Images d'Orient is one of the brands available at Pomegranate as you know. Of course you can see the pieces currently in stock in the boutique (just click Brands up above!), but I'd like to tell you a little more about this lovely collection.
I first came across this brand quite a few years ago at the Maison & Objet exhibition in Paris, where their stand stopped everyone (including me) in their tracks with its explosion of colour and pattern! It was fun, vibrant and full of life and I was immediately attracted to, not only the collection, but the story behind the brand as well.
If you’ve been following the Pomegranate story, you will know that I have made a very conscious choice of working with designers and brands who have a strong design aesthetic, who combine contemporary designs with traditional techniques and whose collections are produced by hand, either in their own workshops or in partnership with expert artisans.
Well, Images d’Orient certainly has a strong design aesthetic and, whilst their production is on a slightly larger scale than some of our other brands, the collection is produced by hand in specialist workshops in China.
Below are 3 reasons why I think this brand is fantastic - I hope you agree!
Reason #1: Heritage
The business was started in 2000 by Lebanese brother and sister team Peggy Raphael Dabar and Charbel Raphael who, with their deep-rooted love of contemporary design and respect for the rich design heritage of their native land, saw an opportunity to create a range of home accessories that combined these two elements. Here is how they sum up their business:
‘Images d’Orient is a contemporary concept paying tribute to the legacy of past civilizations. We believe in a world where diversity is embraced, where modern is a resonance of ancient. Our line of designer objects will give your table a distinctive look, both vintage and futuristic.’
Peggy is the creative director behind the brand and explains that as a child she felt incredible sadness at seeing beautiful old buildings being demolished or areas being redeveloped with little respect for their heritage. She vowed to embark on an artistic journey that would endeavour to create beauty.
And she and her brother have certainly succeeded! The journey led to the creation of a wide and varied line of tableware including placemats, chargers, coasters, trivets, knife rests, trays and more recently ceramic mugs, cups and trays as well as a range of stationery.
Peggy takes inspiration from the designs of old floor tiles found in the old houses of Beirut and other areas in the Mediterranean region, re-interpreting and adapting them in her own style. The more recent collections are inspired from designs a little further afield, like the patterns found in Andalusia and ancient Persian mythology.
And by producing the range in the very modern material that is PVC, of course the Images d'Orient collection is incredibly contemporary and current.
— An example of the intricate floor tiles found in old houses in Beirut and other areas of the Mediterranean region.
— Another example of an intricate floor tile pattern which so inspired the Images d'Orient collection.
— Old meets new with this Images d'Orient coaster against a backdrop of an old building in Beirut. It just fits doesn't it??
Reason #2: Design
The old floor tiles that Peggy takes reference from for many of her designs are extraordinary and are becoming more and more rare. They are incredibly detailed and varied, as are the designs of Images d'Orient.
You can tell that a lot of time has been spent on getting each design just right. Some of the patterns are two, three or multi layers deep with lots of juxtaposition of shapes and colours. It must be quite a complex process, not only to design but for the artisans to make!
Whether it's the PVC coasters, placemats and trivets, the decorative tins, the trays, the ceramics, the stationery or the luggage tags (yep they also make those!), the designs are so carefully and beautifully thought through and adapted to the material they're being featured on.
Even the packaging is well designed, with many sets wrapped in pretty, Images d'Orient branded packaging - making great gifts of course! Let's take a look at some examples:
— The Sejjadeh Ourjouwan collection is bold with strong contrasting, yet complementary colours. Sejjadeh is the Arabic word for carpet or rug, referencing the floor tiles which would have once covered the floors of old Beirut like carpets.
— The Nassij collection is bright and lovely with strong blues and browns, contrasted with a little of lime. Nassij references the art of loom-weaving that would have been used to weave carpets and other textiles.
— This is the Zafaf Pearlbird range, which looks feminine and pretty and combines various designs and patterns in a mix-and-match set. Zafaf is Arabic for wedding, so perhaps this explains the slightly softer colour palette here.
— The Andalusia collection is one of the newest ranges to be added to the collection and is incredibly rich and detailed. I love the way the plates can be combined, mixed and matched to add layers and interest to the table. Gorgeous!
— Finally, the Birds of Paradise collection is also fairly new and one of my personal favourites. The designs are inspired by Persian mythology and a 7th Centrury poem called 'The Conference of the Birds'. The designs are complex and incredibly detailed and the collection is cheeky and happy.
— The stationery range, also designed by Peggy is made by the French stationery brand Clairefontaine and also include intricate patterns in bold colours.
Reason #3: Functionality
I'm sure you've heard the saying 'Form Follows Function', so often used in architecture and design. It basically means that an object, a space, a building or whatever should not be designed simply for its aesthetic value, but that it should also function well and efficiently as whatever it's supposed to be.
Well there's nothing to worry about with Images d'Orient on that front. The range is not only beautiful, vibrant, colourful and fun, it is also extremely practical and functional. The PVC products are washable, you can put hot pots, pans, mugs and casseroles on the trivets and coasters (not cast iron though), most of the ceramics can be used in the microwave and tossed (carefully!) in the dishwasher, the trays are wipeable. Everything is sturdy and totally 'fit for purpose' as they say in the industry.
And that's so important isn't it? It's not enough for a collection to look great, it has to function well too. And this one certainly does.
So what do you think of Images d'Orient? Do you love it as much as I do?
'till next time...
Photo credits: Image at the top by Nicole Antar / All product photos by Images d'Orient / Tiles photos by Blatt Chaya.