By @SimonCocking. Interview with Benedicte Colpin, special advisor for Beirut Design Fair
Could you briefly describe your background?
I was trained as an auctioneer, but immediately following my studies I switched to the world of museums. I worked at the Paris Decorative Arts Museum, which was a fabulous first experience. Progressively, I began to specialize in design. Those years witnessed the birth of a new generation of French designers, galleries, editors and auction houses. I began to accompany communications projects and later became a director of collections, first as the Head of Design at Swarovski and later for other global brands. Then came the challenging and fulfilling experience of being a web entrepreneur. I learned more about the environment, the actors, the processes, the specific market. Gradually, I became deeply involved in a broad array of business development projects requiring strategic vision, organization and an international network. I’ve always been connected to design, but also to craftsmanship.
Why will the event in Lebanon be of interest to people?
On a very personal level, I think Beirut Design Fair is a powerful project with much promise, and I love challenges.
Beirut Design Fair’s aim is to bring a new vision of design creativity. Every location offers the possibility for original cultural exchanges based on the specificities of the place: sensibility, lifestyle, customs, perception and taste. This is precisely why I find the organization of such an event in such a culturally fertile place so interesting. Not to mention the incredible energy of the city and its citizens—including the diaspora who remain so deeply connected to this very special country.
Why did you choose to hold the fair in Beirut? What are some of the interesting things happening in and around Lebanon?
The choice of Beirut was made by Guillaume Taslé d’Héliand, Beirut Design Fair’s founder. He wanted a place situated between Asia and Europe, in order to promote synergy and to enhance creativity. There are few spots in the world where both influences are present. Lebanon is one of these, both in terms of the breadth and vitality of its culture, and the place it occupies in the cultural imagination. Its people put an extraordinary value on creativity and quality. There’s a very unique sense of taste, a rare sort of energy that you can only experience there. And often I’m surprised by the degree of freedom that exists in the country—in that region of the world! For these reasons the project requires not only significant attention, but also major investment.
Can you tell us about how you are cultivating the fair’s legitimacy and interest among local and international buyers at a time of increasing “virtuality” in the design sector?
Nothing replaces human contact! Especially when it comes to a design piece. You live with it, it brings poetry to the interior of your home, its soul becomes part of your daily life. That’s why a new design rendez-vous needs to be THE experience—the real thing. It has to be an occasion for people to absorb the whole experience, to get a sense of the life of the place, to discover new pieces in an exciting creative setting.
.How can people find out more about the event?
Social networks – Facebook, Instagram, etc. – are the best way to stay up to date and to share information. There’s also our newsletter and website…