In Athens, Carwan Gallery opens with inaugural exhibition by Omer Arbel

Carwan Gallery’s outpost in the Greek capital's old port is a new home for the contemporary design gallery's international roster of creatives

Carwan Gallery Athens
Opening in Athens, Carwan Gallery presents a series of new works by multidisciplinary designer and entrepreneur Omer Arbel, featuring organic shapes created by combining metal and glass making techniques
(Image credit: Giorgos Sfakianakis)

Carwan Gallery opens its doors in Athens, with a new gallery debuting in the city’s old port and an inaugural exhibition of works by Omer Arbel. The contemporary design gallery originally opened in Beirut in 2010, and the Greek move marks a new, important chapter in its history.

Launched by Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte and Quentin Moyse, since its inception Carwan Gallery has been championing the work of international designers from Carlo Massoud to Karen Chekerdjian, Rotor and Lindsey Adelman. Now the gallery adds the Vancouver and Berlin-based Arbel to its impressive roster, with a new exhibition opening at the Athens location, featuring copper sculptures that result from an in-depth research process.

113 by Omer Arbel

The multidisciplinary designer (and the mind behind lighting brand Bocci) has created 70 unique pieces for the launch exhibition, the result of his personal research work into the relationship between glass and copper. ‘For some years I have been interested in matching the coefficients of expansion of glass and copper, so that the two could be fused on a molecular level and manipulated,’ explains Arbel. ‘I’ve wanted to explore formal languages that might emerge when two materials, so different from each other, marry.’

Multiple vessels on display.

(Image credit: Giorgos Sfakianakis)

Arbel’s process

The works are created by employing traditional glass-blowing techniques to create a vessel, then pouring a copper alloy in. The different chemicals clash during this process, and as the pieces cool the glass shape shatters off, leaving a metallic silhouette featuring an oxidised finish.

‘When hot, the glass and copper interact to make a form that neither would be capable of on its own, in a kind of performance staged by the glass blowers, with great skill, in a short amount of time. The object immediately begins to cool, and the two materials, because of their intrinsic nature, are completed to reject each other, break off and separate. I am interested in the form that remains, an artefact resulting from (or documenting) a performative act of unpredictable contingencies and circumstances,’ Arbel continues. 

I’ve wanted to explore formal languages that might emerge when two materials, so different from each other, marry

An exhibition of experimental pieces seems like a fitting debut for Carwan’s new location. ‘Athens is going through a total Renaissance,’ said Bellavance-Lecompte in an Instagram post announcing the new opening. He and Moyse have chosen to be based in the Piraeus (the city’s historic port), in a former 19th century commercial warehouse with high ceilings and original features such as a timber roof truss and multilayered brick walls.

‘In a way [this location is] the starting point from where Ancient Greek civilisation spread all over the Mediterranean,’ Bellavance-Lecompte continues. ‘Athens is a new inspiration, simple and pure in its aesthetics but also dense and complex in its history and urban context.’

Carwan Gallery Athens - Vessels on display inside the gallery.

(Image credit: Giorgos Sfakianakis)

The outside of the Carwan Gallery

(Image credit: Giorgos Sfakianakis)

An overhead shot of vessels on a table inside the Carwan gallery

(Image credit: Giorgos Sfakianakis)

The Carwan Gallery Athens

(Image credit: Giorgos Sfakianakis)

A range of vessels inside the Carwan Gallery Athens

(Image credit: Giorgos Sfakianakis)


113 by Omer Arbel, on view until 7 November.


Polidefkous 39

18 545 



Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.

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