How Jordan-based design studio Aperçu is redefining modern living through timeless and unconventional designs

Whether it’s an ancient inspired table or a modern and innovative desk lamp that works as your daily reminder, the two Jordanian designers and co-founders Tarek Hraish and Farah Kayyal of Aperçu create timeless art furniture designs that embrace and revive overlooked and unconventional materials.

“When we started, we were interested in doing something different – in regard to furniture – something unique to a house or space and unique to the owner of the house,” explained Tarek Hraish. The two designers met in Lebanon at the American University of Beirut (AUB) where they both enrolled at the School of Architecture for five years before moving back to Jordan in 2014. Just two years after being back in their home town, Hraish and Kayyal opened their very own design studio, Aperçu.

In French, Aperçu means an immediate impression – the first sense of perception, thought, or reaction one gets when looking at a piece of art. Together, Hraish and Kayyal produce furniture and designs that provide each distinctive customer with a whole new individualized experience.

Finding inspiration by fusing the old and new

Since the beginning, Aperçu started their creative journey with the intention to redefine the concept of modern living. “We looked beyond conventional materials and leaned towards materials that are overseen instead. We have embraced residue wood and leftover pieces from woodwork – these are the materials we found convenient to what we wanted to achieve,” Hraish said.

Aperçu fuses these elements, tightens and uplifts gathered raw material to create beautiful environmentally conscious designs. This also redefines how people ultimately look at craftsmanship and handmade furniture designs. Aperçu really focuses on reviving old designs and materials that are neglected and make them more fit for today’s modern living.

Aperçu fuses these elements, tightens and uplifts gathered raw material to create beautiful environmentally conscious designs. This also redefines how people ultimately look at craftsmanship and handmade furniture designs. Aperçu really focuses on reviving old designs and materials that are neglected and make them more fit for today’s modern living.

The Mirage Collection: a designer favoritea

In 2017, Aperçu participated at Amman Design Week where they launched their Mirage Collection inspired from ancient traditional techniques that were used to build houses and walls back in the day. The results were nonetheless amazing. “We wanted to do something out of nothing and create a spectacular design that mimics the sea and reflects the ocean,” Hraish says, explaining that he used layers of unconventional materials such as woodchip, sand, and even salt.

Each furniture piece takes months to manufacture and layer. This collection really sends out a message to the importance of reviving ancient techniques and local craftsmen, yet with a contemporary flair. “The challenge we overcame here is to get out of our comfort zones and conceive something that has never been done before. Each furniture collection or design takes our clients onto our journey of inspiration and story behind creating each and every single piece.”

When innovation meets design

Balancing unconventional materials with technology, Aperçu have been able to turn simple concepts into different and unique projects that are helpful in everyday life. In February 2019, the two designers were supported by Umniah’s incubator, The Tank, where they benefited through consultation services that helped shift Aperçu into a technology enabled startup by embedding IoT devices within their furniture items.

Balancing unconventional materials with technology, Aperçu have been able to turn simple concepts into different and unique projects that are helpful in everyday life. In February 2019, the two designers were supported by Umniah’s incubator, The Tank, where they benefited through consultation services that helped shift Aperçu into a technology enabled startup by embedding IoT devices within their furniture items.

They were further given the chance to participate in Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona where they presented two of their cutting-edge accessories: the Desk Lamp and Nabtah, the IoT home planter and exhibited them at the 4YFN innovation platform. The Tank also provided legal and financial advice, business development, and networking opportunities that opened the door for investors through Umniah’s local and regional partners.

Design: an evolving industry

“As a startup, we are persistent in making our collections the way we envision and expect them to be,” Hraish reflects. Right now, the world is moving to an age of personalization and the furniture and art industry is evolving and moving into the same direction, catering to each unique consumer’s taste. Hraish continues to explain, “Millennials are changing the industry completely and so art, furniture, and interior design are moving away from mass production into more custom-made and unique works of art.”

Consumers prefer to own one-of-a-kind designs rather than purchasing something that has been mass produced. A desire is growing towards customized and personalized products so that one doesn’t feel that they are imposed to purchase certain designs.

A journey towards international recognition

During their young yet growing journey, Aperçu has created some unexpected and surprising creations. Through creativity and the ability to step out of their comfort zones, Hraish and Kayyal have been able to perfect their discipline and innovate their promising line of art. “Once you start your project, you’ll only improve in time,” Hraish says. “The only way you can pave the road to what you want to become is through patience, not giving up easy, and producing. You’ll only get feedback when you start. And you’ll have to start ASAP.”

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