Cypriot-born, London-based designer Michael Anastassiades is known for transcending the distinctions between different fields of creativity. With a background as a civil engineer before studying industrial design at the Royal College of Art, Michael’s practice is informed by a poetic yet rigorous interpretation of technology, material and functions.
His career spans more than 20 years and encompasses lighting, furniture and objects. Positioned between fine art and design, Michael’s work is featured in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and many more. He has also held a number of solo exhibitions around the world.
Michael collaborates with various design companies, including the likes of Cassina and Kettal, and also has his own eponymous brand which allows him to create designer lighting and objects that are artworks in themselves.
Hosting Mobilia’s Design Circus event in 2017, Michael shared his process and the inspiration behind his work. The world-renowned designer now shares with us a hearty dish of baked giant beans, ‘gigantes’, which is commonly served in Greece.
250g giant beans, preferably those of Kozani (dried butter beans provide a good alternative in Australia)
1 bay leaf
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup stalks celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
¼ large red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and blended or 500g passata
1 ½ cups water or vegetable stock (or 1 organic vegetable cube with water)
1. Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water.
2. Drain and put them in a pot with fresh water and bring to a boil, removing any froth forming on top with a slotted ladle.
3. Drain them again and add fresh water as well as the bay leaf and bring to a boil.
4. Add salt, lower the heat and simmer until almost cooked (about 1 hour and 30 minutes).
5. Drain and discard the bay leaf.
6. Place the beans in a Pyrex dish in one layer.
7. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion until translucent.
8. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant.
9. Add the chopped celery, carrot and bell pepper. Sauté for a few minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
10. Add the tomato and mix.
11. Add vegetable stock or water with a vegetable cube and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
12. Preheat the oven to 200C. Pour the sauce over the beans, adding more water, if necessary, to cover.
13. Cover the Pyrex dish with aluminium foil and bake for about 1 hour and then remove the aluminium foil and mix.
14. Lower the heat to 180C and continue cooking for another half an hour, or until the beans absorb all the juices and the beans begin to caramelise.