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.
The Bokja signature is its assemblage surfaces. Through trade and travel, textiles, patterns and colors are collected from around the world, focusing on the Levant and Central Asia. In a Bokja assemblage, each piece upholds its individual physical identity as it becomes connected with foreign cultures and fabrics. The newly assembled textiles are then treated with contemporary embroideries in the Bokja Atelier and introduced in a new context, continuing the journey of the fabric story. The relevance lies in exploiting a perceived banality or overlooked appreciation in the history behind each fabric. The assemblage surfaces then become the upholstered skin of carefully curated objects ranging from furniture to one-off pieces. It is through these juxtapositions of disparate surfaces and its final application that the importance of each component becomes magnified. Bokja brings together poetic fragments of a time and place and situates them in unusual arrangements with a new context. A rich and unexpected new visual vocabulary is created of encoded information and aesthetic expression.
Operating out of Beirut, the city resembles an assemblage Bokja surface, where the old exists among the new and oriental tradition fights to stay alive among contemporary western influences. The country itself situated between old and new, east and west, struggles with issues of identity and its impermanence. Accordingly, behind Bokja's surface fabrication is an underlying question of identity; how it can be created and collected, how it can travel and adapt, and how it can ultimately be shared and communicated.