Founder of Design da Gema
An artist designer, David has Lebanese and Uruguaian origins and grew up between France, the United States and Brazil, making him not only a true Brazilian but also a citizen of the world. David graduated with a masters in Interior Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States and Product Design from Domus Academy in Milan. He is the recipient of an A' Prime Design Award, IF Materials Design Award, the Esther Pine Prize and the Leonard Bernstein Grant in Fine Arts. Some of David's work is part of important private collections most notably the Pinault Art Collection. David founded Design da Gema after working with the Campana Brothers in 2010 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Da Gema ?
This is how the local inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro are called ('Carioca da Gema', meaning 'Carioca of the Egg Yolk') whose roots come from the native indians (tupi-guarani). Da Gema is a manifesto of designer David Elia, founder of the brand, who, since his childhood, has been in a deep resonance with Rio de Janeiro. The studio Design Da Gema embodies the pureness of Brazil's vision, whose epitome is drawn by the vision of its designer.
Both a Design studio and small production unit, Design Da Gema is based in Rio de Janeiro and in Monaco, where it will enable the brazilian fantasy to shine through all 5 continents.
The roots of creation
The soil of Rio de Janeiro is deeply creative and is fed by strong pulses of life that energize its inhabitants. Coastal and mountainous, rich in great contrasts, both in its urban jungle and its landscapes, the city inspires all artists who live in this colourful environment. Life and death constantly collide side by side, without compromising the vividness of the place.
Studio Design Da Gema was born between samba and open air bazaars of Rio's city center, displaying original artifacts, whose materials are as improbable as they are graphic. An aficionado of Rio, David Elia exhibits his vision of Brazil at the top artistic gatherings worldwide, offering reels, shellfish, mollusk, stray bullets and carnivoras as colorful design items.
Latin America, United States, Europe, as many continents as influences, the vision of David Elia is plural, mixed by his family roots, always oriented towards art, in all its forms. All these trips are a source of inspiration where different cultures are discovered conjuring new visions and awakening the senses for the artist's creations.
Melting pot of objects, research and ideas, the studio Design Da Gema is like a crucible where metal, material, textures and colors clash into each other. The experiments are multicolored, and the magic of the creation brings nuggets that are full of nuances and storytelling.
Transformation of objects and recovery of materials
At the core of Brazilian and Carioca culture, the recovery and transformation of everyday objects and materials into something else other than its original function is almost like a lifestyle. Whether on the huge open-air bazaar of the Rio city center, or in the small shops of the city, many diverse objects, textiles and materials (plastic,glass...) are a pretext to compose, reconstruct, and re-adapt giving them a second life.
This state of mind is the basis of David Elia's work: ''The Carioca spirit is very spontaneous. It symbolizes the ability to cope with everything, instantaneously. That's what I convey in my design.''
For David Elia, life is his main source of inspiration. By observing what surrounds him, he frames his artwork and transcends his everyday perception. Everything is a pretext for creation, and takes shape in an unexpected way. David Elia's artwork speaks about Life, and reflects it.
Behind the picture of Rio de Janeiro, its pristine sandy beaches, its carnival or the Corcovado, lies a very different reality, where the favelas are the scene of daily violence and insecurity between cartels and military police.
But the Cariocas, as they often do for everything that is related to art, recover violence and anger turning them into creative energy. Here more than anywhere, life is stronger than death. This state of urgency encourages them to enjoy every moment, generates vivid colors, breathtaking music rhythms, and beautiful dances. This idea can be best illustrated by the world renowned carnival of Rio.
This theme of violence was never really explored in design. The Studio Design da Gema has made it a manifesto. The collection 'Stray Bullet' opens a window into this world as well as one's conscience. And this is just the beginning
MA Design, Domus Academy - Italy2007
MIA, Masters Interior Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design - USA
BA, Fine Arts, Brandeis University - USA2002
Certificate Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design Summer Program - USA2000
French Baccalaureat, L - Lycee Albert 1er - MonacoEXHIBITIONS2014
New Territories: Design, Art and Craft in Global Latin America, 2000-2013 - MAD Museum, New York 2012
Collection 'Bobina' Natural color Tray sold at the MoMA Design Store during Springtime - New York2011
Collection 'Bala Perdida' Chair present at the L&M Arts Gallery - NYC
Collection 'Bala Perdida' Chair exhibited at the Hong Kong Art Fair, L&M Arts - New YorkEXPERIENCE2010
Junior Designer at Studio Fernando & Humberto Campana - Sao Paulo, Brazil2007
Junior Designer at Djandji Interior Design - Monaco2006
Intern at Moshe Safdie and Associates - Cambridge, USADESIGN COMPETITIONS / ART RESIDENCIES2011
A' Design Award in Arts, Crafts and Ready-Made Design for the tray artwork 'Bobina' - Italy2010
International Forum Materials Design Award for the project Capella Acoustic Tile - Germany2004
Esther Pine Memorial Prize in Fine Arts - USA
Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Arts Grant for the sculpture project Architectonica - USAPUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
The Francois Pinault Collection - Paris, France
Charity Auction by Brazil Monaco Project, 'Desmatamento' Chair sold for 18,000 Eur - Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Paula Cussi Latin American Art Collection - Monte-Carlo, Monaco