Bokja is the work and vision of two women designers from Lebanon. They are each collectors in their own right, Huda Baroudi of ancient Central Asian and Levantine textiles, and Maria Hibri of mid-20th-century furniture sourced from around the world. Together they created a laboratory of design called Bokja, which marries the tradition of Levantine textiles in a contemporary setting.
Mashrabiyas are the architectural expression of a cultural attitude of Islamic people. They function as an ornate veiled surface in Islamic homes, proudly facing the outside world whilst intentionally protecting those behind it from the wandering curious eyes of the public. A derivative of the Arabic word meaning to overlook or observe, its main societal function provides the essential element of privacy valued in the Arab culture. Bokja has reinterpreted the concept of a Mashrabiya as a reaction to shifting cultural attitudes due to globalization. In a world of online communication, physical walls and barriers begin to lack a sense of meaning and function. The soft textile surface contrasts the strict attitude of lattice wood, the material form used in original examples. Comprised of modular adjustable units, its malleable nature references a sense of openness, autonomy and transparency, adapting to any context or void it may occupy. It allows for home dwellers to add or tear away at the masharabiya surface, controlling the light and privacy levels desired to morph the interior space. The textile used to create each of the soft units includes both traditionally Islamic textiles in addition to contemporary fabric scraps intuitively assembled to communicate a mood.
Bokja's very talented team and I, together we were able to modulate the conventional concept and present it in two totally different settings.