Interview // david-nicolas | Yellowtrace

 

 first came to our attention during our visit to . This Beirut-based design studio was founded in 2011 by David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem. The philosophy of the studio is born from teamwork, which by definition implies working together. However, it is often their different approaches and diverging opinions that give the spaces and objects they work on their character and unique personalities.

The duo’s work revolves around the idea of creating “timeless pieces”. Their style could be defined as retro-futuristic due to the way in which they juggle and reference different design periods, collaging them in their own unique way. Their pieces don’t follow a certain “trend” but rather express a character which usually reflects the feeling they get when working on a specific product. Needless to say, we are huge fans. Read on to find out more about this exciting young design duo on the rise.

Take it away !

 

david/nicolas Portrait by Guillaume de Sarde | Yellowtrace

david/nicolas Portrait. Photo by Guillaume de Sarde.

Artichoke for Agresti by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Artichoke’ for Agresti by david/nicolas.

Artichoke Sketch by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Artichoke’ for Agresti by david/nicolas.

'Dualita' for Nilufar Gallery by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Dualita’ for Nilufar Gallery by david/nicolas. Photo by Ruy Teixeira.

'Dualita' for Nilufar Gallery by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Dualita’ Dining Chair for Nilufar Gallery by david/nicolas. Photo by Ruy Teixeira.

 

+ Hello David & Nicolas, welcome to Yellowtrace! Could you please give us a quick introduction on yourselves? When did you first decide you wanted to become designers, and at which point did you become interested in product design? And how did you two meet?

We are david/nicolas a Beirut based design studio that works both locally and internationally. Moreover, we met in the Architecture Program at ALBA, both students for 2 years and a half. Our obsession to details gave us the boost to switch from architecture to product design. After concluding our study in Beirut, we decided to move to Milan to pursue a master in product design.

 

'Digital Love' for Vista Algre by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Digital Love’ for Vista Algre by david/nicolas.

'Digital Love' for Vista Algre by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Digital Love’ for Vista Algre by david/nicolas.

'Digital Love' for Vista Algre by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Digital Love’ for Vista Algre by david/nicolas.

 

+ How is your studio structured? i.e. How many of you work in the studio, what types of skills do you have in-house, and how many projects do you handle at any one time?

As you may know our studio is quite new and are still a team of two. However, we are hopping for a bigger team in the near future. At the moment it is difficult to have someone in the team, because we are actually focusing on our work and creating its DNA. Furthermore, everything is done in-house, from concepts, renderings to interior design. Finally, around 6 to 8 projects are handled at one time; while one of them is substantial, it is the interior of a private apartment in Paris.

 

'Orquestra' for Vista Alegre by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Orquestra’ for Vista Alegre by david/nicolas. Photo by Agresti.

'Orquestra' for Vista Alegre by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Orquestra’ for Vista Alegre by david/nicolas. Photo by Agresti.

 

+ What is your main priority when starting design projects? Is there something that is fundamental to your practice – your philosophy and your process?

Our essential priority is the interaction with the client, we need to communicate with them and they usually trigger something quite interesting. On the other hand, our philosophy is to try and create timeless pieces, pieces that don’t follow a certain trend but rather express a feeling of elegance.

 

'Guillotine' High Chair by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Guillotine’ High Chair by david/nicolas.

 

+ What are some of your methods to staying motivated, focused and expressive?

Our passion for objects and details are identical, we push a lot one another to get the result we both want. Therefore, at the end an abundance of things happen behind each and every object we create.

+ Who or what are some of your influences? What other designers, artist’s creative’s or entrepreneurs do you admire?

We constantly have a great admiration for designers like (for his obsession in details) and (for his vision in general). In addition, we also admire the work of Daft Punk, we believe that they have created something new and timeless.

 

'Explorer' by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Explorer’ by david/nicolas.

'Explorer' by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Explorer’ by david/nicolas.

'Explorer' by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Explorer’ by david/nicolas.

 

+ What advice would you give to emerging designers who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting your practice? What do you feel is the most challenging part of being a designer today?

Honesty and curiosity are the best advices we can give. The biggest lesson we have learnt is that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes you lose an opportunity for different reasons, however there is always something bigger in the picture that you have to wait for. Nevertheless, the most important thing is to know how to trigger your luck!

Today, the biggest challenge of being a designer is to create tomorrow’s antiquité!

 

Gold Digger by david/nicolas | Yellowtrace

‘Gold Digger’ by david/nicolas.

 

+ Tell us a little bit about your upcoming solo show with Art Factum Gallery in Beirut?

This solo show with is extremely important for us, since it is the first time that we actually exhibit in Beirut/Lebanon. We developed a collection of different pieces that questions the identity of our own culture, the Lebanese culture. This journey started by questioning ourselves and by naturally searching in history books, but more essentially in our grandmother’s homes. However, you may not feel that the pieces are oriental, as it is a very personal interpretation.

 

david/nicolas Inspiration for Solo Show Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

david/nicolas Inspiration for Solo Show Art Factum Gallery.

'Chandelier' Progress by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

‘Chandelier’ Progress by david/nicolas.

Coat Hanger by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

‘Coat Hanger’ by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery.

 

Let’s Get Real:

+ What’s the best mistake you have ever made?

Working together because we are best friends and you know what people say about working with your friends! :)

+ Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Choose wisely your starting point in your career and understand what your best at.

 

'Cedar Wings' (sketch) by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

‘Cedar Wings’ (sketch) by david/nicolas.

'Cedar Wings' (render) by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

‘Cedar Wings’ (sketch) by david/nicolas.

'Cedar Wings' by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

‘Cedar Wings’ (sketch) by david/nicolas.

 

+ What is your most treasured belonging?

The prototypes, sketches and samples of the pieces we produce.

+ What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

David is a “psycho”! Nicolas is a “control freak” so you can imagine the brainstorming sessions!

 

david/nicolas (render) / Part of Solo Show Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

david/nicolas (render) / Part of Solo Show Art Factum Gallery.

'Rocking Chair' (sketch) by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

‘Rocking Chair’ (sketch) by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery.

'Rocking Chair' (sketch) by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

‘Rocking Chair’ (sketch) by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show with Art Factum Gallery.

'Tretaux' by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

‘Tretaux’ by david/nicolas.

'Tretaux' by david/nicolas / Part of Solo Show Art Factum Gallery | Yellowtrace

‘Tretaux’ by david/nicolas.

 


[Images courtesy of david/nicolas. Photography credits as noted.]

 



About The Author

Tourismandhotels

Tourismandhotels is a small and highly dedicated bunch of cool kids who assist in the production of design stories, general admin and correspondence associated with each and every post. The team works tirelessly behind the scenes, providing invaluable support to the Editor In Chief. Extreme love and respect to the power of ten!

2 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Ezza

    Besides the crazy attention to detail (I want that coat hanger), it’s heartening to see beautiful design emerge from a country raw from war (and currently without a president). The Lebanese always get their priorities right- beauty before [email protected]&$!

    Thank you for this post Dana.

    Reply

Leave a Reply