Enigma and Nostalgia

Built Area: 425 m²
Status: Executed
Location: Verdun - Beirut, Lebanon
Category: Residential / Interior

An unlikely yet luxuriously exquisite fusion between grandiose baroque gestures and demure contemporary backdrops, space, light, colors, furniture, fabrics and objects that are masterfully crafted together to create cutting-edge design and spirited vitality.

In the early 1930’s modernist- inspired style destined to rid architecture from is superfluous and overly ornate, the main challenge was to fashion ‘a most with the least approach’ to interior architecture. Another challenge was the homeowner’s request to incorporate a rather stately and sumptuously crafted dark oak baroque dining room table inherited from the previous owners into this modern design _ a request that ended up establishing the apartment’s piece de resistance projecting a spirit and a soul from a bygone era into a contemporary ambiance.

From the entrance the fluid flow of colors constructs the minimalist approach for the loft-like open plan where movement diverts the eye from one majestically staged object to the next. Delineating the entrance from the family room a whimsical thin metallic sheet of baroque-inspired motifs embellished with delicate sparkling crystals drops from the ceiling and sparkles under a row of directed lighting. An ebony separation was introduced to cast a degree of privacy from the formal reception lounge. Through a single inset inside the separation hangs a long tear-shaped GLO crystal drop. The family room intimate but open ambience is accented by the octagonal domed skylight in the center of the room and the Venetian mirror echoing reflections of light on the walls. In the entrance hall a unique modern Islamic art piece of the ninety nine different games given to God captures the attention, on either side of the entrance, vast spaces invite guests to relax as the main lounge area catches a rare panoramic view of Beirut and the sea.  An area of freedom and lightness picking up the same geometric organization, straight lines and symmetry found throughout the home. The sleek Crimson red Hermes main lounge U-shaped sofa from Poltrona Frau around a Nada Debs Ellipse table. The reception area features on its main wall a painting ‘Scissors’ by Chinese artist Mao Xuhui an acquisition from the time the couple lived in Singapore. An adjacent oversized ottoman upholster in rich en-trelacs stitched fabric connects the main lounge seating area to the rest of the space. It faces a long sleek white fireplace, atop, a flat TV combines convenience with aesthetics.  At the foot of the wall element, a recessed lit lava rock shelf holds a poignant tribute to a sad day in Lebanon’s recent history, created by artist Samar Mougharbil, the mock up cars were commissioned to re-enact the scene that lead to the assassination of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafic Harriri. Directly opposite, the World, a graceful and slender human shape holding a sphere adorns a modern dark oak console. The space transitions into a less formal but equally inviting small white room with comfortable seating, also designed by Poltrona Frau.

The dining room table with its solemn forms finely carved, beautifully restored in glossy jet black color, and an exquisite crystal chandelier extending immaculately from molded ceiling heighten the theatrical atmosphere. The large wall behind the dining room table with heavy molded white wall paneling and recessed lighting features two niches on either side of an oversized inset portrait of Mao Zedong entitled AK 47. At the opposite wall Chen Liang White House series, another prized acquisition by the owners, depicting the iconic edifice turning bright red with each painting. It gradually breaks the black and white dichotomy an allegory of communism exercising its supremacy over western capitalism.

The private quarters, offer an invitation to relax in a simple décor in their overriding straight lines and color. Room furnishings are discrete with floor to ceiling high wardrobe cabinets blending seamlessly into walls. The residence is a culmination of know-how, craftsmanship and elegance, authentic and far from the mundane, true to the stark but rich modernist perspective it engages to achieve.