I've seen the work of these designers, Maria Hibri and Hoda Baroudi, here and there, and been stimulated and inspired by their unique compositions in upholstery, but I never really explored their background until today. I saw some of their pieces on Eclectic Gipsyland's Flickr and I proceeded to meander down the internet garden path. I'll share with you what I found.
There is a Parisian shop, Zen Factory, who carries their original furniture designs. Here is an excerpt from their web site:
"Hoda Baroudi was born in Sidon in 1958 and Maria Hibri in Beirut in 1964. They grew in two of the oldest cities of the world..."
"...Hoda unearthed in their country of origin, in Central Asia and the Middle-East, all kinds of ancient fabrics, embroidered or printed - brocart of Damas, sarma of Alep, Beirut or Turkey, chatma Othoman or suzani of Ouzbékistan - each piece having its specific use, each region having its characteristic colors and motifs, fabrics of sometimes more than 100 years old. Maria has a passion for antiquities and traditional furniture to which she devotes many styles."
In more peaceful times Hoda and Maria were noted in an article on the Lebanese Lobby web site (2004):
"Maria Hibri and Hoda Baroudi's design firm Bokja keeps the bohemian set happy by upholstering old furniture in vintage textiles and selling it at invitation-only exhibitions."
They have since moved from Beirut.
What follows is an excerpt from an interview with a CNN reporter during the war in Lebanon last summer:
"ROBERTSON (voice-over): Hoda Baroudi, a designer, tells me she moved her family out of Beirut to the mountains for safety.
BAROUDI: I lived in Beirut throughout the whole war years, until '89 and I've had enough. I don't want to hear anything. I don't want to know anything and I want to be out of all this."
Scroll to the bottom of the page on the Zen Factory site for a link to view the catalog of this strong and dynamic pair of women. Their work is also distributed by Masina House of Dubai, United Arab of Emirates, who also have a showroom in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.