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CHELEBI presents 'Room of Azerbaijan' at the inaugural edition of Design Doha 2024

The Azerbaijan-based CHELEBI presented a rich collection of objects, artefacts and furniture that references regional art, design, craftsmanship and architecture. 


At the ongoing biennale Design Doha 2024, in Qatar, a distinct Azerbaijan-based homeware practice, namely CHELEBI, is presenting the exhibition titled Room of Azerbaijan. The design festival, open to the public until August 5, 2024, is dedicated to platforming creative innovation and fostering the design culture in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, whilst specifically enhancing the design environment in Qatar. CHELEBI’s showcase of contemporary objects and furniture—inspired by the landscape and architecture in Azerbaijan—is one of the many myriad design exhibitions that are part of the five-month design event. Room of Azerbaijan is on view from February 24 to 28, 2024 in Doha.

CHELEBI, based in Baku, was founded by Aida Mahmudova, an artist and patron of contemporary art and design. The design brand offers a curation of various decorative and functional indoor objects, fit to be housed within contemporary interiors. When asked about the vision of CHELEBI, art director Anna Naumova shares, “CHELEBI's vision appears to be centred around celebrating and preserving Azerbaijani cultural heritage through contemporary design. By offering a curated selection of decorative items that blend ancient techniques with modern aesthetics, CHELEBI aims to redefine the boundaries of contemporary design while honouring the rich artistic traditions of Azerbaijan. Ultimately, CHELEBI seeks to create unique treasures for the home that reflect the spirit of Azerbaijan's vibrant cultural tapestry. Our participation in international events like Design Doha Biennial, the Milan 5VIE Design Week, suggest a commitment to showcasing Azerbaijani artistry on a global stage.”

A blend of the local heritage, expert craftsmanship and traditional techniques, with modern form and aesthetics, the showcases by CHELEBI at the design fair evoke the details of design objects from various archaic and recent eras. Additionally, the objects showcased by CHELEBI also reference the distinct art and architecture found in the country. “From intricately crafted textiles inspired by ancient motifs to hand-painted ceramics that pay homage to the country's rich artistic heritage, every item in the collection reflects the spirit of Azerbaijan's vibrant cultural tapestry,” mentions an excerpt from the press release.

The wide array of objects presented by CHELEBI at the biennale includes furniture such as tables, chairs, armchairs, sofas, daybeds and more. Made using solid oakwood, each furniture piece is handcrafted at a local Azerbaijani furniture atelier. Each furniture design, conceptualised by Alina Kvirkvelia (co-founder of Saga bureau), emulates traditional architectural details and distinguishable features found in Azerbaijani architecture.

For instance, the ‘Hatun’ dining table, made out of solid oak and covered in oak veneer, is supported by chiselled cylindrical legs that emulate the form of ancient tombs and minarets in the Karabaglar village. The ‘Daryanur’ folding screen, on the other hand, is crafted using several wooden veneers that come together to showcase the ambivalent mythological image of a dragon. A mixture of references from Azerbaijani heritage and ubiquitous mythological lores renders narratives and a unique visual quality to the furniture pieces.

The ‘Bugelemun’ coffee table, which encompasses mosaic patterns that are each cut out individually, is supported by glossy circular legs that are coloured in bright tones. On the other hand, the Hezri collection, which comprises a sofa, beds and armchairs, is covered in oak veneer, matting fabric and finished with linseed oil. The fabric patterns reference art in the region. Another collection, namely Katib, comprises cabinets of different sizes. The cabinets, made with solid oak, showcase a delicate ornamental border, reminiscent of the intricate details found in Azerbaijani architecture.

A collection of five chair designs, entitled ‘Takht,’ emulates throne chairs of the 18th century. A homage to the opulence of Azerbaijani nobility, the name of the chairs also means throne. Lastly, mirrors showcased by the brand in Doha feature the linework of archways in rich colours referencing the palace arches of yesteryear.

CHELEBI also collaborated with the Azerbaijan National Museum of Art to delve into a vast collection of applied art, in an attempt to showcase various modern interpretations of traditional forms, ornaments, colour palettes and materials. This includes vases, candelabras, keychains, cushions, decorative plates, tapestries, carpets, bowls, paintings and miniscule sculptures. Each item is either made using traditional techniques or references distinct heritage markers of the country. From the frescoes of Sheki Khan's Palace and artefacts found in Baba-Dervish to the common carpet patterns and national dress of Azerbaijan, inspiration is drawn from a wide array of culturally specific entities.

The exhibition ‘Room of Azerbaijan’ is on view from February 24 to 28, 2024 at Profiles Cafe, M7, Doha, Qatar. Additionally, Design Doha 2024 takes place from February 24 to August 5 2024 at various locations across Doha, Qatar.


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