Hicham Lahlou : halfway between design and contemporary art, the Moroccan designer imposes his own style on the international stage

Ceiling by Hicham Lahlou © Photo François Mallet

LAHLOU Hicham-PP-N&B-KP-8896-FP-LOGO(1)The year is smoothly coming to the end for Hicham Lahlou. The 45-year-old designer has just joined the WDO‘s Board of Directors. Elected last October for a two-year-period, Hicham Lalhou is going to bear the colours of Africa and have it shined on the international stage throuhout his term. A mission that is largely within his reach and for which he plans to conduct skillfully.

With more than 20-year-experience for himself, the Académie Charpentier ‘s ex-student is exercising with talent in the creative design industry. This workaholic realises very soon that no effort must be spared if one wishes to achieve success. « I always have that fighting spirit, moving forward, thinking as if I always had to start from scratch », he said. Far from comforting to  the idea that all things are a permanent achievement, the designer often carries out self-examination. « I have the capacity to have the humility to keep my feet firmly on the ground ». This life philosophy, bound to his value and education, requires him to approach each new project from a fresh perspective.

That particularly enables him to consider design as a multidisciplinary sector and to shift towards design thinking at the age of  15 to 17. « This is a way of thinking which needs to adapt situations. If one wants to design furniture for a city…well, a city has an identity, it has its history ». According to him, the difficulty lies on how that furniture can fit the cityscape and how it is going to be perceived by the consumer, hence the importance to put the user at the heart of thinking.

Sush box Casablanca Hicham Lalhou
Sushi Box Casablanca – Projet entièrement réalisé par Hicham Lahlou ©Hicham Lahlou

Invited from all around the world, Hicham Lahlou made a stopover at the  Paris AKAA Fair last month, just the time to introduce « some innovating pieces of work, halfway between design and contemporary art ». Pieces  that currently make him a key design leader in the African continent and have him been awarded by the insignia of « Chevalier » of the « Ordre des arts et des lettres » in 2016.

The year 2018 augers extremely well. He should confirm the second edition of Africa Design Days as an organiser and fulfil his assignment within the WDO together with all the new projects that come to him. We wish him a great success.

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1:54, Clap sur le parcours atypique de l’artiste marocain Hassan Hajjaj

Hassan Hajjaj est un artiste multi-disciplinaire originaire de Larache, dans le nord du Maroc. Il s’installe en Angleterre à l’âge de 13 ans et découvre la scène urbaine londonienne, le hip-hop, le reggae, l’ambiance des clubs dont il va s’inspirer et mixer le tout avec ses origines nord-africaines pour créer un style qui lui est propre. Cet amoureux des arts, comme il se définit, s’illustre dans plusieurs disciplines  : la photographie, le design et la scénographie. Il vit actuellement entre Londres et Marrakech et son travail est exposé aux Etats-Unis, en Angleterre, en France, à Dubaï ou encore encore en Tunisie.

Pourtant, rien n’était gagné pour Hassan. Je suis sorti de l’école sans qualification et j’ai exercé dans plusieurs activités avant de m’orienter vers les arts. Je dirigeais des clubs de nuit, j’avais une boutique de prêt à porter, je produisais des vidéoclips, j’étais assistant styliste…Ce sont toutes ces formations qui m’ont amené là où je suis aujourd’hui …J’ai commencé à exercer dans les arts en 1993, nous dit-il.

Ses sujets de prédilection sont les peuples, la culture et la tradition. En détournant des objets de la grande consommation, l’artiste crée des univers ludiques où se mêlent les styles de tout genre. Sélectionné dans la catégorie « Projets spéciaux »  du 1:54 (Foire internationale d’art contemporain d’Afrique), Hassan Hajjaj a imaginé un espace unique inspiré de son héritage marocain et réalisé à partir d’objets recyclés. Quand je vivais au Maroc, juste avant d’arriver en Angleterre, le recyclage faisait partie de la vie quotidienne et je l’ai incorporé naturellement à mes créations, confit-il à Afrique sur scène. J’aimerais partager mon travail avec toutes les personnes concernés de près ou de loin par l’art.

En attendant, Hassan Hajjaj a accepté de partager avec Afrique sur scène cette photo du grand Keziah Jones, extraite de sa série « Mes rock stars », une image qui représente à la fois le passé, le présent et le futur…intemporelle.

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Exposition 1:54

Somerset House
Londres

Du 15 au 18 octobre 2015

L’artiste travaille actuellement sur ses prochaines expositions solo :

Gallery The Third Line à Dubaï , ensemble de travaux sur la gym arabe

Gallery Taymour Grahne à New-York, Pin-ups arabes

Vous pouvez découvrir ses travaux sur sa page Facebook

Hassan Hajjaj is a multidisciplinary artist originated from Larache, in the north of Morocco. He moves to England at the age of 13 and discovers the London urban scene, hip-hop, reggae, and clubs that he takes inpiration from and mixes the whole with his North-African origins to create his own style. This Art fan, as he calls himself, operates in the field of photography, design and scenography. He currently lives between London and Marrakech and his artwork is shown in the United States, England, France, Dubaï or Tunisia.

However, nothing was self evident for Hassan. »I came out of shool with no qualification and got involved with many things before art : running clubs, managing a boutique selling fashion, working on music videos and also as an assistant stylist…I started doing art from 1993″, he reveals us.

His favourite topics are people, tradition and culture. By displacing consumer goods from their right places, the artist creates entertaining and freaking universes. Selected in the « Special projects » of the 1:54 (Contemporary African Art Fair) he has designed a unique lounge inspired from his Moroccan heritage and made from recylcled objects. « When I was still living in Morocco before coming to UK, recycling was part of everyday life and this has come out in my work naturally », he says to Afrique sur scene. « I would like to share my work with all of people from art to someone who normally not interested in art ».

Meanwhile, Hassan Hajjaj has accepted to share with Afrique sur scene this photo of the amazing Keziah Jones which is part of his series « My rock stars », a picture that represents the past, the present and the future at the same time…timeless.

1:54 Exhibition

Somerset House
London

From 15th to 18th october 2015

The artist is currently working on his next solo exhibitions :

Gallery The Third Line in Dubaï , body of work on arabic gym

Gallery Taymour Grahne in New-York, Arabic Pin-ups

You can discover his work on his Facebook page.