Beirut's best: meet 'retrofuturistic' design studio david/nicolas
David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem, founders of the Lebanese design studio david/nicolas, met while studying architecture at Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts in Beirut. In 2010 they both embarked upon a masters in product design at Milan's Scuola Politecnica di Design before joining forces to set up an eponymous studio in their native Beirut in 2011.
Describing their aesthetic as 'retrofuturistic' – a mash-up of influences from different periods in design history – the duo create timeless objects that are at once totally new yet reassuringly familiar.
They like to think their divergent opinions are what give their designs a unique character - Moussallem is a detail obsessive while Raffoul is more of a freethinker. 'We have a different approach when starting to design, one is very narrative while the other starts sketching 'chunks' of objects, it just adds up to every product we ever created.'
The studio's breakout year came in 2014 thanks to a busy Milan Design Week that saw the duo launch the bespoke 'Artichoke' safe with Agresti for Wallpaper* Handmade and the luxurious 'Dualita' chaise for Nina Yashar's Nilufar Gallery. In addition they presented their first solo show in Beirut, 'Loulou/Hoda', at the city's Art Factum Gallery, and last but not least, at Maison & Objet they introduced the 'Orquestra' tableware collection for Vista Alegre – the studio's first industrial product.
In 2016, david/nicolas will complete their first interior for a private apartment in Paris and are currently in the process of kitting out a restaurant project in Downtown Beirut that includes the design of everything from the walls and floors to the cutlery.