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Karen Chekerdjian

Lebanon (1970)

Karen Chekerdjian’s prac­ti­cal begin­nings were in adver­tis­ing, working in both film and graphic design at Leo Burnett Beirut in the early 1990’s and as a co-founder of one of the first brand­ing compa­nies in the Middle East. 

Karen moved to Milan in 1997 to pursue a master’s degree in indus­trial design at DOMUS academy, under the guid­ance of Massimo Morozzi, a founder of Archizoom. Chek­erd­jian used her time in Italy to exper­i­ment and explore the exten­sions and limi­ta­tions of her art. She began devel­op­ing a language of design, where the ability for her pieces to take on new func­tions in varied contexts became a contin­u­ous thread in her work.

In 2001, Chek­erd­jian moved back to Beirut, the city where she was born. That same year, she founded Karen Chek­erd­jian Studio. At the time, design was still in its nascency in Lebanon and the region at large. Rather than succumb to the chal­lenges imposed by a lack of indus­try and tech­nol­ogy, Chek­erd­jian harnessed an exist­ing history to begin carving a foun­da­tion for design in Lebanon. Inter­ested in cultur­ally specific tradi­tions and skills, she began working with local arti­sans, trans­form­ing the process of hand­craft into distinct product design and creat­ing a dialogue between designer and crafts­man that, she insists, is neces­sary for actu­al­iza­tion and re-visitation. 

Designs by Karen Chekerdjian (1)