Postcard From Carlo Massoud
The designer pens an open letter on the urgent need to support Lebanese designers and artisans at this critical moment
In our Postcards From series, we invite esteemed creatives from around the globe to pen an open letter to the international design community sharing their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities of our era. On the occasion of Design Miami/ Basel 2022, we are presenting a special series of postcards focusing on resilience through design. At a time when we can feel far too divided, these unique perspectives offer visions for a better world and concrete ways we can all help in this moment.
Today’s postcard comes from acclaimed Lebanese designer Carlo Massoud.
Over the past few years, Lebanon has endured a series of catastrophes, including the devastating August 4, 2020 blast that decimated Beirut and left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands without homes. The coinciding economic collapse has pushed millions into poverty, and Covid has further exasperated the few remaining resources.
As designers living and working in Beirut, our role has changed drastically over the last couple of years. Our work has moved beyond the creative and into a crucial social component. Our creations directly support and empower entire communities, including the artisans that bring our visions to life.
We are a close-knit community. Glassblowers, carpenters, steelworkers, ceramicists, embroiderers all live and work within the same neighborhoods, allowing us to be in constant, direct contact with them, resulting in more intimate and efficient collaborations.
As the money in Lebanon runs out, it is sales from abroad that are keeping the creative work alive. When someone supports a Lebanese designer, it’s an entire community that gets the ability to continue working and creating, from the designers to the artisans. It allows the know-how of incredibly skilled craftspeople to survive in this time of crisis, and brings in money into a larger ecosystem that is on the verge of bankruptcy. As a designer with an international network, it is this network that keeps the ecosystem alive.
Lebanon is my home. I love its mountains, sea, people, and traditions. You always feel welcome and that is what keeps me here. But right now, the country needs help. There are organizations leading the way, including House of Today and The Ready Hand, who directly support our communities. When you choose Lebanese design, you’re helping to keep a community, families, traditions, and skills alive.
Carlo Massoud is an award-winning Lebanese designer whose work has been exhibited around the globe with the likes of House of Today, R & Company, and others. His work stems from his relentless questioning of social, political, cultural, and environmental norms. He lives and works in Beirut.
This letter is part of a special editorial series spotlighting stories of resilience through design. For Design Miami/ Basel 2022, Anna Carnick and Wava Carpenter of Design Miami and Anava Projects invited a short list of exceptional creatives to share their perspectives on paths towards a more equitable, more secure future by design and beyond.