This project in particular has sentimental value to me. The Ghazale Residence is three-story villa which is a collaborative work between architect Gilbert Zarka and myself, Sahar Ghazale.
Located in Chtoura, in the beautiful Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, this residence stands out in terms of design. It is the only such architecture in the area, as opposed to the traditional designs surrounding it.
On the exterior facades, we used Basalt stone in both white and grey, and Béton brut (architectural concrete). You will notice several volumetric elements such as concrete pergolas, a 13m high chimney and high glass structures allowing as much light as possible into the house. One of the main features of the garden is the shallow pool with fountains and teak wood pergolas.
In more than one area there are double height voids and skylights. Even the basement enjoys natural sunlight through a garden continuing from the exterior to the interior. The main entrance boasts a long runway of stamped concrete in two different grey tones with contracting white sea stones flanking from both sides leading to a 3meter high solid walnut main door.
The owner is a person who loves his garden and cherishes every single plant, thus requested numerous water features and a beautiful olive tree he raised on a separate hill. Palm trees which are usually synonymous with humid and hot areas such as the gulf, composed a large portion of the plantation in the garden of this villa, something which is unusual for this specific location.
The interior design is a continuation of the exterior. The basalt stone continues to the inside on numerous walls. A red wall supports the main staircase. Apart from that all finishes are in neutral tones indicating luxury and simplicity. Wood used on the ground level is Palisander which contrasts beautifully with the dark tinted walnut doors. All doors were in the form of panels reaching ceiling height.
Most of the furniture used was from Roche Bobois, which is the owner’s favorite brand. Ceiling design is very simple. Lighting is mainly in the form of indirect lighting, halogen spotlights highlighted certain areas for warmer color effect. In future posts I will be introducing more interior photos of the different rooms on the upper floors.
For further information you can contact me directly on my contact page or email.
A few days ago, I was driving with my aunt; she is a smart lady, the kind of person you like from the first hello. We spotted an old white Rolls Royce passing by us and we started talking. She mentioned that she liked old cars, old fashion, old furniture specially 30 and 40’s. For her, they embedded a richness that people used to have in themselves, the showiness we experience nowadays but in a glamorous classy way. I tried to explain to her that furniture changed because our lives changed; palaces became villas and large homes became 3 bedrooms apartments. Not only kings and ministers own expensive furniture; now, everybody wants a Masterpiece in his house. In addition to the fact that life runs in a faster pace thus, as a joke, cleaning modern furniture is easier!
Then I started thinking; what was the real difference between the antique and the modern?
In the age of kings, the makers were not known. The furniture piece was called by the king’s era. No one ever heard of Charles Rohlfs or Thomas Chippendale or even George Hepplewhite who influenced the Regency era’s furniture. But I bet all the money in my pocket that nine of ten people can recognize Philip Stark or Le Corbusier or even Armani who started his home collection a few years ago.
Furniture in the past centuries relied on workmanship, full of moldings, animal and floral shapes. Furniture in the late 90 and 21st century relies on names and labels. The age of craftsmanship is over. Now is the time of designers!
Being more of a modern thinker, some would accuse me of trashing antique furniture, which is not true in anyway; I am sure these beautiful pieces have reached their purpose of showing off for the most ornamented piece in palaces of kings and queens. I am not elevating banality in design either, where four pieces of wood and a top make a table. I plead the case of creative modern design because they are down to earth, down to people who look for inspiration every day. The marketing movement made people believe that they are worthy of getting whatever they dream of. And they are!
While antique pieces sell richness and showiness, modern pieces sell esthetic and comfort. For me, a rich piece is not one with heavy ornament or even labeled by a famous designer; it is the piece that speaks to me, shares its rich visual in a space, bonds with the feeling and atmosphere that people are looking for.
The designer must sell his vision not his hand making, his concept not his label. Whether he/ she are marketing antique or modern designs, he/ she are reflecting a sentiment, a way of life and their vision to the buyer. I agree that everybody deserves to own treasures in their homes because everybody is allowed to realize their dreams.
So here is my vision: If your dream is to have a gigantic antique clock, buy it. If your dream is to have Le Corbusier’s relaxing chair, buy it. But don’t buy a Masterpiece to show off; buy a Masterpiece to fulfill its Master’s desire.
by Pascale Azzi – Interior Architect
I love how the UK based designers at Campaign came up with such an artistic and bold concept for Kirk Originals eyewear London flagship store. The shop is located on Conduit street and has become a design icon in a very short time.
There’s a new doll coming to the Barbie I Can Be… line this Fall 2011. It’s the Barbie I Can Be…Architect. The Barbie I Can Be line is truly showing girls that they can be anything they want to. From a vet or a movie star to a news anchor or an architect. In the 50 years of her career, this is the first time Barbie is an architect.
Girls can imagine designing their very own Dream House with Barbie® I Can Be…™ Architect. Ready to tackle the daily responsibilities of a real architect in or out of the office, Barbie® I Can Be…™ Architect includes a hard hat and a set of blue prints. Wearing an architecturally inspired dress showcasing a city skyline, Barbie® doll’s outfit is symmetrically stylish with bold colors and clean lines. In designing this doll, Barbie® partnered with the American Institute of Architects to keep Barbie® I Can Be… ™ Architect doll authentic to the career.
“New York City inspires and fuels everything I do. Donna Karan New York and DKNY embrace the energy of the city. One is luxe sophistication, the other is fast, hip and spirited. Both are modern and reflect how we live day into night. To me, they’re like caviar and pizza, a limousine and a taxi, the skyline and the street.” Donna Karan
You can only imagine what type of life a fashion designer as popular and hard working as Donna Karan could be leading. After a long hectic day and living in the “city that never sleeps”, the best haven to return to is one of minimal design yet with an elegant touch fit for an elegant designer.
Mash is an interesting concept in Stuttgart, Germany which serves as a café by day, restaurant for lunch and dinner, and a club by night designed by local architects Ippolito Fleitz.
The bar divides the elongated room into three clearly differentiated zones that can be used individually. Each of these zones can be further subdivided by means of string curtains. The main area can therefore be rescaled and redesigned at will according to the type and size of event, without ever losing its intimate feel.
Another world record broken by a Lebanese company. This time its not hummus or tabbouleh, but an elegant purse. Taking its inspiration from one of the world’s most epic tales of romance, intrigue and fantasy, Mouawad introduces the “The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse”. With a value of USD3.8 million, this breathtaking creation from the globally renowned House of Mouawad takes its place in the Guinness World Record as the most valuable handbag in the world.
“Just as the tales of Scheherazade have captivated readers with their intricately woven plots of uninhibited passion and daring, so the Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse is designed to mesmerize with its lavish attention to detail and elaborate workmanship incorporating thousands of diamonds,” said Pascal Mouawad, co-guardian of the House of Mouawad.
The heart-shaped purse, handcrafted from 18kt gold, incorporates 4,517 diamonds (105 yellow, 56 pink and 4,356 colorless) with a total weight of 381.92 carats. “To create this bejeweled masterpiece required the skills of 10 craftsmen working continuously over a period of four months and for a total of 1,100 hours” said Fred Mouawad, co-guardian of the House of Mouawad.
The exceptional level of craftsmanship exemplified by the Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse has been a hallmark of the Mouawad name since the company was founded in 1890. From those early days Mouawad rose to global prominence through its passion for precious gems and mastery in the art of creating some of the world’s most breathtaking jewelry. “The 1001 Nights Mouawad Diamond Purse” is the second record-breaking creation from the House of Mouawad.
Source: Mouawad Press Release
It seems that pop princess Britney Spears has just purchased a $20million mansion in the private Hidden Hills community a couple of miles from the $8.9 million property she currently lives in.
The new property sits on over three acres and boasts a massive 20,000 square feet of indoor space.
The pop princess’ new home is in the same community where superstars like Jennifer Lopez, the Osbournes and the Kardashians have all owned homes.
The mansion house has ten bedrooms and 13 bathrooms all with high ceilings and dark hardwood floors.
For their one millionth fan milestone on Facebook, German automaker Porsche thought of celebrating by coming out with a special exhibition inside the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart solely dedicated to a unique custom-made 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid . Starting February 11, 2011, the Porsche museum will be presenting a Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid adorned with the signatures of more than 27,000 Porsche Facebook fans.
The 911 GT3 R Hybrid was chosen for this extraordinary signature-gathering campaign because it impressively embodies the future of motorsport – with Porsche Intelligent Performance.
Spring will arrive early to New York this year. In an attempt to transform Park Avenue into a fanciful garden, Will Ryman creates 38 sculptures of rose blossoms towering as high as 25 feet, complimented by 20 individual scattered rose petals, to be installed along Park Avenue from January 25 through May 31, 2011.
Reflecting Ryman’s flair for the dramatic and absurdly wonderful, roses painted in shades of pink and red will spring up in vibrant contrast to the traditionally bleaker winter months preceding spring in the artist’s large-scale love letter to New York City.
I have to admit I am really flattered this blog has been named blog of the week on the Lebanon Aggregator. I am not sure if that or what Liliane had to say about it was more flattering. I am proud to be among this blogosphere and the Lebanese twitterverse for that matter.
Thank you again, I hope this blog will always be up to the standards. With your support I am sure it will be !
Feng shui, whether directly or indirectly, has become known worldwide and practiced by many people. With the introduction of “The Secret” and “The Power of Now” even more people have been exposed to the power of energy and positive thinking. What was once considered witchcraft and superstation has become a science we all live our daily lives by. In an earlier post I introduced you to the basic steps of Feng Shui and how to apply its principles around your home. Since it is Valentine’s, the day of love and romance, I thought I’d include some tips which can each be applied in 10 minutes or less to enhance your love life and attract it if it is missing. These tips are mainly to be applied to your bedroom and can be used by single or involved people. For clarification Ch’I is the “ flow of energy”, you will be reading this often in the below listed tips.
Mher Krikorian is a young talented photographer from Lebanon. I came across his work after following him on twitter and realizing his passion for what he does best, hang around Beirut and “Shoot with his Canon”.
His input is very touching, through his “Life is Awesome” collection, not only did he attach pamphlets with his own words, he spread them in a way that made passersby smile and even if for a moment, think of how “awesome” life is.
Named by The Guardian in its 2008 list of the World’s ten best bookshops, El Ateneo in Buenos Aires captured the awe of tourists and book lovers alike because of its grandiose architecture.
Built in 1919 by an Italian architect in the eclectic style, the theater entertained Buenos Aires for a decade with top-tier tango concerts, before it was converted into a popular cinema. In 2000, the building was leased by a publishing house and found new life as a bookstore. The amphitheater’s former 1,050-person seating area now contains El Ateneo’s 120,000 book titles. The beautiful central dome retains the original Romantic-style frescos by Italian, Nazareno Orlandi celebrating the end of the First World War.
Architecture firm Scott Brownrigg have completed phase 1 of the 40,000 sq ft London office of internet search engine Google, with a giant logo in the lobby forming doorways through the two Os. Designed with a Brighton beach theme, the interior is filled with dodgem cars used as work spaces, red telephone booths, beach huts and giant dice. Wallpaper in the meeting rooms and video conference booths is printed with seaside imagery.The space also includes a gym, spa center and restaurant offering free meals for the 300 strong staff.
As with many other Google offices worldwide, the office has a strong local theme. Joe Borrett and Jane Preston from Google, working with the Scott Brownrigg Interior Design team chose a theme of London-Brighton and as a result many iconic elements of both are incorporated into the office design.
Brightly colored timber beach huts are meeting rooms and giant colorful dice accommodate individual video conference booths, original dodgem cars and traditional red telephone booths are all work spaces available to staff and visitors.
In addition to visiting the lovely Maison & Objet in Paris last month, one of the other highlights of my trip was spending time with my best friend at Sephora. We made it a regular stop during our few days there just to make sure we didn’t forget anything. After shopping around for eyeliners and eye shadows I remembered I needed loose powder, I usually buff it over my foundation for a matte finish. On my way to the Makeup Forever stand, I came across Bare Minerals and remembered how I heard a lot about mineral makeup before. Then my curiosity made me check out their products.
Don’t get me wrong, I am totally against smoking in all forms. However, when you live in the Middle East you get used to the idea that many people plan their entire outing around the availability of the “Narghileh , Argeeleh, or hooka ”, if you boycott that, you might end up going out alone. Due to its “social aspect”, restaurants and cafes have been making it an integral part of their menus. Some even are dedicating a whole menu to its flavors. Since it has a very down to earth image, many have been working on altering its image by creating very stylish ones such as the Lebanese concept “Café Blanc”, I always thought they had the best looking narghile’s until I came across Airdiem at Maison et Objet last month.
In spite of all the non-smoking campaigns all over Europe, I was shocked with the number of smokers in France, and especially the large number of narghile users in the cafes on the Champs Elysee. Airdiem is a French company and the world’s leading manufacturer of today’s narghiles_ Over the past 4 years Airdiem and its team of international designers has brought a totally new approach to a product which is over 500 years old.Among their designers is the famous Nedda El Asmar who works for renowned names as Hermès, Puiforcat, Royal Boch, Eternum, Gense, Villeroy & Boch, Robbe & Berking, Obumex, Vange and Carl Mertens.
France has a tradition of producing the most outstanding narghiles and put the product on the world stage with designs by Baccarat and Saint Louis in the late 19’" century. Airdiem’s research and design team have created a modern version to suit demanding customers demands and lifestyle. Stable levels of heat are at the heart of the matter, their research and development teams have engineered a unique burner and selected materials that guarantee the constant flow of heat.
Airdiem are the suppliers for narghiles for luxury hotels and restaurants in the region. In Kuwait they are working with Missoni Hotel which will officially open very soon. Their product uses only high end finishes and has numerous accessories.
Let me know if you need any additional information.
Austrian chef Kurt Gutenbrunner opened his newest restaurant inside Swarovski’s 5,000-square-foot concept store in Soho last November. Café Kristall spread across two floors , is suitable for entertaining clients or small groups and is now available for rental for private events.
Clean and modern, the site has high ceilings, sleek beige furnishings, and white walls embellished with patterns made with Swarovski crystals. The dining room seats 24 in an open, airy space with a nine-seat bar. Downstairs, black-and-white photographs of stars like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe decorate the walls of the lounge, which doubles as an event space, holding as many as 60 for receptions. Groups of as many as 100 can buy out both floors; no rental fee is required, but there is a food and beverage service charge.
Gutenbrunner’s menu covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and includes items like weisswurst with sweet mustard and a warm pretzel, red beet terrine with horseradish mousse and organic greens, and apple strudel.
70 Mercer St., New York, NY 10012
Telephone: 212.240.9557 Ext.10
Ehrlich Architects have won first prize in the international design competition for the Federal National Council’s ‘New Parliament Building Complex’ in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The entry beat out a number of internationally recognized firms including Foster + Partners, Massimiliano Fuksas architects, and Zaha Hadid Architects.
The New Parliament embodies the unique identity of the United Arab Emirates: a modern society moving boldly into the future while retaining a strong connection to its history and traditions. “The New Parliament Building Complex will balance Islamic Heritage with U.A.E.’s global contemporary aspirations, where modernity and tradition are in harmonious balance,” explains Ehrlich Architects’ Design Principal, Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, RIBA. “The architecture for the FNC’s new home will communicate its increasingly vital role in the lives of all United Arab Emirates citizens.”
The winning entry for the new Parliament building melds familiar Arabic design language with contemporary form and the latest technological advances, creating meaning, maximum functionality and environmental sustainability. The design is anchored by a striking 100-meter-diameter dome structure, a soaring “flower-of-the-desert” which will create a shaded micro-environment while casting Islamic patterns of dappled light onto the white marble Assembly Hall.
The flanking Parliamentary buildings that house the majority of the offices, meeting halls, and visitors’ program, abstract the colors and textures of desert sand; the exterior expression of these structures is indebted to local historic buildings. In total, the complex will be a proud landmark for public gatherings as well as a model for conservation of the region’s precious resources.The site of the new Parliament conveys its significance as a public institution. It is located on Abu Dhabi Corniche, one of the grand processional boulevards in the country’s capital, where important civic events and celebrations take place. Facing the Arabian Gulf, the body of water shared by six of the seven Emirates, the new FNC complex will establish a governmental face at the seafront. Its dome will be visible for miles across the water and will glow dramatically at night.
Project info via designboom
Client: Federal National Council, United Arab Emirates
Design team: Steven Ehrlich, Patricia Rhee, Noah Marble, Guelsah Kuecuek, Laura Hudson, Jackie Park, Won Jin Park, Yimon Lim, Zhong Huang, Jules Hartzell, Ann-Christine Pineiro (graphic design)
Local architect: Godwin Austen Johnson
GAJ design team: Jason Burnside, Brain Johnson, Isabel Pintado, Branka Saric, Christina Morgan, Tzumei Steward, Cormac Lynch, Iain Stewart, Angelita Alves, Aandrew barley, Alberto Bolonos, Simon chambers, Pallavi Dean, Bharani Dharan, Graeme Fisher, Ian Jorolan, Hallam Lowmass, Mehrnaz Mohamadloo, Shounak Patne, Jacinda Raniolo, Vic Raymond Tanedo, Vinodh Vellapan, Jason Ward
Landscape architect: Valleycrest Design Group, Michael Braden
Structural engineer: Gifford
MEP engineer: Scott Wilson Group
Quantity survey: Baker Wilkins & Smith
Model: The Model Shop
As much as I was looking forward to discovering new brands, rediscovering the well known ones and checking what they have been up to was even more intriguing. The experience at Maison & Objet2011 was amazing, almost anyone who has been to their previous fairs admitted that this year the traffic was higher. People are eager to discover what’s new. Among the stands I visited are Christofle, Bernardaud, Lladro, Baccarat, Antolini, Guaxs,PTMD, and THS whom introduced a new line of mixers designed by Daum. Enjoy the photos, still more to come.