pieces that have picked up on similar design-threads as being ‘on-trend’.
So highly is his work regarded, that you’ll find it prized by members of the Saudi royal family and Imam and business magnate Aga Khan. Naja also has seven pieces in the collection of Harvard Law School in Boston, USA.
His work matches form and function; indeed, he refers to his pieces as “functional art”. How so? As you can see, recent work includes doors, lamps, bookshelves, and mirrors. Manifesting his designs using modernist materials including concrete, he contrasts this harshness through the addition of exquisitely Arabic calligraphy formed of brass or plated-steel.
“Empowered by the solid foundation he finds in the authentic art of the region, Naja affirms that, “This is our essence.”