Sizar Alexis merges ancient culture and Scandinavian functionality
”Most of the inspiration comes from Brutalism’s monolithic and geometric traits,” the praised designer tells.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
June 30, 2021
The Iraqi-born Swedish product and furniture designer graduated from Beckmans College of Design with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in the summer of 2019. Shortly after that, he started his own design studio in his hometown Eskilstuna.
— In designing new objects, he tells, I experiment with functional sculptures that display serenity through geometrical shapes while remaining robust in volume. In my work, I express myself through cross-cultural influences from the ancient Mesopotamian culture, architecture, and the functionality so typical in the Scandinavian design philosophy. However, most of the inspiration comes from Brutalism’s monolithic and geometric traits, eventuated in a collection of unique artisanal items.
Alexis has received great praise for Pilier, a series of boldly sculpted furnitures and objects in blackened steel.
— It consists of a side table, two trays, and a sideboard, with a vase and a larger tray to be released soon. The collection acknowledges the early Mesopotamian invention of metalworking and is also a nod to my current hometown Eskilstuna’s steel industry as it’s made in steel without any welds. It’s a series that show appreciation of the raw metal feel and texture. A symbiosis between craftsmanship and industrial production. It’s assembled by me in my design studio in Eskilstuna, where various parts go into one and another then locked in place by custom made threaded pins and nuts that looks like the supporting pillars, produced in a metal tool factory where my father works in Eskilstuna.
Alexis’ Girra collection is a line of blackened steel candle holders named after the Mesopotamian god of fire and light. The candlesticks feature a stepped shape found in ziggurat towers. Another blackened steel item is Accessories Steel, a series of bowls available in two different diameters and heights. At the Inside Swedish Design show during this year’s Stockholm Design Week, Alexis also premiered the Ode series.
— It’s an ode to the aesthetics and the interesting perfect form of the historical hexagon. The hexagon has more to it than we think, and some of the aspects of this shape are still mysterious. The use of the form dates back to ancient Mesopotamia around 690 BC in the form of hexagonal-shaped cuneiform of the Assyrian king Sennacherib’s annals and is one of the first humans found to utilize hexagonal shapes.
The series comes in natural solid pine or burned pine, a wood that is found aplenty in Sweden’s dense forests, that gives it its character and tactility in the visible wavy woodgrains.
— I opt to work with natural materials that are found in abundance in the Swedish landscape — materials that stand the test of time and look better with age. I believe we as humans are drawn to these materials; they have the ability to ground us deeper in our true nature, in a world that is increasingly divided, he tells.
This fall sees Alexis being a part of Wallpaper magazine’s Discovered project, where the pieces are currently produced, expected to be unveiled in a special exhibition at London Design Museum in September.