philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art

philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art

philippe daher speaks to designboom about his studio, rayxander

 

RayXander studio was established by Syrian architect Philippe Daher with the purpose of exploring new possibilities when it comes to oriental interior design through a contemporary re-interpretation of long-traveled geometric patterns and figures that are open to evolution.

 

In an interview with designboom, Philippe talks us through the simple yet paradoxical sculptural designs, ranging from saddle chairs to almost impossible balancing tables.

 

‘The name comes from my dad (Raymond) and my granddad (Alexander) – a combination which I believe really blends my personal approach towards geometry and patterns. I see the patterns and I simplify them through a very complex process of distracting the many different proportions. Any minor defect can cause incompletion,’ begins Philippe Daher.

philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art
Philippe Daher establishes multidisciplinary studio RayXander focused on product design (Trinity Side Table)

all images courtesy of Philippe Daher

 

 

Born and raised in Damascus, Syrian architect Philippe Daher established Philippe Daher Architects in 2007.  With a desire for exploration and integration of oriental design, he later established RayXander in 2015. A multidisciplinary studio with a focus on product design that draws inspiration from the patterns and synchronicities found in the natural world, particularly in geometric art, seamlessly integrating them into their limited-edition designs.

 

‘I feel lucky to have been raised in one of the oldest capitals of the world. As I got older, I realized that this mix of cultures and of history, from Roman and Greek and from French and Ottoman, is what made me fall in love with design. After finishing my studies in London, I decided to go back to Damascus and start my own company, RayXander, in 2015. Being surrounded by such a diverse mix of cultures, made it easier for me to build a unified identity that emphasizes being part of many places into one,’ he continues.

philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art
Daher’s work incorporates elements of Oriental art and geometries found in nature (Gentlemen Valet Chair)

 

 

an interplay of inorganic & organic forms

 

RayXander recognizes and embodies the cyclical nature of perfection and flaws, outward and inward in every piece to create continuous movements and productive oppositions. The interplay of inorganic and organic forms allows all elements to exist in harmony with each other. Rather than modernizing Oriental, geometric art, the designer explores the idea of evolution and examines various possibilities for the fundamental forms that characterize the genre.

 

‘I can’t deny how influenced I have been by Oriental architecture and design. I personally always thought that geometry is science: it’s what lies under the structure of life and of every single organism that grows, evolves, and matures; it’s mathematical, but it’s also artistic. This is what ignited my fascination for such a spiritual and scientific subject. Instead of simplifying the patterns, I try to understand, analyze, and decipher them,’ adds Philippe.

philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art
rather than modernizing the art genre, the designer explores the idea of evolution (Kahilah Saddle Stool)

 

 

One of RayXander’s products is the RX04 Stool, meticulously carved from a single piece of solid pine, featuring patterns, veins, and colors naturally found in the wood. As the stool evolves over time, owners have the opportunity to interfere with and refurbish it, making it an integral part of its own evolution. The ergonomic design encourages ‘active sitting,’ promoting improved posture, concentration, and better blood circulation.

 

‘The RX04 stool is made out of one piece of wood. I basically let nature do the design. Taken from reclaimed tree trunks, each piece tells you everything you need to know about the life of the tree, all the bad and good years, making each stool a unique product. To add the flexibility aspect, its curved bottom gives it its ergonomic mechanism, allowing it to stay balanced but also move with its seater, effortlessly,’ explains the designer.

philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art
RX04 Stool

 

 

Philippe Daher releases the RX03 Stool in 2023, as part of a new series of stools. The piece is inspired by the social twist of stairs in interior design, especially their dynamic nature when integrated onto furniture. The stool offers a more complex and diverse way of using or interacting with the piece and consists of three steps. The second step can be used in different ways, giving it a multidimensional, hybrid quality between stool and armchair.

 

‘I’m planning on creating two collections: RayXander and RX, the latter of which will be strictly for stools. I am really fascinated by stools. Stools are one of the first pieces of furniture that humankind ever created. Since then, through civilization, we’ve done every imaginable size, height, fabric, etc., but, in my opinion, all of these options are essentially the same: volumes that do not move. I want to create flexibility, a special bond and engagement with the user,’ says Philippe Daher.

 

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The Sphex Desk

Other notable products include The Monarch Chair, inspired by oriental star patterns and the tranquility of the monarch butterfly, and the Trinity Side Table, which draws inspiration from living organisms and their growth towards the light. The Sphex Desk, influenced by bees and their patterns of movement and composition, features a central steel spine, burl wood body, and irregularly shaped glass top.

 

‘The Sphex Desk is where I introduced the metal to create this almost impossible balance where only a small part is touching the ground and all the rest is suspended. The desk is made out of a natural volcanic stone called Matrix stone, which I chose for its natural glistening properties,’ he describes.

philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art
Sphex Bar Cabinet

 

 

RayXander’s designs continue to pay tribute to nature’s complexity, as seen in the Sphex Bar Cabinet, which celebrates the intricate structure of beehives, balancing strength and fragility in its steel and burl wood construction with delicate crystal glass interior shelves.

 

‘The bar’s structure resembles a human spine, where its unified structure becomes the support for everything else. It is very easy to customize, because of its ‘add and remove’ concept. I was inspired by beehives and Egyptian scarabs for this pattern. The wrapping belt around and the straps on its back make it look like a backpack, which was strongly inspired by a traditional type of server who goes around carrying refreshments on their backs in a backpack-like manner,’ exclaims Philippe.

philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art
The Kahilah Saddle Stool

 

 

The Kahilah Saddle Stool takes inspiration from a tale of five wild horses, and its design reflects the dark aesthetic of its namesake while capturing the rhythm of a galloping horse. According to the designer, the word refers to eyes outlined with black eyeliner, which back at the time was used as a healing remedy for infections, making the person wearing it, a Kahilah. Similarly, the Gentleman Valet Chair stands out for its versatility and practicality, seamlessly shifting from a comfortable chair to a three-shelf unit. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, it was unveiled with great success during Beirut Art Week 2019.

philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art
The Trinity Lounge Chair

 

 

The Trinity Lounge Chair, the pinnacle of the RayXander Trinity series, embodies the process of creation with its series of triangles sprouting from the center offering a unique visual and perceptual experience from every angle. 

 

‘I created two versions for the Trinity Lounge Chair. One is made with a flat sheet of metal to emphasize geometry, resembling the patterns of cut-out cardboard, complemented by leather padding. The second version follows the same idea and structure, but is wrapped and embraced by fabric all around,’ continues Philippe.

 
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The Monarch Chair

 

 

‘I want to celebrate the process of rebirth,’ says philippe daher

 

RayXanders’ products pay homage to the intricate connectedness of all life forms. Organic meets inorganic, life meets death, oppression meets liberation, and flaws are beautiful. The relationship that Philippe Daher creates between nature and the forces that shape it, give rise to the unpredictable yet balanced forms.

 

‘I was in Syria when the war was at its peak, during when so many of the traditional monuments and houses that I used to take inspiration from were damaged. This is where I started to look into transhumanism; taking something broken, adding to it and giving it a completely new meaning, which then evolved to the merge between organic and inorganic forms. For example, using metal to create geometric forms, balances and perspectives that would otherwise look impossible to achieve. I want to celebrate the process rebirth,’ concludes the designer.

philippe daher's products embody contemporary twists on geometric art
designer Philippe Daher

 

 

project info:

 

name: RayXander | @rayxander_official

designer: Philippe Daher

products: RX04 Stool; RX03 Stool; The Monarch Chair; The Trinity Side Table; The Sphex Desk; Sphex Bar Cabinet; Kahilah Saddle Stool; Gentleman Valet Chair; Trinity Lounge Chair

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