Born in Ivory Coast, Jean Servais Somian is a designer, cabinetmaker, and sculptor, known for his abilities to transform wood, his material of choice. He is a very sharp artist in terms of finishes, and he introduced the original color into his works. Inspired by nature, Somian works with ebony, coconut, or amazaque wood. His pieces, an example of hybrid art and mixed influences, revisit everyday African objects such as old canoes transformed into sofas, trunks of coconut trees that become mirrors, bookcases, or plastic basins overturned and topped with wax cushions, and many more. For many years, Somian lived between Africa and Europe – being trained at the age of 16 with the Lebanese Georges Ghandour and working at the cabinet-making center of Ghandour in Abidjan; in Europe, he worked with the craftsman of Grand-Bassam then in Lausanne within the agency of design Daniel Beck. Produced in small series and endowed with a strong personality, his pieces, which sometimes border on sculpture, are nonetheless functional and utilitarian.
Featured image: Jean Servais Somian - Tabourets
dentelle, 2020. Coconut tree lacquered with blue, yellow and red. 17 7/10 × 9
2/5 in. 45 × 24 cm. This work is part of a limited edition set. Photo courtesy