Founders Pascale Wakim and Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte talk about the past and future of Middle Eastern art hemisphere.

Carwan Gallery was created when Pascale Wakim and Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte joined their artistic vision and cultural backgrounds to create an extraordinary idea for contemporary design in the Middle East. The gallery›s first objective is to foster the relationship between designers and craftsmen through commissions. Carwan was also the first Middle Eastern design gallery selected to take part in Art Basel in Miami.

According to the founders, more than fifteen designers from all over the world found inspiration in Middle-Eastern crafts to reinvent traditional techniques and create unique contemporary objects. After three years of regular pop-up exhibitions in international design fairs and museums, Carwan is ready to settle down in a permanent space in Beirut.

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Carwan will display contemporary objects in limited editions, creating a permanent link with a varied audience inclusive of friends, collectors and partners.
The founders said opening a permanent space after three years of being a pop-up gallery is a new step towards development of the gallery. “This is a way to increase our presence in the region and simplify our daily activities and projects with collectors, clients and partners. We also like the idea to finally be able to take time to receive people here and organize events at home. To open in Beirut with the particular geo-politic situation at the moment is also for us a way to establish a cultural resistance. When most of the people tend to leave the region for more stable horizons, we decided to go against that logic : this is our contribution to give positive international signs that this place of the world has an incredible potential and that we believe in the future of cultural activities here.”

Pascale and Nicolas told Oasis magazine that Carwan Gallery was founded with the desire to enrich and facilitate the huge potential of an entire region, in terms of creativity, production capacities, sensibility
and awareness towards design. “Choosing the limited edition field to express its ambitions in a region where low-tech and craft productions are still the standards, the gallery multiplies various types of international collaboration to encourage cross-cultural dialogue, and push those standards into new directions.” To create new venues taking the region as a constant source of inspiration, Carwan intends to define projects and collaborates with designers and architects whose unique approach can enrich the project vision.

“Our primary goal is to meet people who share our visions. Most of our clients are also friends and we feel they are part of our family in a way. Collectible design is something new in the region and the development of this culture is our passion.”

They said it is a complex relationship to build this triangular communication between the craftsman, the design and the gallery. “It is a challenge that pushes the boundaries and generates a dialogue around design, materials and functions which bring always an innovation at the end of the process.”

Carwan plans to open a foundation that provides residencies and commissions to regional and international designers integrating special workshops. “Proving formation to Middle Eastern craftsmen since most of the traditions and great savor-faire of the region is slowly disappearing.