Edit by: Roberto Lucchese
Designer: Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri
Bokja is a Turkish word that describes an intricately worked fabric created to cover a bride’s dowry. Lebanese designers Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri bring a similar passion for detail and history to the furniture which they create under the same name. Baroudi and Hibri source furniture designs from the 50s, 60s and 70s, unearthed in Beirut’s flea-markets and antique dealerships, and then cover them with exuberant tapestries and textiles from the Levant and the legendary Silk Road countries of Central Asia. Combining ancient culture with repurposed modern design, Bokja is creating one-of-a-kind pieces that offer an explosion of colour, pattern and a richly textured sense of history.
Bokja also designs its own range of products, called “Classics”, that are sometimes inspired by mid-19th century classics, but that are often completely original contemporary designs. The designers of BOKJA see the potential for upholstery in any material- some materials they’ve appropriated are VINYL from billboards, denim from 2nd-hand jeans, and newspaper, to name a few. Alongside their team of local artisans, they’ve applied their unique vision and deft craftsmanship skills to unusual objects such as a life-size Beetle they called the “Bokja Bug” exhibited at Rossana Orlandi during Salone 2010 and favored by press and design pilgrims. Spazio Rossana Orlandi was voted as one of the top 10 things to see at Salone 2010 by WGSN, the world-renowned trend analysis and forecasting agency.
n 2009, Bokja was chosen to be featured in LiEdelkoort’s (founder and former director of Eindhoven School of Design) retrospective, where she highlighted what she judged to be the most important themes that have influenced trends in fashion, photography, and design. Other designers in the exhibit included Marcel Wanders, Christian Lacroix, Studio Job, the Campana brothers and Philippe Starck, to mention a few. Li Edelkoort is one of the world’s most renowned trend forecasters. In 2003 TIME Magazine named her one of the world’s 25 Most Influential People in Fashion, and in 2004 she was listed in Icon as one of the 21 Most Important People in Design.
Bokja aims to blur the line between art, craft, and design. Its 2 talented designers regularly come out with new concepts and products that push conventional boundaries. At Salone 2010, they presented the “Conversation Sofas” 2 curved sofas positioned face to face in an “S” shape and boasting beautiful vintage and contemporary fabrics from around the world. The project celebrates the narratives and experiences that make up a sofa. The idea is that the object – in this case the sofa – is the moment from which conversations between time and place emerge, and that these narratives and stories don’t cease to exist with the object, but go on to live beyond it.
Dissected layers of fabric from the sofas were strategically hung around them at the same height and distance apart providing an autopsy-like deconstruction of the sofa – accompanied with descriptions revealing each fabric’s place of origin, context and story.
Conversations was a celebration of 10 years of Bokja.
Bokja’s products are sought out by celebrities and connoisseurs, from Christian Louboutin who regularly selects Bokja products for his showrooms around the world, to Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullocks, Kate Hudson, and Norah Jones.