Le Lab: From Cairo to Dubai Design Week

Ahram Online , Saturday 13 Nov 2021

Experimentation, integration, and exploration are the main themes behind the recently established design gallery in Cairo, Le Lab.

 Le Lab

Founded by art and design collector Rasheed Kamel, Le Lab’s vision is to blur the lines between the fields of art, design, and architecture, questioning what we know and allowing us a more expansive and personal expression of these three fields.

“My mission for Le Lab is to encourage the development of the Egyptian design scene and transform Cairo into a hub for art and design, regionally and internationally. We will promote Middle Eastern designers through our gallery in Cairo through a year-round exhibitions program of solo and group shows, workshops, talks, educational initiatives as well as through our participation in special initiatives, exhibitions, and fairs both regionally and internationally,” said Rasheed Kamel.

Since Le Lab just opened its doors to the public on the 27th of October, following a successful private event on the 26th, Le Lab’s decision to participate in Dubai Design Week emphasises its aim to become a platform for artists, designers, craftsmen, and architects, both locally and regionally.

Le Lab is the first Egyptian contemporary and collectible design gallery to participate in Dubai Design Week. This exhibition takes place with El-Beit Magazine as the media partner. El-Beit is an Egyptian platform which has supported creators and designers for 21 years.

“Le Lab is introducing a new formula to the design scene in Egypt,” said Sawsan Mourad, editor-in-chief of El-Beit and co-founder of Cairo Milano design in partnership with Fuorisalone. “It allows the audience to reformulate their ideas about art and design. The process of production and the choice of certain pieces is a true testament of the philosophy behind Le Lab. By hosting an exhibition abroad, the regional arm will see Egypt through a different lens. Rasheed’s ideology makes it apparent that he wants to shed the light on quality being the main factor to consider when it comes to design, rather than quantity.”

 

As Le Lab currently hosts a collection by Lebanese architect and designer Georges Mohasseb, Le Lab is, in parallel, partaking in Dubai Design Week to display a piece by Egyptian sculptor and artist Khaled Zaki. This intersection between design and art allows us break through any boundaries or taboos that have once denoted the autonomy of each.

Zaki’s work draws upon numerous sources, ranging from ancient Egyptian statuary, Italian renaissance sculpture, and the legacy of Egyptian modernism. He studied sculpture at the Al Khonany Museum of Art in Giza and holds a master's degree in restoration from the Faculty of Archaeology at Cairo University. During the period from 1988 until 1997, following Zaki’s completion of his higher education, he resided in Pietrasanta, also known as the “City of Artists,” where he amassed his extensive knowledge and formal skill in the processes of sculpting.

Zaki’s techniques rely on minimal forms as middle ground between minimal abstract sculpting and contemporary furniture. By implementing the concept of assembling and disassembling, Zaki allows for the ability to extend and shrink, creating more room for different compositions to cover the available spaces, whether small or large.

Le Lab will be displaying Zaki's piece “The Wave”. The production of “The Wave” took place in Italy, speaking volumes about the power to be found in collaboration. This also goes hand in hand with the abovementioned concept of assembling and disassembling applied by Zaki. The design of the wave is inspired by the point where one cannot visually separate the curvatures of the wave from the mass of the boat that sails on its surface.

Although Le Lab has just laid its foundation, Dubai Design Week is one of many events that Le Lab is planning to make a presence in. Maintaining this kind of momentum is indicative of its intention and ability to make its way through the design scene both regionally and internationally.

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