Box fresh: unconventional packaging ideas from 13 global designers

In time to provide plenty of Christmas wrapping inspiration, Beirut-based Joy Mardini Design Gallery asked 13 international and local designers to reinterpret the idea of a ‘box’, for its annual group show. From jewellery to cigar to music boxes, each one reflects the aesthetic of its creator – and the sensibility of its contents. Alongside process sketches, the exhibition presents the outcome of each designer’s individual enquiry, aiming to step outside the established notion of what the archetypal box is, or can be. ‘This Side Up’ runs until 3 February 2018.

Circular stacked box

‘Cake’, The Candy Box by Sayar & Garibeh

(Image credit: TBC)

Opened in 2015, the small Beirut-based design workshop Sayar & Garibeh (founded by Stephanie Sayar and Charbel Garibeh) aims to create innovative, unique objects like this sweet box, shaped with alternating brass and steel compartments, like the layers of a cake.

Open pink box with threads & pin cushion inside

‘Point de Croix’, The Sewing Kit Box by Stephanie Moussallem

(Image credit: TBC)

This cross-stitch-inspired jewellery box features an embroidered leather exterior and painted wood interior, courtesy of multidisciplinary practice Stéphanie Moussallem, based in Beirut.

Black stand holding pens

‘Yasale’, The Stationary Box by Niko Koronis

(Image credit: TBC)

Rendered in painted brass and steel, ‘Yasale’ (which means ‘write’ in English) is a deconstructed take on a stationary box by interior architect Niko Koronis. It puts the contents of the stand on view, front and centre.

Wooden box with colourful parts

‘Sam’, The Toy Box by Charles Kalpakian

(Image credit: TBC)

French interior architect Charles Kalpakian has put the fun in functional with his graphic, elephant-shaped toybox, in poplar wood and birch plywood.

Stone box with golden handles

‘Zaman: Sculpting time’, The Watch Box by Atelier2te

(Image credit: TBC)

In red travertine, a pourous stone with marine origins, comes this watch stand from Atelier2té – a young studio founded in 2015 by Lebanese-Polish sisters and architects Tessa and Tara Sakhi.

Brown leather pouches with floral embroidery

‘Malishka’, The Russian Doll Box by Carla Baz

(Image credit: TBC)

Borrowing her concept from Russian dolls, Carla Baz’s three-part storage system, ‘Malishka’, is rendered in embroidered leather, intended to house trinkets and jewellery.

Open wooden box with pattern

‘24 x 10’, The Backgammon Box by david/nicolas

(Image credit: TBC)

Burmese teak wood, French oak and brass make up david/nicolas’ opulent backgammon box. It's a heritage-meets-contemporary offering from the ‘retrofuturistic’ design studio.

Monochrome sphere with black handle

‘Naked Raku’, The Ceramic Box by Hala Matta

(Image credit: TBC)

The ceramic ‘Naked Raku’ box by Hala Matta is more vessel than packaging idea. Created using traditional raku techniques (in which the potter removes the vessel from the kiln while at bright red heat and places it into containers with combustible materials), it has a fractured, imperfect exterior.

Wooden & gold mechanical box

‘Mirage’, The Music Box by Studio Caramel

(Image credit: TBC)

This solid American walnut music box by Studio Caramel, an interior and multi–disciplinary product design studio established in 2016, features an on-show Reuge mechanism – a movement defined by its visual, as well as audio, impact – created in partnership with the Swiss manufacturer.

Plate on roll up mat with cutlery

‘Kit’, The Cutlery Box by Nada Debs

(Image credit: TBC)

Nada Debs’ dining kit is designed for refined eating on the go. The leather and plywood table mat, complete with slots for cutlery, can be rolled up and transported easily, keeping its contents secure and clean.

Wooden box with built in clock

‘Oscura’, The Cigar Box by Thomas Trad

(Image credit: TBC)

This opulent cigar box, with a Canadian cedar interior and chiseled black lacquered wood exterior, is designed by Lebanese product designer and craftsman Thomas Trad, who cut his teeth with Fredrikson Stallard.

Gold box with mounted shoe

‘Shoe Shina’, The Shoe Shine Box by Georges Mohasseb

(Image credit: TBC)

Founder of Wood&, Georges Mohasseb is renowned for his celebration of raw and organic materials, as displayed in his walnut and brushed-and-polished brass modular shoe-shine box.

Clear round box with jewellery stand

‘Coral’, The Jewellery Box by Alya Tannous

(Image credit: TBC)

The transparent ‘Coral’ jewellery box by Alya Tannous allows its contents to shine. It comprises blown glass, a velvet pouch and a ceramic coral-shaped fixture from which rings and bracelets hang.

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.