Exploring the journey and designs of Beirut-based Borgi | Bastormagi

Beirut-based design studio Borgi | Bastormagi is headed by Nada Borgi and Etienne Bastormagi as they share many interests and a matching professional journey. Trained as architects and urban planners, they both worked in large practices before establishing their own individual architecture studios. Borgi | Bastormagi was founded in 2017, when Nada and Etienne were invited to participate in Milan’s Fuori Salone with their [me]rror project, an installation designed to reflect fragmented body parts. Both Nada and Etienne live and work in Beirut, drawing inspiration from their surroundings and daily lives. Fusing tradition with modernity, their designs are influenced by everyone’s attempt to find moments of balance and harmony amidst the chaos of the city. In their free time, they used to spend long hours in cafes drawing in their sketchbooks. Drawing nights eventually became more focussed on product design. Etienne’s artistic background and Nada’s interest in designing through narratives drafted the vision of Borgi | Bastormagi.

Their creations hold an urban dimension, while putting the user at the centre of the design – they aim to question the relationship between body and space, suggesting different behavioural patterns and offering playful experiences that defeat gravity and equilibrium. The choice of materials is based on Borgi | Bastormagi’s inclination for minimalistic forms and techniques. Recent projects include a three-piece furniture collection named Hyphens which was showcased at Maison & Objet in Paris in September 2019, and a range of objects designed for the Sursock Museum Store in Beirut. At IMM Cologne 2019, Nada and Etienne presented Beirutitude: Design & Architecture in Revolutionary Times, a talk exploring design processes in Beirut’s current political landscape. Nada and Etienne’s new collection called ‘Shaping 90’ reflects their interest in challenging gravity and redefining balance. With Shaping 90 the design duo re-thinks the corner by proposing three multi-functional pieces for daily use – the Fillet shelving unit, the Pivot series of mirrors and the Bevel light.

The urban landscape is a key source of inspiration for the studio. With their latest designs, Borgi|Bastormagi explore corner conditions and guidelines in the urban realm applying similar processes to their pieces.