Is it… an art gallery? No. Is it… a furniture store? Not quite. So what on earth is Yabe & Yamo?
Think of practical items, but with a flare for style... A funky arm chair for example; not a set, just the one... A playful salt-shaker... A tea-cup that insulates and also teases your intellect with cross-cultural designs... A sleek coffee table that is also a space-efficient book-shelf... Yes, that is Yabe & Yamo, the first ever Design Store in the Middle East.
Not the place for the mass-produced, Yabe & Yamo is where creativity and innovation come together with functionality. Created by Michel and Salma Zayat, Yabe &Yamo presents its own designer line which has evolved out of a deeply artistic and architectural experience, resulting with an elegant and rational style, clear shapes, clear lines, and yet an innovative manipulation of space. Yabe & Yamo also brings to the fore international designer works, thanks to its pro-active attitude towards searching for interesting designers from all over the world. “We have designs for Japanese designers, Turkish designers, French, Danish, Italian…” says Salma, “and they’re usually pretty excited about being contacted by a Damascus based company!”
The idea around Yabe & Yamo is to just come and have a look...get exposed to what designers are making. “The people who come here are not looking for something they need,” says Michel, “but they’re going to find something they love.” That is Yabe & Yamo. The name is set to be an international buzz-word for this Damascus-centered world of contemporary design.
Another facet of Yabe & Yamo is educational. “People may have been using designer objects all along without even realizing that the chair they are sitting on is a museum piece in the history of modern design,” says Michel, referring to the locally popular Philippe Starck chair that is displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Starck is just one of the designer’s products on display, thus living up to The Khan’s name as a gathering point for wares and original products from all over the world.
A modest art, architecture, and design library is also part of Yabe & Yamo’s store, so that visitors have the latest publications available, especially since book covers and magazines are an essential part of the designer world. The idea is for visitors to begin to recognize certain designers, to appreciate the novelty and the playfulness that drives many of these works, and of course, the functionality. Solutions for modern spaces and modern living...solutions with style.
Yabe and Yamo is a tasteful compliment to The Khan as meeting point of contemporary culture. The name is also a wonderful innovation, a deeply Arab Damascene colloquialism that can also pass phonetically for an Italian phrase – birth place of modern design! Or perhaps even Japanese, depending on your accent of choice. Have fun with it!
On the ground floor are The Khan’s Villa Moda and Khanoum, focused on the world of high fashion. On the upper floor of The Khan, Saboon revives the ancient crafts and traditional productions of Damascene heritage with new designs and packaging. There is Tajalliyat, dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art, particularly painting and sculptures, both by Syrian artists and also Regional artists. And then there is Yabe & Yamo, neither art for art’s sake, nor fashion to wear, but everything else in between. Things that make your life easier... Things to make your dwelling distinguished… unique… and also more fun! From books and artsy chairs to kettles and kitchen wares, Yabe and Yamo is a place to spice up your living space by inspired designs.