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|Birth name|| Michael Aram Wolohojian|
|Other names|| Michael Aram|
|Birthplace|| Providence, Rhode Island|
|Birth date|| 1963|
|Lived in|| New York, New Delhi|
|Education|| Bates College|
Michael Aram (born in 1963 in Providence, Rhode Island, United States) is a renowned metal-ware designer. He launched his first collection in 1989 after taking a trip to India where he began working with traditional artisanal techniques. Michael Aram sells his work in over 600 locations worldwide and opened his first namesake boutique in Manhattan in 2007.
Born Michael Aram Wolohojian in Providence, Rhode Island in 1963, Aram grew up in a tightly-knit Armenian family in Scarsdale, New York. After graduating from High School where his creative and artistic leanings were already evident, he obtained a degree in Art History from Bates College. He studied fine-art in Florence, Italy at the Studio Art Center International and the University of Florence. Back in New York, he attended the New York Art Students League before taking a job designing books and posters in the editorial department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
But it was shortly thereafter, while travelling through India that Michael Aram became enamored of the exquisite handcrafted metalwork which was still being produced using time-honored methods such as sand casting and hand forging. Aram immediately began studying metal-craft techniques and started working with local craftsmen on pieces of his own design. Aram was hooked—the rest is design history.
The designer currently lives between New Delhi and New York City with his husband Aret Tikiryan and their two children, Anabel and Thadeus.
Aram designs home furnishings, tableware and jewelry which reflect the natural world. In addition to the Michael Aram flagship stores located at 136 West 18th Street in New York City and 157 North Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, there are Michael Aram “shop-in-shops” in Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and some Macy’s stores. Michael Aram employs over 200 artisans in its workshop which operates out of Delhi, India
Migrations - Armenian Genocide Memorial
In 2015 Aram was selected by The Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America to create a sculpture in remembrance of centennial of the Armenian Genocide. It was unveiled at a ceremony on October 6 at the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral located at 630 Second Avenue and 34th Street.
The piece serves as a testimony of survival and triumphed existence. “There’s something metaphorical about seeing Armenia tipped on its side, literally turned upside down by what happened 100 years ago,” says the artist.
Aram worked with historians to determine the shape of the map representing Armenian territories before lands were seized and people were eradicated and forced out. The polished vertical shape references Khatchkars, which are stone cross markers characteristic of Medieval Christian Armenian art. With the tall, looming structure built from polished stainless steel, the artist envisioned a large crack in the shape of the historic map. He then tipped the map on its side, and sculpted darkened bronze birds fleeing through the gap.
“The birds represent various forms of migration. The migration of Armenians all over the world; the migration of souls; and also the migration of spirit. Some of the birds are silent, some are shrieking and some are in shock and lost” says the artist. “Many Armenians who managed to survive were separated from their families. It changed the country forever and millions lost their lives.”
While Migrations is a memorial to the events of 1915, Aram hopes that whoever looks at the piece will be moved by seeing their own image in the mirror of polished steel as a reflection of their own family story of migration.
Noah's Ark - Gift to Pope Francis
In 2016, the Armenian government invited Aram to create a sculpture for Pope Francis on behalf of the Armenian people. Aram chose to create Noah's Ark because of its significance to the people of Armenia. The grape vine is symbolic as the first thing Noah planted when he came down from Mount Ararat in historic Armenia. The Toufa Stone base is from Mount Ararat and the dove with olive branch represents the first sign of life. The letter "eh" on the hull represents God, as the sound it creates is that of breath, and it is the word for "is" in the Armenian language. It was presented to Pope Francis on June 26 and will be permanently installed at the Vatican. As a symbol of new beginnings, refugee children from Syria and the Middle East poured water and soil from their home countries into the Ark during the ceremony.
“I have represented Ararat and the Ark before in my work as a universal symbol of life and renewal - narrating a story that has deep meaning across various cultures and world religions,” says Aram. “As I made the piece, I was thinking of the children that the Pope would meet and how, in some way, the piece would be symbolic of their salvation and life in a new land.”
Michael Aram collaborated with Waterford Crystal, under the brand “Michael Aram for Waterford”, designing porcelain and crystal. He also designed the “Michael Aram for Hartmann” line of luggage, and launched a new brand called “MADhouse” (Michael Aram Design house) which produces paper products and melamine giftware. Most recently, Aram announced a collaboration with Artistic Tile.
Awards and Recognition
Michael Aram has received numerous recognitions and awards in his career, including: • Metropolitan Home’s “Design 100” (1994) • Designer of the Year Award by Elle Décor India (2003) • The Overall Excellence in Design Award, New York International Gift Show (2003) • Retailer Excellence (2011) and Gift for Life Industry Achievement Award (2011) • Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2012) • The EDIDA (Elle Décor India Design Forum) Award (2013)
A:Coveted Crib: Michael Aram's West Village Wonder, Casa Sugar, August 1, 2008
B: L.A. at Home: Designer Michael Aram and the secrets to keeping summer party guests happy, Los Angeles Times, Home and Garden section, 2009 Template:AFC submission