When it comes to the art of crafting furniture, few can hold a candle to the creations of Lebanese-French architect Georges Amatoury. Graduating in 2003 from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA), he went on to pursue an MA in Entrepreneurship from ESCP, Paris. There, he began working at Architecture Studio Paris and subsequently at Hugues Chevalier Paris, where he learned about the luxury furniture business. In 2007, right after joining the family owned Ardeco Gallery, he founded Ardeco Contract a furniture contracting facility dedicated to interior designers and contractors and specialised in the production of high end custom made furnishings for villas, offices, hospitality projects and royal palaces. Their products were proudly installed in very elaborate projects all over the Middle East and Europe. One of Ardeco Contract’s projects was awarded “Best Furnished Accommodation 2011” in KSA. And in 2012, Amatoury finally created his signature line, which allowed him to express personal taste and show his know-how.
Besides design, what are you passionate about and how does it feed into your work?
I love traveling and discovering local architecture and design patterns. Visiting modern towns and historical architecture, analysing regional design habits and local ways of manufacturing are the most inspiring moments for my work. I often end up using details, shapes, volumes, materials I’ve encountered during these trips. Creating my furniture line involved a great deal of travel coupled with a relentless pursuit of new details, exotic patterns, and the uncommon usage of certain materials…
If you could describe to us your design style in a few words, what would you say?
Clean lines, opulent, and sensual.
What about your design process and what are some of the tools you use on a daily basis?
A white paper and a pen, my visual memory and my experience in vintage furniture. Also, some of the best pieces came to life after a private commission from tasteful clients; their request and my knowhow were perfectly harmonious and the result lead me to some of my best designs in my collection such as the Mikado console, which was the 1st from the Mikado collection. I have to admit that I owe these courageous and trustworthy clients a lot.
Lebanon is your country – how would you say life there has influenced your work?
The chaos we’re living in. I always try to do the best to deliver a serene and clean result maybe to counter balance this chaos or to convince myself, before the customer, that Lebanon can produce a non-chaotic end result.
Do you have a favourite piece in your portfolio and what was the idea behind the design?
One of my favourite pieces would be the “Green Pompeii” console. The concept behind the design is nature’s revenge on urban sprawl characterised in the skyline of Beirut and flooded in a green resin. This limited edition furniture piece symbolises a vegetal tsunami freezing the construction process of our city. The city is represented by several mineral contrasting materials such as polished stainless steel, concrete, gun metal and brass, silver and gold leafs while the nature is represented by the ‘vegetal’ rigid resin.
Which project or period of your career have you enjoyed the most so far?
I can say that the 1st piece I designed and executed my self was the most exciting moment, as you realise the power each pencil stroke has, although each period has its own taste.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The nice and warm words I hear from a satisfied customer. Nothing is more encouraging than this.
What type of brief or project do you enjoy working on the most and why?
I love to work for design-sensitive clients who are precise in their brief while giving the full freedom from process to the end result. Usually they are people who appreciate and know about the creative process, which is why they rely on me. The problem is that their expectations are often very high, as is the pressure to meet and exceed, when possible, their expectations.
What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?
I am fascinated by artificial intelligence, but I don’t know how it can affect my work so far and I still don’t know how we will be affected by A.I. in the design field in general.
What are some of your favourite new trends in design for 2016?
I don’t like trends, a good design should be far from trends.
What would you say is your strongest skill?
I understood the importance of details and learned the finesse of old craftsmanship by refurbishing genuine French antique furniture pieces created by 20th century master craftsmen. Having attended several workshops in France and Italy, I enriched my knowledge with modern production techniques. There, I also learned the importance of handcraftsmanship and quality finishing.
Who or what has been the biggest single influence on your way of thinking?
My passion for mid-century architecture masters such as Oscar Niemeyer, Richard Neutra. I am humbly hoping and dreaming that maybe one of my designs could travel through time with elegance such as their architecture.
We’d love to know what’s next for you; are you working on anything exciting at the moment?
After Paris and Dubai, I look forward to strengthening my retail presence in Europe and hopefully later find my first US retailer. Also I look forward to a multi-cultural collaboration with a European collective of designers scheduled for 2017.
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