Nour al Nimer: I was born and raised in Beirut, but I am of Turkish and Palestinian origin. I moved to London when I was 17 to complete my Foundation year in Fine Arts at Central St Martins. I was lucky enough to be able to explore and experiment with different disciplines during my foundation year from Sculpture to textiles and printmaking. Just like most 17 year olds I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. I began the year thinking I wanted to study Jewelry Design, by the end of it I specialized in Surface Print design and moved to the London college of Communication which used to be called The London College of printing. They are all part of the University of the Arts London.
I loved my major and enjoyed expressing my thoughts and emotions from one surface to another. I enjoyed working with a variety of mediums from textiles, wallpaper and ceramics to wood and plastic. The surfaces were endless and I found it so stimulating and inciting. I was awakened by the fact that surface design is everywhere around us, there is something very meditative about all the patterns that surround us when you become aware of it. Whether the design is digitally produced or handmade, functional or non-functional someone has to design the pattern, and a printmaker can create those patterns that you can then print over and over again, it can be endless.
My final degree show as an undergrad was a collection of plates and textiles based on the 2006 war in Lebanon and the bombarded neighborhoods in Dahieh. Completing my MA in Fine Arts felt then as a natural progression of things for me.
With the creation of Nimerology I am now able to combine my skills as an artist and designer to help create objects for the home that are functional and esthetically inspired by personal experiences. I love travelling and discovering new countries and cultures. There’s so much in this world to see…. My principal inspiration originates from my travels and materializes into the design of my themed limited edition chinaware using the highest quality European porcelain or bone china. Every collection is created and inspired by a place that I have visited and dear to me. My designs celebrate a riot of colors; they are narrative of my journey.
Growing up in Lebanon with my Palestinian and Turkish origins sparked my interest and appreciation for diversity in cultures, thoughts, beliefs and esthetics. I seek the understanding of diversity through my travels and human interactions and in turn try to translate my experiences into my craft.
NaN: It is a difficult question to answer – I love all my collections as they relate to different experiences and cherished memories. More recently I find myself using my “white on white” collection most frequently. I particularly enjoy mixing it with my vintage pieces.
NaN: I do use a mix of vintage plates that I collect from my travels and ceramics from local artisans. I think it’s great to put fancy dishes on display, but I like to use them. It’s very interesting when you think about how displaying dishes has evolved over the years. During the Renaissance period and Middle Ages wealthy households would display all their silverware on buffets to impress their guests and showcase their wealth. In the late 17th century architects in Europe designed rooms only to display the porcelain families were collecting. In the 18th century people lost interest in the over top display of china rooms, teahouses were the ideal place to show the treasures coming from the East. In the 19th century, new wealthy middle class families became interested in collecting artist ceramics and carefully displaying them in cabinets in the dining room or on their walls… so throughout history beautiful plates have been always tucked away somewhere, or just carefully displayed for show and only used for special occasions.
I’m a firm believer that if you have beautiful plates, you should use them on your table and share them with your family and friends over yummy meals. Don’t hide them. There are so many different pieces from all over the world that I collect and like to use – why stick to one brand? I most especially love vintage porcelain with an Asian influence such as Royal Crown derby, Worcester porcelain company, Spode, Crown Staffordshire for Tiffany and Co, Wedgwood and Meissen.
NaN: It all started with friendship and a mutual appreciation and love for each other’s work. I’m a big fan of Fahad and Shouq’s creativity and have the highest respect for what they are accomplishing as young designers and entrepreneurs. I enjoyed the process of collaboration around the theme “Zumurud” that they had picked for their new collection. We exchanged designs ideas over a couple of months, and both contributed and aligned on the final designs that was jewel-inspired.
NaN: I’m encouraged and excited to see so many talented Arab women emerge on the design scene. For example, I am a very big fan Najla El Zein , her story telling and the way she transforms her narrative into the material she uses; it’s so elegant , subtle and groundbreaking. Her first solo show “Transition” at Friedman Benda in New York last February was just mind blowing.
I have no doubt that this momentum will continue to have a higher representative of Arab women not only in the design world but beyond. I am still at the beginning of the Nimerology journey and there’s still a lot of work ahead to build awareness for the brand and extend the product offering.
NaN: Our next project is to launch our e-commerce platform before the end of the year. The next step will then be to establish a significance presence internationally. On the product side, my plan is to launch my next collection in October.