After graduation, Karen worked in Milan for a number of years. During this period, one of her first designs – a suspended hanger system entitled Mobil – was produced by EDRA.
In 2001, she returned to Beirut and opened Karen Chekerdjian Studio. Beginning as more of a conceptual think-tank, dedicated to exploring new ideas in design, the Studio has gradually become more focussed on production; furniture and everyday objects in small series, limited editions and made-to-order commissions. The Studio also takes on interior design projects, which have included restaurants, a hotel, retail stores and most recently, Maison Rabih Kayrouz, the flagship Beirut boutique of the Lebanese couturier.
Karen Chekerdjian Store opened in 2010 in the up-and-coming Beirut Port neighbourhood. The Store showcases Karen's work and also stocks a thoughtful selection of items produced by other people ranging from design objects to specialty food items. Karen's work is displayed at a number of boutiques around Beirut and Milan, chief amongst them contemporary Middle Eastern handicrafts boutique Orient 499, the city's premier vintage furniture stockists XXe Siècle, and the famous Nilufar Gallery on Via della Spiga.
Karen regularly participates in some of the biggest annual design fairs, including New York's ICFF, Milan's Salone del Mobile, Cologne's Mobelmesse and Paris' Furniture Fair. Her work has also been displayed at a number of international exhibitions, amongst them Utopi (Copenhagen), Beyond the Myth (a pan-European show), Promosedia 2007 (Milan), Northern Lights (Tokyo) and ECHO (Beirut) and at galleries ranging from The Issey Miyake Foundation (Tokyo) and Spazio Orlandi Gallery and Nilufar Gallery (Milan) and Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut).
Upon returning to Lebanon from Italy, Karen was faced with a number of challenges, chiefly in terms of the availability of materials and manufacturing techniques. She soon realized she ..