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Lebanon does it best in summer Fashion Your summer essentials Spotlight Everything we love about Lebanon Art Intimate chats with Jim Lambie and Jean-Marc Nahas Celebrity Gregory Gatserelia gets personal Architecture In Southern California Exotic travels Marseille, Vietnam, Bodrum and Tulum

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BEIRUT 62 Abdel Malek Street Tel. 01 99 11 11 ext. 222

Passion for Silk

Inside No. 66 JUN/JUL 2013


38 Beirut New boutiques at Beirut City Center 42 London Drinks at Radio Rooftop Bar 44 Paris A new spa at the Shangri-La 46 Milan Shopping at Dondup concept store 48 Basel Meet Raphael Rossel, founder of IKB 50 Reykjavik Staying at Hlemmur Square 52 New York Relive the age of punk 54 Los Angeles Discovering James Turrell 56 Miami Shop at Prada, eat at Swine 58 Toronto Grey Goose opens a luxe lounge 60 Sydney A gorgeous new Dior store 62 Dubai Susan Sarandon’s SPiN arrives


64 Heartbeat A look back at the gala


80 Music Montreal’s edgy sound 82 Movies Avoiding blockbusters 84 Books What to read this summer


88 Runways New from the French labels 90 Casual tops By Burberry Brit and more 92 London newcomers The coolest ones 94 Eyewear Channeling Catwoman 96 Jewelry By three women designers 98 Ear cuffs Summer’s sexy trend 100 Swimwear Look your best at the beach

104 Backstage At Heartbeat’s fashion gala 114 Heartbreaker Prada’s red hot bag 116 A siren’s spell Sexy summer styles 130 Mediterranean tropics In black and white 144 Take it over the edge Eccentric looks


164 Makeup Heat-resistant products 166 Skincare Sun protection at its best 168 Must-haves The Fendi inspiration


170 Fawaz Gruosi Founder of de Grisogono 172 Bethany Kehdy Queen of Lebanese cuisine 174 Guy Manoukian Virtuoso musician


178 Architecture California’s modern icons 182 Gardner Museum Renzo Piano’s addition 184 Palazzina G By Philippe Starck, in Venice 186 Gama Georges Amatoury’s retro pieces 188 Design trend Like traditional crafts 190 Design update All that’s new

Timeless Devotion When the precious is crowned with timeless beauty of white and fancy yellow diamonds, devotion lasts a lifetime.

Weygand St., Downtown Beirut - Tel: +961 1 981 555 –

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Inside High Art

192 Jim Lambie A Scottish artist in Beirut 196 Jean-Marc Nahas Monumental murals 200 Nature as art At New York’s MoMA PS1 204 Cuba The island’s flourishing art scene 208 Marseille 2013’s Capital of Culture 212 Patrick Caulfield A London retrospective 214 Exhibits What’s on in Beirut this summer


218 Restaurants Lebanon’s best spots 220 Armenian food Where to go in Beirut 222 Casual eateries In Hamra 224 Herbs Lebanon’s zaatar 226 Olive oil Made in Lebanon 228 Wine boutiques Beirut’s top ones 230 Kefraya Prime wines from the Bekaa

Special Report

N o . 66 JUN/JUL 2013 LL10,000

232 Gregory Gatserelia A personal chat 234 Gatserelia on art His favorite 236 Gatserelia on travel Top destinations


238 Concept stores An international view 242 Mall The new Beirut City Center 244 Car The sexy Maserati Quattroporte


246 Bodrum A luxury Turkish resort 250 Marseille The year’s “it” city 254 California Discovering Big Sur 258 Egerton House Exclusive London hotel 260 The Phoenician Arizona’s jewel 262 The Angler’s Miami Beach’s secret spot 264 Tulum Mexico’s celebrity hideaway 266 Vietnam A cooking vacation 268 Lebanon hotels The most romantic ones 272 Beirut neighborhoods Shiny and new 276 Barouk High in the Lebanese mountains 278 The Lebanese coast A road trip north

Last Word

280 Lebanon Why we choose to stay

Lebanon does it best in summer Fashion Your summer essentials Spotlight Everything we love about Lebanon Art Intimate chats with Jim Lambie and Jean-Marc Nahas Celebrity Gregory Gatserelia gets personal Architecture In Southern California Exotic travels Marseille, Vietnam, Bodrum and Tulum

Cover She’s in an Alexandre Vauthier top and Dries Van Noten skirt. Photographer Jimmy Backius. Stylist Amelianna Loiacono. Hair and makeup Theresa Grundin. Location Maameltein, Lebanon.

PL Aishti LEB



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Tony Salamé Group TSG SAL

Editor-in-chief Marwan Naaman

Creative director Malak Beydoun


Assistant editor Alexander Wilson Contributing editors May Farah, Julie Ann Getzlaff, Serena Makofsky, Warren Singh-Bartlett Canada editor Melanie Reffes France editor Brent Gregston Italy editor Renata Fontanelli UK editor Grace Banks US editor Gail Goldberg Beauty editor Charlotte Colquhoun

Art directors

Art and production director Maria Maalouf Guest art directors Raya Farhat, Layla Naamani Junior art director Charline Brechotte


Salma Abdelnour, William Dobson, Alia Gilbert, Elgy Gillespie, Tala Habbal, Michael Karam, Anthony Klatt, Robert Landon, Marie Le Fort, MacKenzie Lewis, Sabina Llewellyn-Davies, Kate Marris, Shirine Saad, Pip Usher, J. Michael Welton, Marianne Wisenthal


Fashion photographers Jimmy Backius, Petrovsky & Ramone, Alice Rosati, Bachar Srour, Tsar Contributing photographers Catherine Barry, Paul Clemence, Tony Elieh, Richard Gibson, Joe Kesrouani Ieva Saudargaite, George Sokhn, Ghassan Zoghby


Mouna Harati, Amelianna Loiacono, Venus Waterman

Illustrator Mélanie Dagher

Malak Beydoun Since she joined Aïshti in 2006, Malak Beydoun has been the creative director of A magazine, overseeing the artistic direction of the publication, including the dazzling fashion shoots that so distinguish the magazine. She’s also been the creative director of our sister publication L’Officiel-Levant since its launch in December 2009.

MacKenzie Lewis MacKenzie Lewis worked in public relations for seven years before packing up her life and leaving New York. Since most of her things fit in a backpack, she decided to travel, stopping for what she thought would be a brief week in Beirut. Four years later, she’s still in Lebanon and contributes regularly to A magazine.

Shirine Saad Shirine was born in Beirut, but grew up in France, Canada and New York, where she attended Columbia’s journalism school. She’s written about lifestyle and culture for the New York Times, WWD and Nowness, and she’s just published her first book, Boho Beirut. She’s now working on a book about Brooklyn.

Alia Gilbert Alia Gilbert is a freelance writer who’s worked from Boston to London to Beirut, and lots of places in between. She is currently living and working in Boston. She’s written for the Associated Press, Improper Bostonian, Gossip, Teen Voices, Feminspire, Little Plato Magazine and others.

Ieva Saudargaite Born in Lithuania and raised in the UAE, Ieva Saudargaite is an architect and photographer based in Beirut. Passionate about design, cities and storytelling, she regularly contributes to A magazine, The Outpost and The Carton. For this issue, she photographed four of Beirut’s glittery new neighborhoods.

Bouchra Boustany Bouchra Boustany spent most of her life in Paris. She got her first job as an ad executive for A magazine in 2004. Since then, she’s grown to become division chief of Aïshti’s marketing department, with her duties encompassing not only marketing, but also PR and event planning for all of Aïshti.


Melhem Moussallem, Bouchra Boustany, Stephanie Missirian

Production and printing

Senior photo producer Fadi Maalouf Printing Dots: The Art of Printing

Responsible director Nasser Bitar

140 El Moutrane St., Fourth Floor, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon, tel. 961.1.974.444,,

special tribute

A magazine has always been international in scope, covering major happenings in the world’s most dynamic cities and beyond. But for this summer issue, we’ve decided to focus on our home country. After all, Lebanon is most dazzling during the months of June and July, when Beirut and the coast are hot and steamy, and the mountain resorts cool and breezy. So this is our homage to Lebanon then, highlighting everything we love about our Mediterranean country.

Marwan Naaman

A cityscape

Just in Beirut

True Religion (left)

Aïshti has opened Lebanon’s first True Religion boutique. The American denim brand is beloved for its distinctive, fashionforward jeans, clothes and accessories for men and women. Beirut City Center, Hazmieh, tel. 01.291.991.

Vertu (right)

The world’s most luxurious mobile phone is entering a new era. Vertu now offers the Vertu Ti, a smartphone powered by Android and featuring a sleek titanium case. Allenby St., tel. 03.726.726,

Beirut Design Week (below)

It’s a design lover’s dream-come-true. For a full week, Lebanon celebrates design with exhibitions, conferences, workshops and open studios showcasing the work of local and international designers operating within the country. June 24-30,

Sud (above)

A dream of a restaurant hidden in a colorful, charming Mar Mikhael courtyard, Sud offers dishes inspired by three types of cuisine: French, Italian and Catalan. There’s also a rooftop cocktail lounge for revelers. Al Nahr St., Mar Mikhael, tel. 70.790.001. A 38

Luxury streetwear label G-Star Raw just opened its first Lebanon boutique. The flagship store carries cutting-edge denim clothing for men and women, including the seasonal collections created in collaboration with industrial designer Marc Newson. Beirut City Center, Hazmieh, tel. 01.293.893,

The Smallville (above)

Badaro now lays claim to its first designer hotel. The Smallville, which offers 117 rooms and 39 suites, is a chic, urban property complete with an engaging rooftop pool and scenic views of Beirut’s Hippodrome. Badaro, tel. 01.735.832,

©Nada Debs, G-Star Raw, IWC, Nicole Nodland, Mohamad Safieddine, Samsung, George Sokhn, Vertu

G-Star Raw (above)

Lana Del Rey (below)

nbr11 (below)

Enigmatic American chanteuse Lana Del Rey comes to Lebanon for a one-night concert, as part of the Byblos International Festival. Her haunting tunes include “Video Games,” “Dark Paradise” and “Ride.” July 10, Byblos,

Lebanese fashion designer Mohamed Safieddine has launched a new collection of handmade tops, all featuring distinctive, artful designs, under the label nbr11. Riaaya Bldg., Sassine, Ashrafieh, tel. 03.796.944,

Brooks Brothers (above)

Iconic American brand Brooks Brothers now has its own stand-alone boutique in Lebanon. Opened by Aïshti, the store carries the full collection of casual menwear and womenswear. Beirut City Center, Hazmieh, tel. 01.287.187.

IWC (right)

Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen introduces two new elegant and stylish models: the Portuguese Chronograph Classic (pictured here) and the Portuguese Tourbillon Hand-Wound. Beirut Souks, tel. 01.256.655,

Samsung (below)

Samsung has launched the world’s first eight-inch tablet: the Galaxy Note 8.0. The new tablet provides top-notch multimedia performance within a compact, one-handgrip screen. Visit

A« zone (left)

Lebanon’s newest Aïzone boutique now lives at Beirut City Center. Designed by Italian architect Marco Constanzi, the fashion store covers 400 square meters and carries the world’s hippest labels, including Dsquared2, Tory Burch, Camper and New Balance. Beirut City Center, Hazmieh, tel. 01.287.187.

A cityscape

Just in Beirut

5 H Q ¾ H ) O H P LQ J (left)

Grammy Award-winner Renée Fleming graces Lebanon for a one-night concert as part of the Baalbeck International Festival. The soprano performs with piano accompaniment by Maciej Pikulski. June 30, Bacchus Temple, Baalbeck,

Diesel (above) The all-new BMW 4 Series Coupé arrives in Lebanon during the third quarter of 2013. Spotlighted at this year’s Geneva International Motor Show, the mid-range car is sporty and elegant at the same time. Visit

Cherry on the Rooftop (below)

Le Gray hotel’s iconic lounge, Cherry on the Rooftop, has reopened for summer. The openair nighttime watering hole dazzles with views of the mountains, sea and city skyline. Le Gray, Downtown Beirut, tel. 01.971.111,

Following the success of its first store in Downtown Beirut, Diesel has opened a second branch just beyond the capital. The full men’s and women’s collections are on show. Beirut City Center, Hazmieh, tel. 01.291.991.

Veer (above)

Veer has reopened for summer 2013. In addition to its glamorous poolside area, the plush Kaslik hotel and resort offers a full schedule of entertainment, including fashion shows, theme nights and brunches featuring international cuisine. Kaslik, tel. 70.441.444,

The Rug Company (above)

Fashion and design have fused beautifully at The Rug Company. The rug provider carries various plush models designed by the likes of Marni (pictured here) and Vivienne Westwood. Hermitage Bldg., Shehade St., Ashrafieh, tel. 01.322.090, A 40

©BMW, Renée Fleming, Le Gray, The Rug Company, George Sokhn, Veer

BMW (right)

A cityscape

Just in London

Frank• s (right)

When the sun comes out, Londoners take it to the roofs, turning the city into a haven of glamorous penthouse drinking joints. Frank’s, which reopens on June 30, is the last word in summer cool. The bar’s campari spritzer is a London legend. 10th floor Peckham multi-story car park, 95A Rye Lane, SE15,

Brgr.Co (left)

Did someone say burger? Since the luxury fast food scene exploded, Londoners have been on the lookout for the next best thing. Lebanon’s Brgr.Co is the city’s prime contender, with upmarket takes on classic burgers. 187 Wardour St., W1, tel. 44.20.7920.6480,

Gary Hume, one of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, is the subject of this career survey at the Tate Britain. The show focuses on Hume’s use of geometry and color. On view from June 5-September 1 at Tate Britain, Linbury Galleries, Millbank, SW1, tel. 44.20.7887.8888,

Agent Provocateur (below)

Agent Provocateur’s summer 2013 collection celebrates iconic images of American prom queens and road movie heroines, such as the stars of Thelma and Louise. The season’s lingerie comes in embellished black, scarlet red and intense cobalt blue. Various locations across London,

Paul Delvaux (right)

This solo exhibit showcases the work of late artist Paul Delvaux, including 20 oil paintings and watercolors on paper that date from the mid ‘30s to the mid ‘60s. On view from June 18-July 17 at Blain Southern, 6 Hill St., W1,

Radio Rooftop Bar (left)

Ask anyone in London for the best place to get a drink, and the answer will be the Radio Rooftop Bar, located on the top floor of the Art Deco building that hosted the first ever BBC radio broadcast. 337 The Strand, WC2, tel. 44.80.8234.1953. A 42

©Agent Provocateur, Brgr.Co, Frank’s, Gary Hume/Tate Britain, Radio Rooftop Bar, Paul Delvaux Foundation Belgium

Gary Hume (left)

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Porsche Centre Lebanon s.a.l. Telephone 01 975 911, 03 901 911

A cityscape

Just in Paris

Atmos Herm« s (above)

Hermès, Les Cristalleries de St. Louis and Jaeger-LeCoultre have joined forces to create the Atmos Hermès table clock, a limited edition crystal clock that appears to float in the air. Only 176 pieces have been produced. Visit

Versace (below)

Jeanne B (above)

Paris’ Versace flagship has reopened complete with a new store concept by Donatella Versace and English architect Jamie Fobert. “The new Versace concept recaptures the opulent beauty of Gianni Versace’s first stores,” says Fobert. 45 Avenue Montaigne, eighth arrondissement, tel.,

Little sister of famed Parisian deli Jeanne A, newly opened Jeanne B in Montmartre mixes and matches the best of gourmet products and produce: rôtisserie from Huguenin, cold cuts from Bobosse charcuterie in Lyon and cheese from Maître Affineur Anthès. 61 Rue Lepic, 18th arrondissement, tel.,

Dior Homme (left)

Paris’ five-star Shangri-La Hotel unveiled a new spa, health club and indoor pool. Conceived by Pierre-Yves Rochon, the luxurious well-being space is the result of seven years of intricate work and renovation and also houses Carita treatment rooms. 10 Avenue d’Iéna, 16th arrondissement, tel.,

La Manufacture de Chocolat (above) Alain Ducasse’s newly opened, magical Manufacture de Chocolat is a chocolate store with a difference. Here, you can buy pralines, ganaches, truffles, bars and more, all prepared using time-tested methods and superior equipment. 40 Rue de la Roquette, 11th arrondissement, tel., A 44

©Dior, Jeanne B, Guido Mocafico, Pierre Monetta, Shangri-La, Versace

Shangri-La (below)

Kris Van Assche offers a striking navy palette for Dior Homme’s spring/summer 2013 collection. The whole range exudes a sexy military flair, complete with closed blazers and metal buttons. Two locations: 30 Avenue Montaigne and 25 Rue Royale, eighth arrondissement,

A cityscape

Just in Milan

Bagatti Valsecchi (left)

Set inside the breathtaking museum of the same name, the new Bagatti Valsecchi design shop is the brainchild of Rossana Orlandi, who finds and promotes promising young designers. In her sleek store, Orlandi offers one-of-a-kind pieces created by some of the top names in international design. 5 Via Gesù, tel. 39.02.7600.6132,

Refettorio (above)

Shortly after it opened last year, Refettorio immediately gained cult status. Furnished with long wooden tables and offering a quiet and cozy atmosphere, the restaurant serves seasonal specials, including an excellent risotto, prepared with asparagus or squash. 2 Via dell’Orso, tel. 39.02.8909.6664,

Mari & Cã (below) Gucci’s upbeat collection for spring/summer 2013 is inspired by legendary style icons (think Marisa Berenson) as photographed by the likes of Richard Avedon. The late ‘60s/ early ‘70s vibe is evident with dresses and tunic and pants combinations in vibrant cobalt, yellow, turquoise, red and coral. 5-7 Via Montenapoleone, tel. 39.02.771.271,

Dondup (left)

Italian brand Dondup has opened a gorgeous new concept store in Milan that sells clothing for men and women and also houses a firstrate restaurant, Da Mimmo. Dining on the terrace in summer is a divine experience. 34 Via Sirtori, tel. 39.02.2772.3444, A 46

©Bagatti Valsecchi, Dondup, Gucci, Mari & Có, Refettorio

A pottery workshop from the early 20th century has been transformed into Mari & Có, an event space decorated with works of art and rented out for private dinners, including intimate tête-à-têtes. The cuisine is by chef Marinella Rossi. 18 Via Ampola,

Gucci (right)

Flawless balance, fluid lines and impeccable proportions define John Lobb comfort and elegance.


N 190

It takes 190 steps to create every pair of John Lobb shoes. Discover more at Oxford City II

John Lobb - 24 Park avenue, karaguLLa bLdg, beirut CentraL distriCt - teL. 01 999 829

A cityscape

Just in Basel

Pfifferling Deli (left)

Designer Christian Speck and chef Monika Müller conceived Pfifferling, a deli and restaurant that expresses its Swiss DNA at every level. The menu draws on local and organic products, while even the interior has been realized with Swiss materials. 138 Güterstrasse, tel. 41.61.301.1701,

Inch Furniture (below)

Inch Furniture founders Thomas Wüthrich and Yves Raschle strive to create forms that will outlast current fashions. They’re also rigorous about using sustainably harvested wood, and their profits help support an Indonesian woodworking school. 62 Westquaistrasse, tel. 41.61.321.1810,

Atelier Gados (above)

Set & Sekt (above)

Gabriele Doser produces one-of-a-kind clothing items for men and women. Her store/workshop, Atelier Gados, was designed by Rahbaran Hürzeler Architekten. (Ursula Hürzeler is a veteran of Herzog & de Meuron, where she worked on the Beirut Terraces building.) 45 Rebgasse, Muttenz, tel.,

From carefully curated clothes to a highly graphic black-and-white interior, Set & Sekt is hands-down Basel’s most innovative clothing store. Owner Corinne Grüter is attracted to designers like Acne, Five Avenue Shoe Repair and Natalia Brilli. 5 Rümelinsplatz, tel.,

IKB (below)

To promote Basel designers, Raphael Rossel (pictured below) helped found Initiative Kreativwirtschaft Basel (IKB), a program that promotes networking, showcasing and business development among a new generation of designers. Visit

Brundler Büchner Architekten’s Volta Centrum is a profound re-imagination of a once derelict industrial area. Apartments are ranged around a spare, pristine garden, while the commercial ground floor is integrated beautifully with the city around it. Visit A 48

©Paul Clemence

Volta Centrum (right)

A cityscape

Just in Reykjavik

Spark Design Space (below)

Harpa (below)

As its name suggests, Spark is a platform for Icelandic design projects. The gallery showcases special exhibits throughout the year and also stocks unique objects in its adjoining design store. 33 Klapparstígur, tel. 354.552.2656,

“Erró: Graphic Art, 1949-2009” is a dramatic retrospective that spans half a century of Icelandic graphic artist Erró’s work. On view until August 25 at Reykjavik Art Museum, Hafnarhús, tel. 354.590.1200,

Vê k Prjã nsdã ttir (above)

Icelandic design collective Vík Prjónsdóttir introduces a new collection of sheep-wool blankets crafted in collaboration with wool mill Víkurprjón. The line is inspired by sea eagles, local stones and snow. Visit

Hlemmur Square (above)

Reykjavik’s newest hotel, Hlemmur Square offers both affordable hostel-type accommodations and luxurious hotel rooms. The property, conceived by hotelier Klaus Ortlieb, is housed inside a ‘30s building and combines both old and new design elements. 105 Laugavegur, tel. 354.415.1600, A 50

©Erró/Reykjavik Art Museum, Harpa, Hlemmur Square, Spark, Vík Prjónsdóttir

Errã (below)

Reykjavik has a new architectural gem. Shortlisted for the 2013 Mies Van der Rohe Award, the Harpa concert hall (by Henning Larsen Architects, Batteriid Architects and artist Olafur Eliasson) looks like a glittering wall of light after dark. 2 Austurbakki, tel. 354.528.5000,

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A cityscape

Claes Oldenburg (left)

“Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store” explores the beginnings of Oldenburg’s extraordinary career, with an extensive look at his artistic production from the first half of the ‘60s. On view until August 5 at MoMA, 11 W. 53rd St., tel. 1.212.708.9400,

Llyn Foulkes (above)

Coming from a tradition of West Coast artists working in assemblage in the ’60s, Llyn Foulkes has consistently challenged audiences and expanded his work into new territories. This career retrospective features 100 works from his 60-year career. On view from June 12-September 1 at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, tel.,

Clarkson (below)

The National (below)

Retro American restaurant Clarkson, owned by Georges Forgeois, opened in March. Under the helm of chef Rebecca Weitzman, the place serves hearty fare, including duck, short ribs, suckling pig, oysters and lobster. 225 Varick St., tel. 1.212.675.2474,

Smart Midtown eatery The National is the kingdom of celebrated chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Choose from mouth-watering dishes like grilled branzino with glazed pineapple and roasted chicken with herbed barley risotto. 557 Lexington Ave., tel. 1.212.715.2400,

James Turrell (above)

“James Turrell” considers the artist’s longstanding explorations of perception, light, color and space. A major work created specifically for the Guggenheim recasts the museum’s rotunda as a volume of shifting natural and artificial light. On view from June 21-September 25 at the Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Ave., tel. 1.212.423.3500, A 52

©Hussein Chalayan/Eric Nehr, Clarkson, Ellen Gallagher/Hauser & Wirth Gallery, Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper/Art Institute of Chicago, Derek Lam, Donald Moffett, The National, Claes Oldenburg/MoMA, Andreas Tieldflaat, Randel Urbauer, Diane von Furstenberg

Just in New York

I, You, We (left)

A survey of art from the ‘80s through the early ‘90s, “I, You, We” showcases paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and photographs by the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe, Jasper Johns, Catherine Opie, Cindy Sherman and more. On view until September 1 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Ave., tel. 1.212.570.3600,

Ellen Gallagher (below)

“Don’t Axe Me” brings together 20 years of Ellen Gallagher’s work plus a series of new paintings. The exhibit traces the transformations of the artist’s practice through a number of her iconic paintings, drawings, prints and film installations. On view from June 19-September 15 at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, tel.,

DVF (above)

Punk: Chaos to Couture (above)

Wild prints are back in force in Diane von Furstenberg’s spring/summer 2013 collection. This season, the DVF woman has the look of a princess and the heart of a gypsy. Two locations: 874 Washington St., tel. 1.646.486.4800, and 135 Wooster St., 1.212.542.5754,

“Punk: Chaos to Couture” examines punk’s impact on fashion from the movement’s birth in the early ‘70s through its continuing influence today. The show features about 100 designs for men and women, On view until August 14 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., tel. 1.212.535.7710,

Hopper Drawing (below)

This is the first major museum exhibition to focus on Edward Hopper’s drawings and working process. Along with many of his most iconic paintings, the exhibition features more than 200 drawings by the American artist. On view until October 6 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Ave., tel. 1.212.570.3600,

10 Crosby Derek Lam (right)

Derek Lam’s diffusion line for women, 10 Crosby, is an edgy interpretation of America’s Wild West, featuring embroidered tops, cool jumpsuits and leather pants. For the first time ever this spring, the collection includes 10 Crosby bags. Available at Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, 53 A

A cityscape

Just in Los Angeles A. Quincy Jones (left)

“A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living” is the first major museum retrospective of the LA-based architect’s work. Designed from the inside out, Jones’ homes and buildings feature expansive interiors and a reverence for the outdoors. On view until September 8 at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., tel. 1.310.443.7000,

James Turrell (right)

“James Turrell: A Retrospective” explores the 50-year career of Turrell, a key artist in the Southern California Light and Space movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s. One section is devoted to Roden Crater, a site-specific intervention into the Arizona landscape. On view until April 6, 2014 at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., tel. 1.323.857.6000,

RivaBella (above)

The Hart and the Hunter (below)

At The Hart and the Hunter, chefs and owners Kris Tominaga and Brian Dunsmoor offer up their own version of Southern cooking, like black-eyed peas with ham hocks and fried green tomatoes with buttermilk dressing. Palihotel, 7950 Melrose Ave., tel. 1.323.424.3055,

Hinoki & the Bird (above)

Hinoki & the Bird is a new concept from chef David Myers that pushes the boundaries of modern California cuisine. The inspired menu is broken down into categories such as Raw Bar, Fun Bites and Simply Grilled for your dining pleasure. 10 Century Dr., tel. 1.310.552.1200, A 54

True Religion (above)

Inspired by the magic of a road trip through the California desert, the summer 2013 collection from True Religion offers formfitting jeans for men and women, as well as customized pieces that are perfect for travel. Various locations across LA, including Beverly Center, Santa Monica Place and Century City,

©Dylan + Jeni, The Hart and the Hunter, A. Quincy Jones/Hammer, RivaBella, True Religion, James Turrell/LACMA

New restaurant RivaBella is the tasting emporium of chef-owner Gino Angelini. The inventive Italian menu is complemented by a vast outdoor dining area, wine cave and private dining area for 50 people. 9201 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, tel. 1.310.278.2060,

A cityscape

Just in Miami

Women in Motion (below)

Miami Beach Edition (left)

“Women in Motion” focuses on the increased participation of women in sports and other kinds of physical activity in the early 20th century. The exhibit features artwork, ads, magazine covers and political propaganda from the era. On view until August 18 at The WolfsonianFIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, tel. 1.305.531.1001,

The Residences at the Miami Beach Edition are 26 spectacular homes conceived by hotelier Ian Schrager and architect John Pawson. Part of the Miami Beach Edition hotel scheduled to open in 2014, the homes are veritable mansions in the sky. 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, tel. 1.305.571.3101,

Swine Southern Table (right)

Heritage breed pigs and local produce, as well as regional fish and fowl, take center stage at new restaurant Swine Southern Table. Menu highlights include the pork porterhouse and chicken fried bacon with waffles. 2415 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, tel. 1.786.360.6433,

From Picasso to Koons (below)

Executive chef Michael Schwartz opened The Cypress Room, with a décor inspired by the roaring ‘20s. The American menu centers around the restaurant’s wood-burning grill and rotisserie, offering appetizers, a selection of cheeses and house specialties. 3620 NE Second Ave., Design District, tel. 1.305.520.5197,

Prada (left)

Architect Roberto Baciocchi designed Miami’s newest Prada boutique. The 360-square-meter space offers the women’s ready-to-wear, leather goods, accessories and footwear collections. 180 NE 40th St., Design District, tel. 1.305.438.2280, A 56

©The Cypress Room, Jeff Koons/Sherry Griffin, Miami Beach Edition, Prada, Swine, Wolfsonian

The Cypress Room (right)

Showcasing about 200 works by 135 artists, “From Picasso to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler” offers an intimate look at precious adornments created by some of the greatest artists over time. On view until July 21 at the Bass Museum of Art, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, tel. 1.305.673.7530,

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A cityscape

Just in Toronto

Grey Goose (below)

Vodka maker Grey Goose has launched its first permanent Canadian home at Muzik nightclub. The intimate members-only space serves custom cocktails like the Entre Vous, made with fresh guava and Angostura Bitters. 15 Saskatchewan Rd. (Exhibition Place), tel. 1.416.595.9998,

Christian Louboutin (below)

Bauble alert! Cartier’s largest Canadian store has oak paneling, a watch salon and bronzetrimmed displays for showcasing the French jeweler’s signature pieces. Yorkdale Shopping Center, 3401 Dufferin St., tel. 1.416.787.7474,

miu miu (above)

The miu miu corner boutique at Holt Renfrew may be modest in size, but it’s mighty in looks. Damask curtain walls and matte gold counters showcase the brand’s whimsical bags and accessories collections. 50 Bloor St. West, tel. 1.416.922.2333,

©Cartier, Grey Goose, Christian Louboutin, miu miu

Christian Louboutin’s iconic red sole is the star at this retrospective of the designer’s work, which features initial sketches, raw materials and fabulous one-off creations. On view from June 21-September 15 at the Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., tel. 1.416.363.6121,

Cartier (below)

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Maison de Haute Horlogerie

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A cityscape

Just in Sydney

Dior (left)

Dior is the latest French fashion label to open a major boutique in Sydney. The luxurious new store carries the complete men’s and women’s collections. 65 Castlereagh St.,

Grain (right)

Claude• s (above)

Recently opened and designed by Michael McCann, Grain is a luxe watering hole with warm interiors. The décor features a mix of leather, timber, stone and metal. 199 George St., tel. 61.2.9250.3118,

Claude’s restaurant recently underwent a complete upstairs-downstairs turnaround. The new interiors are the work of Melbourne-based designer Pascale Gomes McNabb, who created graphic patterns for both the restaurant and bar areas. 10 Oxford St., Woollahra, tel. 61.2.9331.2325,

Home accessories store Koskela is set inside a converted factory space. Created and run by Russell Koskela and Sasha Titchkosky, the place offers modern furniture made in Australia from recycled timber. 85 Dunning Ave., Rosebery, tel. 61.2.9280.0999,

Kitchen by Mike (right)

After working for the likes of Joël Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay, chef Mike McEnearney established his own headquarters in a Sydney warehouse: Kitchen by Mike, a vast, democratic canteen. His inspired menu changes seasonally. 85 Dunning Ave., Rosebery, tel. 61.2.9045.0910, A 60

Emirates Wolgan Valley (above)

Luxurious lodge Emirates Wolgan Valley is set at the foot of the Blue Mountains, within a 4,000-acre conservation and wildlife reserve three hours outside Sydney. The resort offers 40 suites, a fine dining restaurant and the acclaimed Sodashi Spa. 2600 Wolgan Rd., Wolgan Valley, tel. 61.2.6350.1800,

©Dior, Emirates Wolgan Valley, Murray Fredericks, Grain, Kitchen by Mike, Koskela

Koskela (left)


C H O PA R D B e i r u t S o u k s D o w n t o w n Te l : ( 0 1 ) 9 9 9 8 9 1 M O U AWA D C o m p t o i r S u i s s e A B C A s h r a f i e h Te l : ( 0 1 ) 2 0 1 7 0 6 C H O PA R D B E I R U T D U T Y F R E E Te l : ( 0 1 ) 6 2 9 5 2 0 WADIH MRAD Dbayeh Tel: (03) 224 224, Ashrafieh Tel: (03) 224 225 WALID MOUAWAD JEWELLERS Kaslik Altavista Center Tel: (09) 900 555 HANNA JEWELRY Zouk Meckael, Bhamdoun, Jal El Dib Tel: (04) 724 555

A cityscape

Just in Dubai

S*uce Gifts (right)

From the successful team behind the ever-eclectic S*uce fashion stores comes a dedicated gifts and design outlet. A vending machine offering accessories, jewelry, candles and cards, operating 24/7, makes gifting possible at any hour. Wasl Square, tel. 971.4.388.3488,

Helmut Lang (left)

Eye-catching colors and bold prints are huge stories at Helmut Lang. The brand’s spring/ summer 2013 collection is big on both, while still exuding its usual edgy urban cool. Available at Aïzone’s three locations: Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Center and Mall of the Emirates.

Kerstin Florian (below)

The refined LIME spa at Desert Palm introduces Kerstin Florian treatments to its extensive menu, incorporating the innovative K-Lift system, which combines light therapy and micro-currents, for antiaging facials. Desert Palm, tel. 971.4.323.8888,

WareHouse Gym (below)

SPiN Galactic (right)

Ping-pong and Hollywood royalty aren’t the most obvious bedfellows but have proved a successful pairing for Susan Sarandon’s SPiN. Her first bar outside of the United States includes designer ping-pong tables and an arguileh terrace. Wafi City, tel. 971.4.370.7707, dubai. A 62

Comptoir 102 (above)

Home and lifestyle concept store Comptoir 102, which sells furniture, tableware and jewelry, just added a café to its space. A menu inspired by macrobiotic methods serves up organic and gluten-free treats. 102 Beach Rd., Jumeirah 1, tel. 971.4.385.4555,

©Comptoir 102, Desert Palm, Helmut Lang, S*uce, SPiN, WareHouse Gym

Take a bare 20,000-square-foot space, add an abundance of high-end fitness equipment, liberally decorate the walls with graffiti art and throw in a resident DJ: the result is a high-octane gym with a tough urban edge. Um Suqiem Rd., Al Quoz, tel. 971.4.323.2323,

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A spotlight _ heartbeat

beat goes on

A night of enchantment for a good cause

This year’s Jukebox-themed event kicked off with a fashion show organized by Aïshti and set inside the Salle des Ambassadeurs, showcasing the latest spring/summer 2013 collections from the world’s top A 64

©Ghassan Zoghby

Last April, Lebanon’s Casino du Liban once again served as the setting for Heartbeat’s annual fundraising event, which included a fashion show, concert, dinner, auction and raffle, to support the charity’s cause. Heartbeat is the Lebanese nonprofit organization that raises money to help children with congenital heart disease.

designers. International models glided among guests, as they paraded must-have looks. The Salle des Ambassadeurs was decorated with iconic photographs of pop stars like Adele, Norah Jones and Psy. Guests enjoyed a seated dinner, while they listened to a lively concert of Jukebox hits like “Voulez-Vous” and “Gangnam Style” performed by the Heartbeat members. An exciting Christie’s auction took place after the show ended. Leonie Moschner and James Lees from Christie’s flew in especially for the event. Guests were able to bid on a selection of valuable items like a Fendi fur, a massive Samsung 85inch LED TV, a Mini Paceman and three art pieces, including “Thank You” by Scott Myles and “Dresden 10” by Michael Wilkinson. The guest of honor was artist Jim Lambie, who flew in from Glasgow to attend the event and donated his polished steel “Metal Box (Tropical Orchid)” artwork, which was auctioned off for $230,000. Other special guests included Fendi’s CEO Pietro Beccari along with his wife Elisabetta, as well as Andrew Hamilton, co-owner of the United Kingdom’s Modern Institute. The event ended with exciting raffle draws for fashion items from Aïshti (from the same brands on view during the fashion show), including handbags by Etro, Pucci, Balenciaga, Gucci, Chloé, Dior and Nancy Gonzalez, Canali and Corneliani suits, and jackets by Marni and Zegna. Other items won during the raffle included two Ï Day Spa vouchers and two tickets for an all-expensespaid luxury trip to attend the Façonnable Monte Carlo Tennis Tournament in 2014. 65 A



w w w. c a n a l i . i t

av a i l a b l e a t 225 Foch St., Downtown Beirut - Lebanon Te l . + 9 6 1 1 9 9 1 1 1 1 E x t . 4 8 0






A playground _ music

Montreal• s sonic boom

By Shirine Saad

Some of the world’s edgiest music acts were born in North America Every indie rock insider knows that Montreal is a rich source of new music. A magazine explored the city of all vices to find out which bands are changing music as we know it.

Arcade Fire


Suuns is the best new band to emerge from Montreal’s Mile End. These Krautrockers mixed cold electronic beats, mad guitar riffs and deadbeat lyrics in their debut album Zeroes Qc, which was instantly snatched by cult indie label Secretly Canadian. Ben Shemie, Suuns’ romantic frontman, studied jazz guitar at McGill University before starting the band in 2006, inspired by the awe he experienced at his first Metallica concert (he was 12). Check out their latest release, Images du Futur. A 80


She’s the punk Lolita. Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, is the obsession of music lovers and critics everywhere. Grimes was a neuroscience student at McGill University when she started jamming with friends in decrepit lofts. One day she locked herself up to make her own music, producing multilayered songs, mashing up sounds that she discovered on the Internet – from hip-hop to medieval music – and digitally manipulating her whisper-like voice. She released her debut album Visions in 2011.

©Arcade Fire, Grimes, Moonface, Plants and Animals, Suuns, Wake Island

With an anthemic sound created by layering multiple instruments, melancholy lyrics that refer to death of relatives, disasters in Haiti (“Funeral”) and the boredom of the suburbs (“The Suburbs”), Arcade Fire’s music creeps under your skin. The band won the 2011 Grammy for Album of the Year for their third album, The Suburbs.

Plants and Animals

When musicians Matthew Woodley and Warren Spicer, both from Halifax in Nova Scotia, met French Canadian Nicolas Basque, their musical sensibilities immediately connected. Inspired by no wave, free jazz and classic rock, their folksy tunes joyfully mix their random influences, with an added touch of Montreal grittiness. Plants and Animals’ most recent album, The End of That, talks about random moments of everyday life – doing drugs, watching friends getting married, love and all that jazz.

Wake Island

Lebanese musician Philippe Manasseh’s dark, irreverent humor shines through the songs he writes for his Montreal prog-rock band Wake Island. On their upcoming album, produced by legendary Montreal musician Jace Lasek, Wake Island tackle the notion of comfort in all its complexity. “The new album is really more about discomfort than it is about comfort,” says guitarist Nadim Maghzal. “It’s called It Takes Time to be Uncomfortable. We’re removing ourselves from comfortable situations.” Musically, the new album will have a raw, slightly punk vibe, while keeping the band’s dynamic prog-pop energy – reflecting the musicians’ love for Brit pop and their roots in the DIY Montreal scene. (The band members still book their own tours, sleeping on the floor and sharing beds while traveling.)


Singer, songwriter and keyboardist Spencer Krug has played with Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown and Swan Lake. He’s now decided to focus on his own projects through Moonface, recording his first two albums in his own apartment. For his third album, With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, he collaborated with Helsinki-based Siinai. The album is dark and dense, with layers of meditative melodies.

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A playground _ movies

Between the blockbusters Forget about bigbudget flicks this summer, and zone in on these cinematic gems

By Serena Makofsky

Hollywood has most certainly run through all the superheroes. Yet it shows no sign of slowing its rate of churning out the summer superhero flick. Recent years have had screenwriters digging deeper, looking to the B-list and C-list planet-savers (The Avengers, anyone?) in the name of justifying bigger film budgets and packing the cineplex. Fortunately, there are enough movie screens to go around, so you can choose among the less-than-super heroes of summer, be they con men, desperate housewives, angst-ridden teens or evil spirits intent on bringing down your property’s resale value.

The Bling Ring

It has been a mere couple of months since Nicholas Prugo got sentenced to jail time for conspiring with five others to track the whereabouts of celebrities so they could break into their Hollywood Hills mansions and steal jewelry, designer clothing and art. Among the victims of their crimes were Lindsay Lohan and Audrina Partridge. The group earned the nickname The Bling Ring for its penchant for all that sparkles. If that doesn’t sound like brilliant enough fodder for a summer crime drama, consider that the director is Sofia Coppola and that an all-grown-up Emma Watson makes her pole-dancing debut.

Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen’s latest film – starring Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin – chronicles a stylish New York housewife’s downward spiral toward a breakdown. This is decidedly domestic fodder compared to the director’s surprise 2011 hit Midnight in Paris, but Allen has always been associated with New York. The added twist is that the story also takes us to San Francisco, which is new turf for the director. Typical Allen, however, is that he has kept the rest of the details of the film on lockdown.

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The English Teacher

A big cast for a small film proves an enticing combination. Julianne Moore is Linda Sinclair, the English teacher. Her oncequiet life gets disrupted when Jason (Michael Angarano), a former student, returns to their small Pennsylvania town after a failed attempt to make it as a playwright in New York. Determined to keep Jason’s hope for artistic success alive, Linda decides to mount Jason’s controversial play at the high school where she teaches. Nathan Lane has a good time as the director of the high school play, and Lily Collins in the role of Hallie is the perfect foil for the English teacher’s best-laid plans.

The Way, Way Back

Audiences at Sundance loved this quirky coming-of-age comedy, comparing it to Little Miss Sunshine, partially due to Fox Searchlight’s involvement in both films. Liam James does a solid job as Duncan, a teen exuding awkwardness and longing. Sam Rockwell is brilliant as an aging water park owner who takes Duncan under his wing, while Maya Rudolph is a woman on the edge, playing an employee at the park who intended it as a summer job and winds up still there four years later. One of the bigger surprises is Steve Carrell who, instead of playing Mr. Nice Guy, is a very convincing jerk to his girlfriend, played by Toni Collette.

The Conjuring

Vampires are dead. This summer’s paranormal activity takes the form of an old-fashioned house haunting that is based on a reallife case of ghost-hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren. Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston head the cast, but one of the big stars is the killer ‘70s soundtrack, the perfect throwback sound for a film people are comparing to old-school horror flicks The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror. James Wan of the Saw franchise directs the drama, but shows more restraint this time around, banking less on gore and more on the disturbing backstory. Critics are naming The Conjuring a contender for sleeper hit of the summer. 83 A

A playground _ books



Photographer and filmmaker Fouad Elkoury expresses his love for Lebanon in Be…Longing, a book that chronicles various aspects of Lebanon strictly via photographs and not a single word of text. The original images were featured in a sweeping exhibit at the Beirut Art Center two years ago. Available at Papercup.

Images of Lebanon Lebanon: Beauty Beyond Belief

The photos of Jamal and Ayman Saidi and the words of Karah Byrns combine to create a dramatic voyage through all of Lebanon. Divided into four sections (Nature, Heritage, Culture & Religion and Lifestyle), Lebanon: Beauty Beyond Belief captures everything that we love about the tiny country. Available at Librairie El Bourj.


A guidebook rich with history and fascinating stories that even die-hard Lebanese may not know, Carole Corm’s Beirut: A Guide to the City includes interviews with the artists, antique dealers and writers who make the city such a unique places. Corm also includes neighborhood maps, sites to visit, shops to peruse and hotels at which to stay. Available at Aïshti stores.

Beyrouth: Le Centre-Ville de Mon P« re A stroll through Beirut’s city center, this glorious book was envisioned by Gabriel Rayes, who died before he could complete his life’s work. His daughter, Tania Rayes Ingea, took up where he left off and now offers us an intimate, heartbreaking portrait of Downtown Beirut, as her father remembered it during its heyday, from the ‘30s to the ‘70s. Available at Virgin Megastore.

Beyrouth: Quelques Rues Plus TÈ t Jean-Michel Vinay expresses his love of the Lebanese capital in Beyrouth: Quelques Rues Plus Tôt, a collection of haunting blackand-white photographs. There are images of ancient buildings, historic churches and tankers gliding along the Mediterranean, among others. A poetic journey. Available at Librairie El Bourj. A 84

Photographer Mazen Jannoun spent four years taking vibrant, incredibly moving pictures of this most dramatic – and perhaps most abused – stretches of Mediterranean coastline. The new towers gleaming above Raouche, fishermen lining the coast at dawn, traditional Lebanese homes perched above the sea, children making sandcastles on the beach: Watercolor: The Lebanese Coast is a moving reflection of Lebanon through its sandy and rocky shores. Available at Librairie El Bourj.

©Alexander Wilson

Watercolor: The Lebanese Coast

G-Star Raw Store Beirut - Beirut City Centre Level 2, Hazmieh, t. 01 - 293 893 operated by Holdal Mode & Accessoires

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A fashion _ runways

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent


It• s all so new A marriage of history and future sculpts summer’s designer trends

A 88

On a day in November last year Anna Wintour invited Alexander Wang into her office. “You’ll regret it all your life if you don’t accept,” she advised. She was, of course, referring to the offer Wang had received from the house of Balenciaga – one that requested the California native’s talents in the fashion house’s lead creative role. Two weeks later, Wang was officially announced as the head of Balenciaga, signifying something of a movement in the world of high fashion. A West Coast skater kid at the helm of one of the world’s most established French luxury brands? Wang’s

laid-back tones are decidedly different from those of his predecessor, Nicolas Ghesquière. Six months earlier, Hedi Slimane and Raf Simons become the creative heads of Saint Laurent and Dior respectively. These dynamic placements resulted in fresh life for the summer collections.

Saint Laurent

At the helm of one of fashion’s most premium design houses in the world, Slimane refuses to shake his sartorial shocker reputation. His first act at the helm of YSL was to rename the brand Saint Laurent (dropping

©Balenciaga, Dior, Saint Laurent

By Grace Banks




the first name Yves), and through this guise he marries classic branding to his dark-cool image. The gossamer silk shirts so intrinsic to the label are given a second chance, paired with tight leather and velvet trousers, while ‘70s reminiscent black gowns refuse to be pretty with their Morticia Adams edge. Those looking for signs of Slimane’s revolutionary hiss should turn to his accessories: it’s here that the designer boldly announces himself this season. Floppy rimmed hats and oversized neck bows conjure a witchy mood and perfectly juxtapose the picturesque in the reems of silk flowing down the runway.

after the preview in Paris, where frothing floral skirts in a print reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Flowers flowed under structured black bandeau tops, beautifully blending Simons’ own aesthetic with that of his predecessor, Christian Dior. Silhouettes of the brand’s revolutionary New Look skirt were subtly referenced, this time as A-line dresses in androgynous lines, glistening with multicolored diamond floral appliqué. That pop of Dior optimism, so intrinsic to the label’s post-war success, infused the heady summer collection.

brand’s eccentric cool, with his own unique ability to create clothes that women really, really want to wear. A testament to the glamorous hipster, the runway was strewn with thigh splits, monochrome skirts with flippy, flamenco-inspired hems and plunging necklines. Wang maintains a sporty edge: the crop tops that accompany skirt suits keep his cool LA girl firmly in this new fashion narrative.


Like Slimane, Simons has been quick to make a mark with his first spring/summer 2013 collection for Dior. It was a show full of powerful references to pop art and history. “The perfect mixture of designer and house,” said Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz


Dior and Balenciaga go way back. In the ‘50s they were peers, both pioneering new ways for women to dress and designers to create couture. Over 60 years later, and Balenciaga stands out as the more avant-garde of the two, serving up rock ‘n’ roll musts season after season. The success of Wang’s spring/ summer 2013 collection is in the fusion of the

A new silhouette

There’s something excitingly old and new in these collections: Simons’ flowers and classic lines, Wang’s rebellious confidence and Slimane’s re-imagining of the ‘70s. They’re all reminiscent of Dior’s 1954 New Look manifesto, basically re-affirming that it is only with respect for what has been and a lack of fear for what is to come that fashion will be truly original. So saddle up: ‘tis the season for heritage pieces and unashamed newness. 89 A

A fashion _ tops For men Burberry Brit (far left) and Napapijri (immediate left) For women Brooks Brothers (directly below), Façonnable (middle) and La Martina (bottom)

And, relax! By Grace Banks

The season’s casual tops are designed to make you feel at ease

Fa« onnable There’s a love for the preppy playboy in Façonnable’s summer collection of polo tops, light sweaters and long sleeved shirts, all in a fresh color palette of orange, baby blue and peach. The shirts are perfect for summer days, and this year they’re pushed up to the elbow for an undercut vibe. The label trophied the stripe, for men they were chunky, for women Parisian, with a Bretonstyle line. If you’re looking to feel glamorous, Façonnable’s crisp white polo shirts are the last word in summer cool for women: add an evening edge and leave the buttons undone. Burberry Brit Stripes are big this season. Burberry Brit championed the look, adorning T-shirts, vests and shirts with bold vertical lines. The label’s red and mustard tops are the perfect pairing for leather trousers and dark wash jeans. Lovers of A 90

Burberry’s classic aesthetic will adore the caramel-color palette, in which sand, taupe and khaki shirts add an elegant note to the casual pieces. Burberry Brit has also re-imagined the everyday shirt for summer: the brand’s check design will work with slacks and suiting, but the key is how you wear it. Take a style note from the street and button your shirt up right to the top. Napapijri It was an homage to Americana at Napapijri, where shirts belonged to truckers and polos were embellished with retro pictures. Shirting is fashionforward here, and the label’s fuchsia pink check number is the dandiest piece in the collection. There’s a decidedly sporty feel to this range, with lacrosse and polo shirts in bubblegum colors offering an alternative to button-up tops. The details truly make these polos covetable: each is embroidered with team sports badges, adding a gaming trend to your look. La Martina Sporty polos are an enduring

theme in the La Martina collection. The label used its original logo on relaxed tees and shirts in marl blue, epitomizing casual cool. Long sleeves take the lead for women, with white, blue and black polos offering the perfect accompaniment to La Martina’s Bermuda shorts. This collection has focused on sophisticated shirting for women, with a ruffle front white design that’s the last word in fashionforward casual. Brooks Brothers Brooks Brothers are pioneers of the relaxed look this season, with tops that offer a heavy dose of chic. For women the look is all about statement florals and modish prints. Collarless shirts in tree branch and blossom patterns are a nod to summer’s Asian penchant, while fitted striped sweaters are easy and elegant to wear. Shirts come in micro and macro check with a fusion of bright, zesty hues of lime, orange and yellow, mixed with yacht club pastels. Make them pop by layering yours under a floral printed blazer in green or black.

©Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Façonnable, La Martina, Napapijri

It’s time to kick back: this season, the high-octane looks of the catwalk are punctuated with cool and casual separates.

Lucas Nascimento

Bright young things By Grace Banks

London’s hot new talent is reshaping fashion The emerging label is having a bit of a moment in London. With a combination of raw talent and eccentric wit, up-and-coming designers are injecting a unique energy into the city’s fashion landscape. Dedicating their lines to one or two key motifs, these young designers have introduced collections that showcase avant-garde style. From heritage crafts to English tailoring, summer 2013 is getting a shake-up. A 92


Ryan Lo

Lucas Nascimento Brazilian-born, London-based designer Lucas Nascimento makes playing with the traditional his forte. “I like to create silhouettes that are not typical to knitwear,” he says. Nascimento’s collection of fine knit bodycon dresses and voluminous maxis push the boundaries of the craft and have earned him next-big-thing status. Nascimento shows the female body as a sculptural form, with sheer peek-a-boo blouses and pencil skirts that are all hand-knitted. “I really wanted to investigate knitwear, all its facets, and see how far I could go with making it into eveningwear.” Trend is key here, with conical bras and high necklines. The strapless jumpsuit and racer back dress define the sporty glamour aesthetic of spring/summer 2013, while a citrus palette shrugs off any connotations of being “just knitwear.”

Dunst’s dresses as Marie Antoinette, Hello Kitty’s softness, Barbie’s hair.” In his Fashion East show, Lo’s confident attitude was seen in sequin skirts, 3D floral brocade waistcoats and a ball gown adorned with tulle appliqué in red, pink and black, which flounced moodily down the catwalk at the end of the show.

Ryan Lo The girlish concept of thinking pink is given a lacquer of fashion approval in Ryan Lo’s spring/summer 2013 collection, which focuses on the fluffy, girly, tactile and effusive side of the color. This is fun fashion reimagined as highbrow theater. Lo’s references are vast: Disney princesses and girls who drop out of school to become housewives all play their part. Like contemporaries Meadham Kirchhoff, Lo makes his name in frou-frou hemlines, Mövenpick strawberry ice cream shades, good girl gone bad necklines and texture. Texture in all its glory. “I suppose my focus on pink is due to my style icons: Kirsten

MATH Devotees of classic lines and subtle trends love new brand MATH. Beautiful tailoring is the key component in Shahzad Mohayudin’s label, where uncomplicated cuts in leather, silk, jersey and tweed have made it a favorite with shoppers who want a dose of sex with their chic pieces. Championing skyscraper heels, T-shirt dresses, color-block knitwear and trainers, the MATH look is a return to laid-back glamour. Mohayudin’s background in graphic design shines through in his angular shapes: origami necklines sit alongside tulip skirting, while structured jackets add a traditional feel. “When I started eight years ago, I was working on a men’s label that was heavily graphic based,” says Mohayudin. “It had a big effect on me, and I wanted to see how these principles would work if applied to womenswear.” It was MATH’s tracksuitstyle trousers that led the way in London’s love affair with sports luxe, with everyone from Beyoncé to Miranda Kerr making them their trouser of choice. “Graphic design encourages you to be more of an adaptive designer, and it suits the industry perfectly.”

©Ryan Lo, MATH, Lucas Nascimento

A fashion _ newcomers

A fashion _ eyewear

By Grace Banks

Coquettish sunglasses are exactly what summer’s all about

Agent Provocateur



Marc Jacobs


Zac Posen

It’s only ever a hop, skip and jump away to summer’s à la mode looks. One minute you’re browsing the collections, the next you’re on Net-A-Porter shopping for...well, summer’s smoldering accessory, the cat eye sunglasses. Glamorously curved at the edges, these shades are the season’s runaway success. While Victoria Beckham and Jimmy Choo offered a subtle take on the look, Agent Provocateur has catered to the die-hard boundary pushers. The cat eye gives so much more than its retro connotations. It’s a fling of fun, it’s open-top road trips with the music blaring, it’s popping your chewing gum flirtatiously. If Prada had their way, we’d be wearing arched frames in monochrome and mint green lacquer throughout the season – a nod to their spring/summer 2013 inspiration of early ‘60s cars. These shades unleash your inner Lolita, waiting languorously in the back of an old-school diner. Team them with Miuccia’s fit-and-flare skirts if you wish, but don’t be mistaken into thinking their womanly curves make them a bad match for summer’s more utilitarian looks. A 94

Dior’s Miss Moneypenny-inspired frames and Marc Jacobs’ acetate tortoiseshells illuminated the sharp tailoring and androgynous lines of their collections. In fact, the more contrast the better. Make like Saint Laurent and The Row, and let the combo of arched frames and floaty dresses with jeans pack a fashion punch. Bottega Veneta paired a lime cat eye with their coveted floral dress, adding a cute sense of silly to this dramatic piece. If you’ve got a penchant for emerging talent, Illesteva’s oversized dazzlers are ones to watch out for – they recently worked with Zac Posen to develop a limited edition line of shades, and their anything goes vibe delivers over-the-top cool time after time. And that’s the rub. These shades aren’t afraid to be feminine, sexy and crazy. They’re the fashion statement of statements. Doesn’t your wardrobe just love you all the more for it?

©Agent Provocateur, Dior, Illesveta, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Zac Posen

Cat power

A fashion _ jewelry

Designer brilliance

By Tala Habbal and J. Michael Welton

Three designers, one American and two Lebanese, are changing the perception of jewelry as we know it. These women are creating pieces destined to become collectible works of art.

Joanna Dahdah Beirut-born jewelry designer Joanna Dahdah has accumulated an impressive list of awards and accolades in her short time as a high-end jewelry designer. The Central St. Martins alum, who also qualified as a gemologist from GIA London, won Best Newcomer at London Jewelry Week in 2010 and has already had her beautiful, geometry-inspired pieces featured on the pages of Italian Vogue. “I would love to see Angelina Jolie walk down the red carpet wearing one of my rings,” says Dahdah, who opened her flagship boutique in the Beirut Souks in 2010 and also stocks boutiques everywhere from London to Dubai and Hong Kong. Her latest collection, Dancing Pearls, makes use of pearls in a less conventional way, blending them with more modern elements like hammered bangles and rings. Dahdah’s pieces – earrings, bracelets, cuffs and necklaces – incorporate beautiful elements of white topaz, smoky quartz and black spinel, giving them an edgy yet elegant feel. “I usually tend to design using geometrical forms. I always try and make my pieces wearable and comfortable.” In addition to her eponymous line, Dahdah worked on a special collaboration with Swarovski in 2012 and has also created diffusion lines for Jersey Pearl and QVC.

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Joanna Laura Constantine Although Joanna Laura Constantine is tied to and inspired by her Lebanese background, the 31-year-old jewelry designer resides in New York, where she initially got her start in design at Parsons. “I’ve loved designing since I was a kid, but I was never encouraged to pursue my dream, until I decided to move to New York in 2006 and go back to school and study fashion design at Parsons School of Design.” Constantine, who launched her line in 2008 and was inspired by an internship at Donna Karan’s design studio, produces her pieces in Lebanon, where she has a flagship boutique in the Beirut Souks. She also sells all over the world at renowned boutiques like Henri Bendel and online at Gilt and Wink NYC. Her fashion-forward pieces have also graced the pages of US magazines like Cosmopolitan and Redbook. Constantine’s collections include everything from classic to bold statement pieces and blend materials like Swarovski crystals, enamel and turquoise stones. Her latest collection is edgy and quirky, inspired by Native American culture, incorporating triangle and zigzag shapes with bright colors, feathers and arrows. “My customer is between the age of 25 and 45 and loves fashion. She likes to wear unique pieces to stand out and to express herself.”

©Joanna Laura Constantine, Joanna Dahdah, Tam Tran

One-of-a-kind jewelry by three creative women

Tam Tran If you’re going to tackle the international fashion industry, you might as well start with the best. And designer Tam Tran did precisely that – with Tommy Hilfiger, just when that world-famous brand was beginning to take off. “It was a great opportunity. I did everything, trying to figure it out,” she says. Fast-forward 20 years, and you’ll find her designing jewelry and presenting workshops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Design in New York. She studied goldsmithing for a couple of years at Robert Kulicke’s Jewelry Arts Institute in New York, learning to eschew power tools for her metalwork, and picking up a hands-on approach. Now she has her own shop, called Lost Wax Studio, at Spring and Elizabeth Streets in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan. She works in gold, silver and bronze, incorporating beads, coins, hemp and leather into her pieces, and producing amulets, talismans, bracelets and necklaces. There are three components to her studio. First, she offers 10 different artisans’ collections, plus her own. Then there are the raw materials for those who wish to create their own objects. Among these are ancient African trading beads – some of them thousands of years old – that Europeans once swapped for food, equipment

or whatever they wanted from Africa. “They’re clay and glass, and in weird shapes,” she says. “I don’t like anything new and calibrated.” The third option is a wide variety of gemstones, like the turquoise that she purchases from miners in the American West. Her customers include creatives, costume artists, photographers, theater stylists and young girls who are just beginning to work with jewelry. “Older people who’ve been collecting all these things over the years and don’t know what to do with it – they come in too,” she says. “And we get a lot of tourists who want to buy their children something special from New York.” A 97

A fashion _ jewelry

Cuff ¥ em


Noemi Klein

Annelise Michelson

Enhance your look with statement ear cuffs

Some would argue that it’s the key to modern fashion, the vessel of true chic. Through it we channel intrigue into the way we dress, it suggests inherent style – there’s no way you’re wearing this thing if you aren’t cooler than cool. It is, of course, the undercut accessory. We’ve seen fanny packs, gothic chokers and supermarket style handbags. Last summer it was Balenciaga’s heavyset cut-out boot. In summer 2013, the ear cuff has taken the title.

suited to the cocktail hour – a martini and 3D-embroidered Oscar de la Renta evening dress is all her delicately sculpted design needs to sing.

Both charming and quirky, the ear cuff elevates poolside ensembles with a sense of intrigue and gives boardroom dressing the feeling of originality. Annelise Michelson leads the way with her spiked gunmetal offering (the perfect partner to Hedi Slimane’s revamped Le Smoking pantsuit for Saint Laurent) while Karma el Khalil’s intricate floral cuff in rose quartz is ideally A 98

Repossi’s hoop-embellished and jewelencrusted designs add a heady sense of awkward glamour, while Noemi Klein’s use of freshwater pearls and fierce detailing creates an accessory with sophisticated punk charm – irresistible if you’re keen to feel rebellious. Think of your ear cuff as the new cocktail ring, suited to reams of occasions and ideal for spring daytime dressing, a time when directional black and leather are replaced with softer color palettes, leaving wardrobes thirsty for something tough. As endearingly chic as a gap in the front teeth, this piece holds the key to summer’s inimitable swagger.

©Noemi Klein, Annelise Michelson, Repossi

By Grace Banks


A fashion _ beachwear

Belle of the beach Photographer Bachar Srour Stylist Mouna Harati

Tooshie swimsuit, LL487,500; Prada cardigan, LL1,732,500

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Left Balenciaga bra, LL442,500; Moschino Cheap & Chic cardigan, LL825,000; Victoria Beckham skirt, LL1,582,500; Marc by Marc Jacobs bag, LL3,135,000; CĂŠline shoes, LL1,042,500; Bottega Veneta sunglasses, LL675,000 Right Fendi swimsuit, LL667,500; Marc Jacobs cardigan, LL885,000; Dior scarf LL442,500

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A fashion _ beachwear

Left Mara Hoffman swimsuit, LL412,500; Dior top, LL2,242,500; Fendi bag, LL1,192,500; Van Der Straeten bracelet, LL1,492,500 Right ChloĂŠ swimsuit, LL502,500; Dolce & Gabbana towel, LL1,020,000; Saint Laurent shoes, LL1,267,500; Saint Laurent bag, LL2,535,000; Moschino Cheap & Chic bracelets, LL270,000 (each); Marc Jacobs sunglasses, LL1,650,000

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Chloé top, LL1,147,500; McQ by Alexander McQueen bag, LL787,500; Dolce & Gabbana towel, LL1,020,000; Dries Van Noten sunglasses, LL600,000; Alexis Bittar bracelet, LL337,500. Available at Aïshti stores. Hair Didi for Ï Day Spa. Makeup Christian Abou Haidar. Model Kika Jovanovic at Women Management.

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A fashion _ backstage

Before the show Photographer Alice Rosati Stylist Amelianna Loiacono The Heartbeat gala that took place last April at Lebanon’s Casino du Liban featured one of the country’s most glamorous fashion events: a runway show highlighting the latest spring/summer 2013 designer collections. Here’s a look at what happened before the models took to the stage.

Balenciaga, Fendi

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A fashion _ backstage

ChloĂŠ Balenciaga

Aquazzura, Balenciaga, Gucci

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Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Gucci

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A fashion _ backstage

Saint Laurent, Alexandre Vauthier


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Nancy Gonzalez

Saint Laurent

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A fashion _ backstage

Ermenegildo Zegna

Saint Laurent


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Agent Provocateur, Prada



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A fashion _ backstage

Altuzarra, Agent Provocateur

Saint Laurent

Alexandre Vauthier

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A誰shti, Downtown Beirut 01. 99 11 11

A fashion _ heartbreaker

Guilty pleasure


Here’s one to make you swoon. Prada’s red Saffiano bag is luxurious, decadent and totally covetable. The classic tophandle tote is made from crocodile skin, complete with leather lining (of course!) and inside and outside zippered pockets for utter comfort. Price tag: LL50,460,000. Available at Aïshti stores.

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Fashion A siren• s spell Mediterranean tropics Take it over the edge

A sirenÕ s spell Photographer Jimmy Backius Stylist Amelianna Loiacono Location Maameltein, Lebanon

She’s wearing an Alice + Olivia dress, LL1,237,500; Agent Provocateur underwear, LL120,000; and vintage jewelry

This page She’s wearing a Stella McCartney dress, LL4,762,500; Balenciaga bra, LL442,500; and miu miu earrings, LL720,000 Opposite page She’s in a Dolce & Gabbana dress, LL10,792,500; and Marni earrings, LL480,000

She’s in an Agent Provocateur bra, LL180,000; Balenciaga skirt, LL3,397,500; and Saint Laurent shoes, LL893,000

She’s wearing an Hervé Léger swimsuit, LL1,680,000; Marni earrings, LL480,000; and Saint Laurent shoes, LL892,500

This page She’s in a Céline dress, LL2,437,500 Opposite page She’s in an Alexandre Vauthier top, LL2,122,500; and Dries Van Noten skirt, LL6,660,000

She’s wearing a Fausto Puglisi kimono, LL4,387,500; miu miu swimsuit, LL397,500; Etro earrings, LL1,417,500; and miu miu shoes, LL1,447,500

She’s in a Pucci dress, LL13,192,500. Available at Aïshti stores. Hair and makeup Theresa Grundin Model Mandy de Wolff at Paparazzi Model Management

This page She’s wearing a Gucci dress Opposite page She’s wearing a Chloé dress

Mediterranean tropics Photographers Petrovsky & Ramone Stylist Venus Waterman Location Ghazir, Lebanon

This page She’s wearing a Cushnie et Ochs dress and Saint Laurent cape Opposite page She’s in a Stella McCartney jumpsuit

This page She’s wearing a Céline top and pants. Her shoes are by Giambattista Valli Opposite page She’s in a Cushnie et Ochs dress

This page She’s in a Balenciaga top, Chloé skirt, Céline sandals and Emporio Armani sunglasses Opposite page She’s in a Burberry Prorsum dress

She’s in a Giambattista Valli jacket, miu miu jumpsuit and Gucci sandals

This page She’s in a Stella McCartney jacket, Chloé pants, Maison Martin Margiela top and Céline sandals Opposite page She’s in an Hervé Léger dress

This page She’s in a BCBG Max Azria dress Opposite page She’s in a Gomez-Gracia dress. Available at Aïshti stores. Hair and Makeup Siddhartha Bekers Model Sophie Droogendijk at A Models

Take it over the edge Photographers Petrovsky & Ramone Stylist Venus Waterman

She’s wearing a Chloé top, Céline pants, miu miu sandals and Céline necklace

This page She’s in a Dries Van Noten jacket, miu miu top and Céline pants Opposite page She’s in a Chloé top, miu miu skirt, Prada sandals and Marni bracelet. Her bag is by Fendi

This page She’s in a Michael Kors dress, Fendi top and Hervé Van Der Straeten earrings Opposite page She’s in a Christopher Kane jacket, Chloé skirt, Balenciaga sandals and Marni bracelet. Her clutch is by Prada

This page She’s in a Victoria Beckham jacket, Diane von Furstenberg top, Céline skirt and miu miu earrings Opposite page She’s in a Balenciaga top, Chloé shorts and Marni bracelet. Her handbag is by Céline

This page She’s in a Stella McCartney top, Christopher Kane pants, Céline sandals and Hervé Van Der Straeten earrings Opposite page She’s in a Stella McCartney top and pants. Her sunglasses and necklace are by Céline. Available at Aïshti stores. Hair and makeup Siddhartha Bekers Model Sophie Droogendijk at A Models



A誰shti Seaside Bldg., Jal el Dib, Lebanon TEL . +961.4.717 716 FAX +961.4.717 716

Foch Street · Aishti Downtown · Aishti Seaside · Beirut City Centre Aizone ABC · Aizone Intercontinental Mzaar · Aizone Citymall

A beauty _ makeup

Strong and gorgeous By Charlotte Colquhoun

Swap heavy makeup for these heat-resistant releases Pretty summertime makeup is easy to apply, but much harder to keep looking fresh. Banish melting foundation, smudging mascara and drifting eye shadow with these products, designed with warmer conditions in mind.

Skin Entering an increasingly busy field, Saint Laurent Top Secrets BB Cream SPF20 is the brand’s first all-in-one product. With the convenience of a tinted moisturizer, this item also adds a touch of iridescence and the crucial sun protection. Sultry summer evenings require a nourishing oil that doesn’t leave limbs feeling sticky and slippery. To that end, use Clarins Splendors Shimmer Body Oil, which is infused with golden mother-ofpearl particles and refreshing mandarin and grapefruit essential oils. Your décolleté will look more seductive than ever. A 164

Lashes Effective waterproof mascara is the Holy Grail of the summertime makeup arsenal. Lancôme Hypnôse Star 24H Waterproof Show-Stopping Volume Mascara is in the running for the lengthiest name award, but remarkably does live up to all the promises of volumizing and resilience that its moniker makes.

Nails Dior Bird of Paradise Vernis Nail Duo in Samba comprises a bright, summery jade, and a stunning, metallic teal green with an electric green shimmer. Finish with Dior Gel Coat, a truly outstanding topcoat that provides the longevity of a gel manicure with the ease of application and removal of a regular varnish, and ensures your nails outlast the wear-andtear of sandals, sand and swimming.

©Chanel, Clarins, Dior, Lancôme, Estée Lauder, Saint Laurent

Lips Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine has a balm-like composition, which lightly envelops the lips with moisture and pigment, without a thick texture. Ingénue is a delicate nude shade, perfect for poolside preening.

Eyes Classic powdered shadows don’t do eyes any favors in warm weather: their consistency makes them prone to creasing at the slightest hint of mugginess. Crème formulations, with their smooth mousse finish, avoid such flaws, but colors are inevitably weaker and less buildable. Pure Color Stay-on Shadow Paints from Estée Lauder look to marry the wearability of a crème shadow with the depth of color normally only achieved by a powder.


BEIRUT Beirut Souks, Fakhry Bey Street, Tel +01 99 11 11 ext 595

A beauty _ skincare

Beach beautiful

By Charlotte Colquhoun

on the beach by day, chances are it’s still warm in the evening: Sublimage Le Fluide Ultimate Skin Regeneration is created with such circumstances in mind and is suitable for use in temperate climes. While its raison d’être is clearly anti-aging (besieging fine lines, wrinkles, dullness and so on), patented zinc précisphères ensure a shine-free finish. LancÈ me Isolated areas of hyper-pigmentation are, unfortunately, a fact of life for most faces. Bright Expert Dark Spot Corrector & Radiance Activator aims to reduce uneven pigmentation with yeast extract and antioxidant ellagic acid. The lightweight gel texture slips easily over the skin and sits well under moisturizers or makeup.

Skincare products to ward off the harmful effects of the sun

Consider, if you will, a day in the life of your skin. For the majority of us, a normal daily schedule involves precious little time spent outside. Then along comes summertime, and daytrips to the beach, and suddenly our skin is subjected to bright rays from dawn to dusk, salty water and windy shores: skincare must adapt, if skin is to survive. Chanel The Sublimage range provides Chanel’s ultimate anti-aging experience. As premature aging is a major gripe with sun exposure, targeted revitalization is key to the after-sun skincare routine. If you’ve been

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La Mer As harnessing the power of the ocean is at the core of everything that La Mer produces, it’s somewhat fitting that the range should present a skincare product to suit a day on the beach. The new Soleil de la Mer capsule collection fills a gap in their offering and was reportedly created in direct response to customer demands. Reparative Face Sun Lotion and Reparative Body Sun Lotion are designed to defend against UVA and UVB (SPF 30) rays. The anti-aging potential is driven by their go-to Miracle Broth and complemented by a new Golden Algae Ferment, specifically chosen to repair and protect sun-exposed skin. Slap on a layer of the Face and Body Gradual Tan in the evening, and you’ll have even less need to stray out from under the cool and safe cover of the parasol by day.


A serious night cream helps to repair and nourish after the effects of sun, salty seawater and coastal breeze. Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Night bestows hydration in a light, non-oily formulation. Linseed oil and black tea ferment provide naturally derived anti-oxidant content.

A beauty _ must-haves

Sunkissed cool

Fendi’s summer makeup look is as fresh and delicious as ice cream 1. LancÈ me Khôl In Love Eyeliner No. 20, Jade Crush


2. Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear Mascara No. 1, Black


3. Chanel Le Crayon Khôl Intense Eye Pencil No. 69, Clair





4. Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick No. 59, Golden Melon 5. Chanel Les Beiges, Healthy Glow Sheer Powder No. 10



7. Saint Laurent Y Facettes Palette, 4 Wet & Dry Eyeshadows 9.

8. Dior Diorshow Mono Backstage Eyeshadow No. 273, Parati 9. Dior Jelly Lip Pen Color & Shine Jelly Balm No. 656

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©IMAXtree, Lancôme, Saint Laurent, Tsar

6. LancÈ me Teint Idole Ultra 24h Foundation No. 7, Beige Rose



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A celebrity _ designer

Black magic By MacKenzie Lewis

During a recent trip to Beirut, Fawaz Gruosi, owner and founder of the glamorous jewelry brand de Grisogono, chatted with A magazine about his entry into the jewelry business, his discovery of black diamonds and his outlook for the future. Q What are you doing here in Lebanon? A I’m half Lebanese and half Italian, but I grew up in Italy and am now based in Geneva. I’m here socializing for business. Q Your background? A Well, I was in prison for 20 years and –

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Q Oh, wow… A [Laughing] It’s a joke – you were writing that down! Actually, de Grisogono just turned 20 years old. The original idea was to buy and sell jewelry, but I ended up doing the opposite and designing, even though I’d never done it before. Q What were your earliest designs like? A They were shocking at the time. It was the early ‘90s, and everybody in every city was doing minimalist jewelry. So I did the opposite, with baroque style, lots of volume and color. I also started using pink gold, which

at the time was démodé. Now, everybody does it. Q What was the initial reaction? A I was putting a few objects in my shop window and there was a lot of curiosity. There was also a lot of frustration! But slowly, after Sophia Loren and Jacqueline Bisset became ambassadors of the brand and friends, it became the talk of the town. Q Did you ever consider giving up on jewelry? A No, because I didn’t have the choice. I was in Geneva, the heart of the jewelry industry at

©de Grisogono

Fawaz Gruosi reflects on his jewelry brand, de Grisogono

the time, and I had the chance to have a little shop on the main street. I had no money, and the only way out was to be different. Q What role did black diamonds play in your success? A Black diamonds – the love of my life! I discovered them in 1996 and people were saying, this can’t be a diamond, diamonds are white. There were rumors going around that I was a fraud. Even I didn’t know what they were about. I tried doing research at the Gemological Institute of America and Christie’s, but nobody had any references. So I hired two journalists in 1999, and together we wrote The Black Diamond, the only book on black diamonds that exists today. It was real news at the time, and the brand became known for it. Q Is it satisfying when your ideas catch on? A I’m proud because I always made decisions that didn’t make sense, especially not commercially. But after the black diamond I understood the market always needed something different, so I came out with another diamond that wasn’t really used, the milky diamond. It was an immediate success, and people said maybe this guy has something. Q Why did you hedge your bets on something so unusual? A It’s like you’re a talent scout, and you go to a small village in the countryside. You see a girl walking in the street; she’s not

washed properly, no makeup, terrible clothes…but something clicks when you look at that girl, something comes out when you see her. It’s like that with the black diamond. Millions of people had seen it but hadn’t “seen” it. Q What inspires you? A I’d never designed before, so I’m inspired by what’s around me. For example, I was with a woman applying lipstick after dinner one night, and that led to the Lipstick Watch. Q What can you tell me about your new collection? A I can’t talk about it, but I can tell you that in September I’m launching a new watch. It’s going to become an icon. Q What’s your personal timepiece of choice? A I’m very faithful to the suit, the shoes and to my watch, the de Grisogono Instrumento No. Uno. The only thing I’m probably not faithful to is a woman! Q What’s next? A We just opened a shop in Abu Dhabi, and we’re opening a new shop in Miami at the end of April. We have 16 boutiques worldwide, and it all happened by accident. I never looked at fashion; I never followed statistics of other brands. I was just a crazy person who did what I liked. In Beirut, de Grisogono jewelry is available at the Sylvie Saliba boutique in Ashrafieh, tel. 01.330.500, 171 A

A celebrity _ interview

Can you keep a kitchen secret? By William Dobson

In rural Devon, among the gently undulating green of the English countryside, the street name Tumbling Fields couldn’t be more apt. Here, with a little babbling brook at the end of her garden and a herd of cows grazing in the field next door, Bethany Kehdy, cook, writer and entrepreneur, has made her base and, more importantly, her kitchen; the peace and tranquility a far cry from a more chaotic upbringing, jolted between war-torn Beirut, her ancestral mountain farm in Baskinta and Houston, Texas. A 172

Sitting in her very English kitchen, freekeh, kishk and an array of spices incongruously spread across the worktops, the scent of onions being fried with garlic pervades the air. “It’s the quintessential smell of Lebanese home cooking,” Kehdy explains, “and, even now it instantly transports me back to my childhood kitchen, my teta slaving away at the stove, making tabkh as my jeddo read in his armchair, waiting to be fed.” Like so many Lebanese, it was the hand of her grandmother that stirred her appreciation for good, honest food, taking pleasure in the produce of the country. After parading another of Lebanon’s famed assets to an international audience, as a competitor on Miss World, Kehdy traveled the globe “in search of unknown opportunities.” Eventually, she found herself in England with her British husband on a bitterly cold February morning, trying to adopt a (slightly) less itinerant lifestyle. “Struggling to acclimatize to the howling wind and rain,” she says, “I threw myself into the kitchen, cooking the food of my ancestors

the only way to cope. Out of my labors, Dirty Kitchen Secrets, my Lebanese food blog, was born.” In time, Kehdy has begun to embrace British culture – if not the weather – and, so too, she says, the British are starting to embrace hers. “It’s an incredibly inspiring place, diverse and multicultural, with food available from everywhere around the world. At the same time, it feels wonderful to see people take such an avid interest in my heritage and background.” The response has been astonishing; her modern take on Lebanese and Middle Eastern classics has seen her become one of the few to make a successful transition from amateur blogger to full-time author, with a debut cookery book, The Jeweled Kitchen, coming out this July. “Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a constant urge to show people the true colors of Lebanon and the Middle East. Every nation has its pros and cons, and I’m compelled to highlight ours exactly as they are. To be able to do that for a living is an indescribable feeling.”

Added to that is Kehdy’s creation of Taste Lebanon, which offers boutique culinary tours of the country, showing it at its most raw and honest. “I take people to places a lot of locals won’t even have heard of,” she says. “It’s not just about eating, but about discovering how things are made and the importance of food in Lebanese culture.” Kehdy describes how she shows people the full diversity abundant in such a tiny country, from olive groves in the north, to wild zaatar fields in the south and everything else in between. While Kehdy’s life may be in the quiet idyll of the English West Country, her heart is still very much in her homeland, and promoting the cuisine of her country remains both her passion and her job – her “raging appetite for home” constantly steering her focus back to Lebanon. “Making and sharing the food of my heritage satiates not just my appetite, but my longing. I’ve managed to find a form of therapy and a sense of belonging.”

©Sarka Babicka

Food blogger Bethany Kehdy has turned her passion for Lebanese cuisine into a flourishing career


SYLVIE SALIBA - Quantum Tower Achrafieh - Beirut - Lebanon - Tel 01 330 500

A celebrity _ musician

Sexy sound of music

By Pip Usher

Guy Manoukian creates his own brand of melodies

When we first speak, he is in Kurdistan. The following day he is racing to the airport to board a long-haul flight. His Australian tour sees him perform at the Sydney Opera House, an event described as the “highlight of [his] career,” followed by performances at the Dubai Jazz Festival, a Lebanese music festival and a South American tour later in the year. With admirers scattered across the globe, this relentless pace is just another day’s work for the Lebanese-Armenian musician, composer and pianist. Born in Lebanon in 1976, Manoukian has been playing the piano since the age of four. He first appeared on TV at age six. Two years later, his musical composition won a competition, and the subsequent prize, a Yamaha piano, which became an instrumental part of his childhood. By 16, he A 174

had given his first solo concert and, after an overwhelming response from the audience, was officially hooked. This voracious appetite for achievement was enthusiastically encouraged by his arts-loving parents, particularly his father, “a stockbroker… [who] pushed me relentlessly toward music and was the main reason for my success.” But life could have turned out differently. Growing up, Manoukian was a professional basketball player for the Lebanese Basketball League. Jokingly, he claims, “Obviously I was better at music.” There was also a university law degree and a lucrative family real-estate development business, both offering more traditional career routes. Instead, he chose music. And he remains proud of his roots as he tours the world with Wyclef Jean and collaborates with 50 Cent. When asked to describe his musical style, an exuberant, bewitching blend of melodies, he quickly sums it up as “like Lebanon: it has an Arabic twist but is not really Arabic; it has a Western influence, but it’s not really Western; in short, it’s Lebanese: sexy and ambitious.”

©Guy Manoukian

During a time when the rest of the world trudged through monotonous New Year’s resolutions, Guy Manoukian was charging at his with a blistering pace. His resolution? To “spread my music worldwide and really spend a lot of time on the road playing for my fans.”

A design _ exhibit

An exhibit at LA’s MOCA highlights contemporary California architecture A 178

LA-based architect Frank Gehry, who’s viewed by many as one of the most significant and innovative architects of the latter part of the 20th century, provides the base for an exhibit now running at LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Titled “A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California,” the exhibit examines Gehry’s impact on architecture and on the work of the generation of LA architects who followed him, including Greg Lynn, Michael Maltzan, Thom Mayne and Eric Owen Moss, to name a few. The show focuses on this important era in American architecture and presents the first

©Benny Chan, Roland Halbe, Scott Mayoral

When buildings become sculptures

This page The Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech, Pasadena, California, by Morphosis Architects (top) and the interior of Bobco Metals in Los Angeles by VOID (bottom) Opposite page The “Yucca Crater� installation near Twentynine Palms, California, created by BallNogues Studio

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A design _ exhibit

The show’s curator is Christopher Mount, a writer and educator specializing in 20thand 21st-century architecture, design and graphics, and who’s currently an adjunct curator at the MOCA. The landmark exhibit is also accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, co-published by Rizzoli, featuring a wide range of critical voices on this significant period of architecture in Southern California. The Wild Beast Music Pavilion in Valencia, California, by Hodgetts + Fung (top) and Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (bottom)

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“A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California” is on view from June 2-September 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, tel. 1.213.626.6222,

©Tom Bonner, Gehry Partners

extensive examination of the built forms that characterize Southern California architecture after 1990, as well as the geographic, political and socio-economic underpinnings of its development. The exhibition includes both large, fullscale new structures, made specifically for the show, and models, sketches and digital presentations that illuminate their significant achievements.

A誰shti Downtown Beirut 01. 99 11 11

A design _ museum

Tableau vivant By Robert Landon

©Paul Clemence

Renzo Piano’s addition to Boston’s Gardner Museum is a modern masterpiece

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After softening the minds of her guests with music (Bach, Mozart, Chausson), Isabella Stewart Gardner suddenly ordered a wall of mirrors to be rolled away. There, beyond the musicians, was revealed a dream-like vision: a Venetian style courtyard lush with flowers and gilded by the flickering light of Japanese lanterns. It began to dawn on the guests that they beheld not stage scenery but a kind of tableau vivant, and Gardner was inviting them to step inside the exquisite image. And so they moved into the fragrant courtyard, and then beyond it into galleries lined with silk brocade and Gothic tracery, where, in an elaborate game of hide-and-seek, they went hunting for the host’s priceless collection: Rubens and Rembrandt, Vermeer and Veronese, Titian and Botticelli. Thus did Mrs. Gardner unveil Fenway Court – today known as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – to her dazzled guests on January 1, 1903. For more than a century, the museum has cast a similar spell over visitors. Now, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano has designed a major new addition that preserves the delicious sensorial overwhelm that defines a visit to the Gardner. At first, Piano says, he was turned off by the idea of a faux-Venetian palace. “But then, when you arrive, and you go through the threshold into this space, you realize that the beauty may be stronger than everything else, stronger than fate, stronger than kitsch,” Piano said at the museum’s opening. “This is a really great piece of art.”

Specifically, the original museum is a work of art whose subject is Venice itself, with its complex light and “magic, suspended atmosphere,” says Piano. To travel to Venice is to travel into “a new dimension that is timeless. And this is what happens here,” says the architect.

bring the gardens into the building itself. Likewise, large expanses of glass keep the building light and transparent, helping it dissolve a little into its surroundings. Most importantly, all that glass also keeps our eyes focused on what Piano calls the visitor’s real “object of desire:” the palace itself.

Just as Piano was less than excited by the idea of a faux-Venetian palace, I was lukewarm about another brilliantly bland museum by Piano himself. The last few examples I had seen – his additions to the Morgan Library & Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as his Beyeler Foundation in Switzerland – were impeccably executed yet somehow recalled the antiseptic suburban office park I fled eight years ago.

The first floor of Piano’s annex is a bright, glassy maze that encompasses a lounge, café, shop, workshops and greenhouse (which keeps the palace courtyard in bloom). Red lampshades help reduce some of the corporate chill. But the real surprises lie upstairs, in two marvelous cube-like spaces. One takes the form of Calderwood Hall, a warm, womb-like chamber music venue. The other is a bright and soaring gallery that includes a retractable ceiling and state-ofthe-art system for controlling natural light. Just as the palace is the dream of an art-mad heiress, this light-filled, machine-like gallery is the fantasy of any contemporary curator.

But when I recently visited the Gardner, I was delighted and surprised by Piano’s addition. Yes, it has a little of that sanitized shininess of a corporate headquarters, yet after a few hours in its bright, flowing spaces, I found myself increasingly fascinated with the graceful ways it sits in dialogue with Mrs. Gardner’s fantastical palace. Overall, its attitude is one of obeisance. It stands off a respectful distance, and its mass – which, when added up, could overwhelm the museum – has been broken up into modest-sized fragments. Green copper cladding helps it blend into the palace gardens, while small but carefully choreographed courtyards, in turn,

However, the trickiest aspect of the project, according to Piano, lay in forging the connection between transparent annex and mysterious palace. He spans the impossible gulf with a glass hall he refers to as the umbilical cord. Yet rather than leaving the path transparent, he surrounds it with a thick wall of trees so that, as we finally approach the object of desire, it begins to disappear altogether. That is, until we, like Gardner’s original guests, emerge into the otherworldly radiance that still floods her famous courtyard. A 183

A design _ hotel

A Venetian palazzo

ŠAldo and Cristiana Martinelli

By J. Michael Welton

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Philippe Starck designs an avantgarde masterpiece on the Grand Canal

It might be the most traditional and modern venue for an overnight stay in Venice. The Palazzina G, designed in 2009 by Philippe Starck, rests in the Campo San Samuele section of the city, overlooking the Grand Canal. It’s a 22-room boutique affair next door to the Palazzo Grassi museum, offering rooms, suites and apartments in a private palazzo that’s marked by neither signage nor neon. Starck’s design for the hotel takes its cues from its surroundings. It’s classically inspired but dreamlike in its effect. With Emanuele Garosci, developer of Palazzina G, Starck has imagined a space in which tradition and experimentation surprise, transporting guests to a space that’s historic and avant-garde all at once. A magazine spoke to Irene Longhin, a representative for the hotel, to learn more. Q When was the hotel building originally constructed and by whom? Who has occupied it over the years? A The hotel is composed of two different buildings: one facing the Grand Canal dating to the 15th century, and one dating to the 18th. They once were apartments, then commercial storage and more recently, offices of Generali, the main insurance company in Italy. In 2008, the buildings were bought by Emanuele Garosci.

Q Why was Philippe Starck chosen as the architect of the hotel? A Because of his relationship with Venice, where he lives many months during the year. And because of the same poetic vision of the city that the property has and because, until that moment, Philippe Starck had never accepted the challenge to realize a hotel in Italy. Q What was his assignment from the owner? A To realize a place able to transmit all the history, poetry and dream-like atmosphere of Venice. And to make it a place that looks like a home away from home. Q Where did he find his inspiration? A Philippe Starck is a real dreamer – the city was a constant inspiration for him. Q The hotel’s very popular with the Hollywood set. Why is that? A There hasn’t been a planned formula. But it’s because Johnny Depp came and stayed three months when shooting the movie The Tourist, and because, thanks to its location, it can assure real privacy and quiet for all guests. And then because Amy Sacco of Bungalow 8 in New York chose the hotel to recreate a Bungalow 8 spot in Venice during the cinema festival here. And because it’s a place where Naomi Watts feels comfortable dancing until 4am. A 185

A design _ furniture

Reviving the roaring ¥ 20s

By Sabina Llewellyn-Davies

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While to most the thought of furnituremaking in the Middle East brings images of little old men whittling away in cramped workshops, the Lebanese furniture industry is actually on its way to becoming a glam environment. And some dynamic young designers are giving the industry a real boost. One such designer is Georges Amatoury, a Lebanese architect and furniture craftsman who’s passionate about 20th-century design, particularly the decorative arts and midcentury period. He first became interested in furniture design after refurbishing some of his own French antique pieces. After attending workshops on modern production techniques in France and Italy, he began to create his own pieces, at first just for himself

and then for clients. His style developed to follow a geometric pattern, as he combined traditional designs with contemporary strokes, using wood, ebony, metals, marble and stone. Amatoury has been designing custom-made furniture for the past 10 years, and last year he decided it was high time to create his first collection. Named Gama, the new line includes solid polished pieces, all designed and made in Lebanon and now exported throughout the globe. “I was inspired by the glamour of New York and Chicago societies during the ‘20s,” says Amatoury. “I wanted to bring a touch of that glamour into homes. I go back to the past to improve the future. And I adapt the past with new techniques.”


One Lebanese designer looks to the past to create modern furniture

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A design _ trend

Crafty handiwork By Marie Le Fort

Globetrotting chairs (left)

London-based designers Clarke & Reilly recently unveiled “8 Chairs” at Gallery Libby Sellers. The seats are a “poetic travelogue detailing the plight and fate of eight specially sourced chairs as they made their way from the designer’s studio to California and back to London again,” explains Sellers. Combining fashion and antique furniture, the chairs exude nostalgia, romance and a slightly eccentric aesthetic. Visit

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Jet-set in style (above)

The new Chest of Suitcases was inspired by Maarten De Ceulaer’s great passion for traveling and exploring the world. Produced for Nilufar, the range consists of suitcases and briefcases in precious leathers created by De Ceulaer in close collaboration with Belgian leather artisan Ralph Baggaley. The exquisite craftsmanship and sleek detailing result in sublime, unique pieces. Visit

©Baccarat, Maarten De Ceulaer, Thierry Dreyfus, Marni, Nucleo, Libby Sellers/Clarke & Reilly

Limited edition, artisan pieces are revolutionizing the world of design

Fashion in prison (left)

While Marni is best-known for its stunning prints and great accessories, the Italian fashion brand is also making a name for itself in the design field, with a collection of chairs beautifully re-edited for Milan’s Salone del Mobile. The unique thing about them? All chairs are made in Colombia by ex-prisoners and consist of a metal structure adorned with multicolored PVC threads on the backs and armrests. Visit

Let it shine (left)

Mixing woven bamboo with clear-cut crystal, Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana have recently unveiled a collection called Fusion for Baccarat. Hand-woven and hand-blown, each piece is distinct, ranging from a small lantern to a massive chandelier. Visit

Modern archeology (right)

The Gabrielle Ammann gallery, located in Cologne, Germany, is staging a groundbreaking exhibit featuring distinctive furniture pieces by Italian design collective Nucleo. Titled “Future Archeology,” the show explores the interface between contemporary art, design and architecture. To create their handmade pieces, Nucleo use materials like fiberglass, pigment resin and carbon fiber. The exhibit runs until June 28. Visit

Better than a period (left)

Designed by French lightartist Thierry Dreyfus for the Wallpaper* “Handmade” exhibition, which was staged during Milan’s Salone del Mobile, the Virgule lamp is carved out of marble, alabaster, onyx or brass, with a hidden LED lighting system. Virgule evokes “a pure line, a movement, a breath, a comma: an essential light,” says Dreyfus. Visit 189 A

A design _ update

Summer redesigned Peruse the latest offerings from around the globe

What a fun guy! (left)

Let• s pick curtains (left)

Imagined by the Bouroullec brothers for Kvadrat, Ready Made Curtain is an easy-to-install curtain kit that includes the actual curtains and a complete hanging system. After fixing the two mechanisms to your wall or ceiling, and creating tension on the cord, you just need to choose between a wool fabric or a non-woven textile, plus a color (white, dark or light blue, flaming red). Then you can just draw back the drapes and enjoy the view! Visit

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Sit in total peace (above)

Unveiled at the Salone del Mobile in Milan last April, RO is a sleek new chair designed by Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen. In Danish, the seat’s name means “tranquility,” and it refers to a quiet, private space in which one can sit and instantly feel at peace. Wider than a regular armchair, RO is big enough for both an adult and a child. Visit

©Thom Browne, Kristina Kjaer, Kvadrat, Fritz Hansen, Mama Shelter, Felipe Ribon

Danish designer Kristina Kjaer created Fungus, a small lamp that hangs on your clothing rack and lights up your wardrobe. Flexible and portable, Fungus resembles a mushroom – hence its name – and is composed of a lampshade made of wool, an ash handle and a black textile cord. Visit

You better work (right)

Homework is a dashing new worktable created by Swiss designer Tomas Kral for French boutique manufacturer superette. The table is conceived “to be more functional than ever,” explains Kral. “An aluminum cloth is placed on a wooden table then folded to form a refined extension, a toolbox to store documents, objects, photos… anything you need or simply want to see while working.” Visit

Shelter me mama! (left)

Mama Shelter in Istanbul is the first such property to open outside of France (after Paris, Lyon and Marseille). The Istanbul hotel is set right on Istiklal Street, in lively Beyoglu. Imagined by Philippe Starck with a design edge that is neither too much nor too sterile, the property is a great, affordable mix and match of styles and ambiances. One of the hotel’s highlights is the restaurant, which serves FrancoTurkish cuisine. Visit

Tokyo in fashion (right)

Thom Browne’s new Tokyo flagship store was designed by Masamichi Katayama of Wonderwall. Behind the austere, gray, windowless façade, the store unfolds on three levels in six distinct rooms, all connected by a square terrazzo staircase and wall paneling made in brushed brass. “Inside, the store environment evokes not that of any retail space but rather an office from the late ‘50s or early ‘60s,” says Katayama. Visit 191 A

A high art _ interview

Artist in wonderland

ŠTony Elieh, The Modern Institute/Ruth Clark/Jim Lambie

By Marwan Naaman

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Jim Lambie’s work exudes music and magic It’s easy to like Jim Lambie. The Scotsman, who’s just shy of his 50th birthday, is at the peak of his career: his heart-stopping artworks sell for a small fortune, his name is highly respected in artistic circles and he has a number of exhibits coming up in the near future. His work has been shown at some of the most prestigious art institutions in the world, including New York’s MoMA and Anton Kern Gallery, LA’s LACMA, The Modern Institute in Glasgow and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to name just a few. And in 2005, he was short-listed for the Turner Prize. Yet, Lambie remains humble, easily accessible and friendly. 193 A

A high art _ interview

The Glasgow native and resident explained that he is particularly influenced by the things he comes across during the course of a typical day. “I’m inspired by things I find on the streets and in junk shops, by things that people throw out.” Using these found objects as a source, Lambie creates sculptures and installations that reinvent space with an eye-catching interaction of colors, shapes and forms. Viewing one of his art pieces is akin to a psychedelic experience, with lines of bright, vibrant color exploding into one another, making your head A 194

spin and taking you into an alternate, otherworldly dimension. “Growing up, I was only interested in football, art and music,” recalled Lambie. These interests make perfect sense when considered in light of his current work. His sculptures and installations are first and foremost unique pieces of art, but they also seem to move to the rhythm of a passionate rock tune, and at the same time they exude the energy and excitement of a football game. It’s quite incredible to be able to encapsulate all of these emotions into a single sculpture or installation, but Lambie somehow accomplishes this feat. Fans of Lambie can see some of his latest work later this year at Sadie Coles gallery in London, but one of his most exciting upcoming projects is closer to home and closer to his heart. Lambie is currently art directing the design of a public park in Glasgow’s long-neglected East End. “The park will be completed in 2014,” explained Lambie, “and it will revitalize that part of the city.” We can’t wait to see what kind of public space will come out of Lambie’s flamboyant mind.

©The Modern Institute/Ruth Clark/Jim Lambie

Lambie was in Beirut at the end of April to attend the annual Heartbeat fundraising gala. He came to Lebanon upon the request of Aïshti’s owner and CEO Tony Salamé, as the guest of honor at the gala, and to donate one of his spectacular contemporary artworks to be auctioned off during the event. The sculpture, “Metal Box (Tropical Orchid),” sold for a whopping $230,000, with proceeds benefiting Heartbeat, the Lebanese nonprofit organization for children with congenital heart disease.

A high art _ murals

Living murals

ŠJean-Marc Nahas

By Sabina Llewellyn-Davies

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Lebanese artist JeanMarc Nahas exposes his emotions on massive walls “It all began as a sort of challenge between me and my friend Karim, five years ago. He challenged me to paint on a 10-meter wall in his home. And I did,” says Lebanese artist Jean-Marc Nahas. The word about his feat spread, and soon he was asked to paint murals on other walls, in private homes (including the aforementioned friend Karim Bassil’s seaside villa in Fidar), restaurants and even at Bank Audi’s headquarters in Bab Idriss. “In Lebanon we have a complex about creating large art. Maybe, because we are such a small country. We need to change our ideas and limited conception of art.” In May 2013, he decided to create two huge murals for his solo exhibition at the Beirut Exhibition Center (BEC), each of them 25 meters in length. “I had the idea to exhibit at BEC, but had only 15 days to prepare.” 197 A

A high art _ murals

He challenged himself to cover the walls working 18 hours a day. “This is my largest ever mural.” The mural depicts a mélange of people, dressed and nude, sketched with a black marker on a white background, in various situations. The figures are hard to take in as a whole because of the sheer size of the mural and the infinite details: people playing ball on a beach, eating, making love – all typically happy depictions, and yet you can’t help noticing their totally blank expressions. Nahas is perhaps commenting on Lebanon’s social scene, and how one feels terribly alone even when surrounded by people engaged in the same activity.

During his solo exhibition at BEC, Nahas worked sporadically on a mural with his signature black marker, in full view of onlookers – an act of total self-exposure for an artist. Why did he do this? Nahas says that he abhors solitude and prefers to be surrounded by other people, so drawing a mural in public is the perfect medium for him. A larger-than-life depiction of loneliness: this is perhaps what Nahas is attempting to convey with his spectacular murals. A 198

©Jean-Marc Nahas

Another mural shows a comicstrip of faces, painted in sweeping black strokes, with mouth and eyes wide open, some with knives or guns, others performing sexual acts, in juxtaposition with snarling dogs and large beaked birds, all at conflict with one another. Nahas says that the images relate to his own thoughts, perhaps mirroring the artist’s own inner struggles and passion.

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ŠAgnes Denes/Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, Random International, Pamela Rosenkranz, Katharina Sieverding/Klaus Mettig

A high art _ nature

By Shirine Saad

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This page “The Great White Way” by Katharina Sieverding (directly below), “This Is Not My Color” by Pamela Rosenkranz, on loan from the Aïshti Foundation (middle) and Agnes Denes’ “Wheatfield – A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan” (bottom) Opposite page “Rain Room” by Random International

New York’s MoMA PS1 explores the implications of environmental change While some critics deplore the commodification of art in a hyper-competitive and speculative art market, curators and museums are increasingly striving to think outside the box, creating initiatives that are multidisciplinary and address deeper questions in society and politics. “Expo 1: New York,” organized by MoMa PS1 in Long Island City, Queens, is such an initiative. Blurring the lines between the festival and the institution, it rethinks the museum with an abundant offer of exhibitions, solo projects, interventions and modules to explore the ecological challenges that we face in our socially, economically and politically turbulent times. “‘Expo 1: New York’ focuses on some of the most pressing issues of the day – specifically recent ecological challenges set against a backdrop of economic and socio-political concerns that have made a dramatic impact on daily life,” says MoMA PS1’s director Klaus Biesenbach. “These urgencies are described, examined and addressed through different modes: the exhibition of artworks in gallery spaces, educational lectures and discourse, a regular program of moving images, and direct action in improving the building of MoMA PS1 with the installation of solar panels, a temporary energy-saving enclosure on the terrace and the cultivation of plants and produce.” The activities will last throughout the summer and take place in different locations, bringing together young and established artists, architects, thinkers and collectives. The main exhibition will take place at MoMA PS1 until September 2, bringing together different elements 201 A

A high art _ nature

scattered throughout the space. “Dark Optimism” features over 30 artists, from Joseph Beuys to Adrian Villar Rojas, Meg Webster, Agnes Denes and Anna Betbeze, whose works address the failures of Modernism’s utopian ideals

and offer a hopeful alternative for a brighter future. While global warming, recessions, mass protests and political tensions arise, technological innovations (including in the communications sphere, allowing instant access to information) and architectural ideas bring about positive change. Included in the “Dark Optimism” exhibit is a fourpanel art piece by Pamela Rosenkranz on loan from the Aïshti Foundation.

Finally, at the MoMA in Manhattan, London-based art collective Random International’s “Rain Room,” also part of “Expo 1: New York,” is a field of falling water that pauses wherever a human body is detected, allowing visitors to control the rain. The work illustrates the ways in which science, technology and human ingenuity stabilize our environment. Using digital technology, “Rain Room” is a beautifully choreographed deluge – a monumental work that encourages people to become performers on a temporary stage, in the intimacy of the museum. “Expo 1: New York” is on view until September 2 at MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, New York, tel. 1.718.784.2084, A 202

©Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, Charles Roussel, Adrian Villar Rojas/Marian Goodman Gallery/Kurimanzutto

“Expo 1: New York” also features an exhibition of Ansel Adams’ landscapes: moonrises, valleys, forests, rivers and canyons infused with cosmic transcendence. Focusing more specifically on the question of technology and evolution, artist Josh Kline brings together a variety of artists to question the impact of technology on the human body.

This page “Return the World” by Adrian Villar Rojas (above) and the VW Dome 2 in Rockaway Beach (left) Opposite page “Lower Yosemite Fall, Yosemite National Park, California” by Ansel Adams

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A high art _ cuba

Artists on the frontline

In 1944, Alfred Barr of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) put together the Great Cuban Collection. It was to be the gallery’s major exhibition of the year, and among other works of contemporary Cuban art, the show put at its forefront “La Jungle” by Wifredo Lam. At the time, Lam was one of the world’s most compelling surrealist painters, on par with his close friend Pablo Picasso. Prior to the revolution (which began in 1953 and ended in 1959), Cuba’s artistic and cultural ties with America and Europe were tight. Peggy Guggenheim kept a personal collection of Cuban work, including pieces by Amelia Peláez and Cundo Bermúdez, and a strong

relationship between these artists was fostered with London’s Tate museum. Flash forward to downtown Havana in 2013, and Cuba’s creative presence is still strong. As the Havana Biennial prepares for its 12th art fair on the famous Malecón seafront, buyers and curators from around the world are preparing to see the country’s bright young things exhibit in their capital. The mid ‘90s saw the rise of the contemporary Cuban artist, a time when the first and second generations of Instituto Superior de Arte alumni began developing their creative outlook. Established in 1976, the art school was one of Fidel Castro’s first

©José Jasso, Nogueras Blanchard Barcelona/Madrid

No subject is off limits for Cuba’s creatives

By Grace Banks

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This page Photograph on display at the Fototeca de Cuba (top) and “La Cafedral” by Roberto Fabelo at the Instituto Superior de Arte (bottom) Opposite page “Torn Jeans” by Wilfredo Prieto

cultural initiatives, and its radical spirit has undoubtedly influenced the artists, whose work is characterized by themes of representation, boundaries and expression. Wilfredo Prieto is the star of this aesthetic. His 2012 piece “Torn Jeans” is a savage indictment of what Prieto calls the American myth: “The indestructible Levi’s tag is a symbol of American progress and the strength of a new order. The jeans being torn is about the embarrassment of a lost power.” His piece “Discurso” (Speech) turned daily newspapers into toilet paper, a reaction to dictatorship and the realities of fact and fiction. Like Prieto, Orestes Hernández works with mixed media and the surreal. The Havana native is inspired by the Arte Povera mediums of paint and raw material and work such as “Se Acabó la Salsa” (The Party’s Over) strongly identify him with his Cuban roots. Prieto too sees his art as intrinsically linked to his country. “My worries are always filtered through the focus of Cuban culture.” Director of Havana’s Centro Wifredo Lam, Jorge Fernando Torres views Cuba’s artist concerns as proud, fearful and infused with references to American and European trends such as street art and realist photography. 205 A

A high art _ cuba

René Peña has long been working in this world, though he won’t admit it. “I’m still not sure why people describe me as a New York-style photographer,” says Peña. “I guess I’m fascinated by people who live in cities and their interactions. But I really just shoot what I see.” With shots that recall Bruce Davidson and Gary Winner’s street photographs, Peña’s sepia-toned work delivers a sharp insight into the life of Havana dwellers. Photography is an important part of Cuba’s creative landscape. The Fototeca de Cuba gallery in Havana Vieja holds the largest collection in the world and regularly hosts exhibitions of its modern artists. In January 2013, a retrospective of Lissette Solorzano showcased her themes of representation and the self. “I’m interested in the observation and recognition of physical spaces created by humans,” Solorzano says of her photograph “Stairway to Heaven,” a criticism of Guantanamo Bay. Just off the prestigious San Ignacio square lays Havana’s most arresting A 206

space, Taller Experimental de Gráfica. Founded in 1962, the studio captured the international zeitgeist of the ‘60s as well as the revolutionary spirit of post-1959 Cuba. Located in the factory formerly used to design and print cigar labels, it now plays host to the city’s renegade graphic artists. The collective’s work can be seen all over Havana and is a nod to the Brooklyn artist Zephyr and Cuban native José Parlá, who himself has introduced Havana-style street art to New York. House artist Alejandro Sainz Alfonso explains their outlook: “It’s all about self-expression. And power, revolution, of getting better and better.” Biennial curator Juan Delgado sees growth for Cuba’s contemporary artists. Their commitment to presenting the dimensions of the self in a modern world is uniquely raw and is likely to get the attention it deserves. The Havana Biennial runs until June 11, havana-biennale

©José Jasso, Nogueras Blanchard Barcelona/Madrid

A view of the Taller Experimental de Gráfica (top) and “Discurso” by Wilfredo Prieto (bottom)

A誰shti, 71 El-Moutrane Street. Tel.: 01.991111 A誰shti Seaside, Jal el Dib. Tel.: 04.717716 LESILLA.COM

A high art _ city

Marseille• s cultural earthquake

By Brent Gregston

©Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, Robert Capa, Thierry Ollat

France’s southern metropolis is reinventing itself

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This page Still from the movie Bled Number One by Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche (top) and Thierry Ollat’s “Image Renversée” (bottom) Opposite page Robert Capa’s “Troupes Américaines Durant la Bataille de Leipzig”

Marseille is a city in metamorphosis. The selection of Marseille-Provence to be the European Capital of Culture in 2013 was a crowning moment in its transformation. In reaching for European status, the new Marseille remains a diverse, working-class city, but with a changing face. Landmarks like the hilltop Notre Dame de la Garde basilica have been restored. The derelict waterfront has given way to an esplanade of new museums and cultural centers that tie together France, Europe and the Mediterranean. At the heart of the city, the 2,600-year-old Vieux Port is now car free – rehabilitated by starchitect Norman Foster and landscape architect Michel Desvigne. They have laid out

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A high art _ city

This page “Cambodia” (top) and a still from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film North by Northwest (bottom) Opposite page A photograph by Lisa Ricciotti (top) and “Tsiganes, Retour sur Image” by Mathieu Pernot (bottom)

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Right on the seafront is a new landmark: the Museum of Civilizations from Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM). The museum, which opens in June, will dedicate 40,000 square meters of space to Mediterranean culture. The building is a massive cube, surrounded by water, with a latticework façade of concrete that serves as a windbreak, but lets through the light, air and smells of the sea. A footbridge links it across the water to the 12th-century Fort St. Jean and elevated Mediterranean gardens with sea views. Next door to MuCEM is the C-shaped Villa Méditerranée. The villa is symmetrical, half above and half below the dock, with an

©Alfred Hitchcock, Lisa Ricciotti

new sandstone promenades and installed mirror panels that cast shadows and reflections of people as they stroll by. A vast panel of reflective stainless steel protects the crowds from the sun on the Quai de la Fraternité. “Our approach has been to work with the climate, to create shade, but at the same time to respect the space of the harbor,” explains Foster.

underwater gallery. It’s a space, free to everyone, dedicated to cultural, artistic and scientific exchanges between Mediterranean countries. The new Regards de Provence Museum occupies the former Station Sanitaire Maritime. A symbol of Marseille’s colonial past and later seaside dereliction, it was abandoned for 40 years. A kind of French Ellis Island, the station is where immigrants from France’s colonies came to be inspected (and showered and deloused) before being allowed entry. The new museum’s first exhibition, “Regards de Provence: Mediterranean Reflections,” opened on March 1. “We want the people of Marseille to be able to take back the sea coast and the old port,” says Jacques Pfister, head of the association that organized the Capital of Culture makeover. Hundreds of cultural and artistic events are scheduled to take place throughout the year in Marseille and in Aix-en-Provence,

Arles, Aubagne, Gardanne, La Ciotat, Martigues and Salonde-Provence. Talented young artists from all over Europe have been invited to celebrate the region’s cultural status by performing circus acts, street art, contemporary music, digital art, modern dance and urban poetry. The exhibition “Painters and the Mediterranean” (June 13-October 13), taking place simultaneously at Aix-en-Provence’s Musée Granet and Marseille’s Palais Longchamp, lets the visitor look at the region through the eyes of artists who worked in southern France between 1880 and 1960: Van Gogh, Bonnard, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso and De Stael. Marseille is also taking steps to preserve the natural beauty of its surroundings. Only 10 minutes beyond the city limits, the Calanques is a coastline of wild fjords carved into limestone massifs. Its precipitous chalky cliffs plunge into the sea. As of last year, the Calanques has been declared a national park – the only one in Europe to be located on the outskirts of a major city. 211 A

A high art _ exhibit

The color master

By Sabina Llewellyn-Davies

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Patrick Caulfield seems to be at the height of his popularity. The late British artist is the subject of a major exhibit at the Tate Britain, and people are expected to visit his show in droves – an interesting posthumous achievement for an artist who always claimed he wasn’t interested in reaching the mass market. Caulfield (1936-2005) was born in London and spent his life living in the city’s charged urban environment. And yet, or due to this, his favorite subjects were places devoid of

people, seemingly far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. Many of his early paintings from the ‘60s depicted common objects – a chair, a pot or chimneys – outlined in black against a bright color or painted with a decorator’s gloss paint on hardboard, rather than canvas. As a young man, he was a student at the Chelsea School of Art, after which he joined The Royal College of Art in the ‘60s, where his fellow students included David Hockney and Peter Blake. His name became associated with pop art, due to his use of

©Patrick Caulfield/Tate Britain

British artist Patrick Caulfield takes center stage at the Tate Britain

strong colors. But, while many of his contemporaries emigrated to America to seek wider success, Caulfield preferred to stay in Europe. In 1960, at the age of 23, he took his first trip abroad, and during a visit to the Acropolis in Athens he became fascinated by the notion of an ancient world against a new civilization. This idea was to become a signature idea of his work. In the ‘70s, Caulfield began painting interiors, often combining different styles of representation. He went to bars after the crowds had left, seeking privacy rather than social interaction. His still-life scenes set in pubs and restaurants were devoid of people, with a life-sized object, usually in the foreground, portraying his own preference for solitude. “After Lunch” features a photo realist image of the Chateau de Chillon hanging in a restaurant interior, drawn out in black lines against a flat, two-toned background, featuring a dining table and chair. And, in typical Caulfield style, there are no diners or food depicted in the painting. The Tate Britain exhibit brings together over 30 key works, showing a full range of Caulfield’s varied oeuvre. The Patrick Caulfield exhibit runs from June 5-September 1 at the Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1, tel. 44.20.7887.8888, 213 A

A high art _ exhibits

Beirut shows off Check out the city’s summer exhibitions Syrian artist Hasko Hasko presents a solo exhibit of his work, which focuses on the themes of nature, animals and mythical figures inspired from northeastern Syria. The artworks are generally in oil paint or mixed media, with low-key colors and defined brushstrokes. On view from June 11-July 1 at Art on 56th, Youssef Hayeck St., Gemmayze, tel. 01.570.331,

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©Beirut Exhibition Center, Hasko Hasko/Art on 56th, Clémence Van Lunen/Galerie Alice Mogabgab

Hasko Hasko

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A group show curated by Gilbert Lascault, “La Gloire du Végétal” highlights work inspired by nature’s wild wonders. The 25 artists exhibiting their work include Clémence Van Lunen, Didier Lhonorey, Gérard TitusCarmel and Patrice Giorda. On view until July 26 at Galerie Alice Mogabgab, Karam Bldg., Ashrafieh, tel. 01.204.984,

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“Journeys through our Heritage: Revisiting the Modern Artists” is a group exhibit curated by Janine Maamari and Marie Tomb. The curators commissioned 21 Lebanese artists born after 1970 to create a work in the media of their choice, informed by aspects of Lebanese artistic modernism. The end result is featured in this show. The 21 artists include Zena Assi, Mohamad Said Baalbaki, Abdulrahman Katanani, Mazen Kerbaj, Rima Maroun, Stéphanie Saade and Alfred Tarazi. On view from July 4-August 4 at Beirut Exhibition Center, Minet el Hosn, tel. 01.962.000,

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A high art _ exhibits

Mireille Kassar

©Mireille Kassar/ Agial, Guy Tillim/Beirut Exhibition Center, University of California/Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive

Paris-based, Lebanese artist Mireille Kassar unveils a solo exhibit titled “The Conference of the Birds.” This latest show includes pieces from her “Landscapes” series, a group of works on paper that explore the notion of landscape as a dimension, rather than a pictorial subject. On view until June 28 at Agial Art Gallery, Abdel Aziz St., Hamra, tel. 01.345.213,

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A fascinating, nostalgia-infused exhibit, “Video Vintage 19631983” showcases 72 videos by over 50 international artists selected from the Centre Pompidou’s New Media Collection in Paris. The videos are presented in a vintage setting, complete with staged living rooms that encourage visitors to watch works of video art in their original historical dimension. On view until June 27 at Beirut Art Center, Jisr el Wati, tel. 01.397.018,

Prix Pictet: Power

The Prix Pictet, founded by Swiss bank Pictet & Cie, is one of the world’s leading environmental photography prizes. The theme for the most recent prize, which opened with an awards ceremony and exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London last October, was power. French photographer Luc Delahaye was chosen as the overall winner. The shortlisted artists included Robert Adams (United States), Rena Effendi (Azerbaijan), Jacqueline Hassink (The Netherlands), An-My Lê (Vietnam/United States) and Guy Tillim (South Africa), among others. This exhibit features the work of the 12 finalists. On view from June 6-30 at Beirut Exhibition Center, Minet el Hosn, tel. 01.962.000, A 217

A gourmet _ lebanon

This side of paradise By May Farah, Julie Ann Getzlaff, Marwan Naaman and Warren Singh-Bartlett

People at Faqra

The sleek, chic confines of People, up in Faqra, are perfectly suited to Lebanon’s long summer days. You can dine indoors if you wish, in the contemporary dining area, but since Faqra in summer is so utterly pleasing, choose to sit on the breezy terrace, in order to best enjoy the Lebanese mountains’ golden summer and Faqra’s dry, clean, purifying air. The cuisine at People is French Mediterranean with a modern twist, featuring changing specials such as quinoa salad, with cranberries, halloum, eggplant and raspberry vinegar, and a succulent steak served rare and best accompanied by a glass of Segla Margaux red that releases, as it goes down, the heat of the summer that ripened its grapes. Finish off your meal with homemade orange, lemon and rose sorbet. For reservations, tel. 09.301.777. A 218

Veritable gourmands, the Lebanese have an affinity for glamorous, over-thetop restaurants where the cuisine is divine and the setting is nothing short of spectacular. Six restaurants, in various Lebanese regions, all offer a memorable dining experience.

Indigo on the Roof

Indigo on the Roof is Le Gray’s crowning glory, a glittering rooftop restaurant that embodies Downtown Beirut’s postwar renaissance. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Indigo on the Roof, offers dining indoors by candlelight or al fresco eating on a magnificent terrace, with the restored buildings, churches and mosques of Downtown Beirut as a dramatic backdrop. The cuisine is international with an Asian twist, featuring salmon, lobster and beef specials, among many other options. The wine list is carefully devised, with local and international vintages, but whatever you choose, whether a light white from the Bekaa Valley or a hefty red Bordeaux, you’ll want to sip slowly and savor the moment: Indigo is no place to dine quickly; it has enough magic to make you want to linger. For reservations, tel. 01.972.000.

Al-Sultan Brahim

Now just over a year old, Al-Sultan Brahim in Tabarja is one of the country’s finest Lebanese restaurants. The place is set directly below the Casino du Liban, with a grand, glass-enclosed dining room complete with soaring ceilings, verdant plants along the back wall and dramatic views of Jounieh Bay. The al fresco terrace that juts above the Mediterranean is particularly appealing on warm summer nights. In addition to tasty Lebanese mezza, Al-Sultan Brahim serves refined fish and seafood dishes, including samak ras asfour (dried fresh fish with a special lemon and soy sauce), squid with ink, breaded or grilled calamari, crab rolls, fish kibbeh and a fresh selection of fish, lobster, crab and shrimp prepared to your liking. For reservations, tel. 09.853.753 or 70.853.753.

©Byblos Sur Mer, Raya Farhat, Le Gray, George Sokhn, Table Fine/Génia Maalouf

Lebanon’s restaurants are a heavenly affair


Owner Paul Hadife named his restaurant after his mother, Lola. Set in Naas, in the soaring heights of Mount Lebanon, amid lush forests of umbrella pines, Lola serves superior international cuisine, with menu specials such as Australian beef, frogs legs à la Provençale, grilled merguez sausage and côte de boeuf Wagyu. Lola’s opening in Naas was welcomed by local foodies, since it marked the arrival of an international eatery in an area that traditionally only offered Lebanese restaurants. Great food notwithstanding, one of the main reasons to dine at Lola is the magical setting. The sprawling outdoor terrace, with plush, comfortable seating and picturesque views of romantic red-roofed towns and traditional Lebanese villages, makes dining at Lola a true pleasure. For reservations, tel. 04.983.440.

Dar L• Azrak

At Dar L’Azrak in Byblos, you’re literally sitting on the sea. Built on a jetty in the shape of the hull of a ship, complete with a vaulted wood ceiling, and surrounded by the blue waters of the Mediterranean, with the port of Byblos nearby, Azrak (as it’s more informally known), specializes in all that is fresh from the sea, along with traditional Lebanese mezza. Part of the picturesque Byblos Sur Mer hotel, Azrak serves specials like squid in ink, fried calamari, fish tajen and kibbeh, and a daily selection of fresh fish caught locally and prepared to your preference. It’s an idyllic setting for lunch – with the boats and yachts passing by and the verdant mountains in the background – or for dinner, as the waters turn a dark blueblack, the mountain lights twinkle and the waves splash along the shore. For reservations, tel. 09.548.000.

Table Fine

The kingdom of Michelin-starred French chef Jérôme Serres, Table Fine is a dream of a restaurant, floating above Jounieh Bay and set inside an ancient, traditional Lebanese white-stone house. Here, while gazing at panoramic views of the Mediterranean, diners enjoy French-inspired cuisine that’s light yet incredibly flavorful. “I don’t use cream or butter,” explains Serres, adding that he wants the distinct flavors of his dishes to explode on the palate, rather than disappear under heavy doses of butter or cream. Be sure to try the many ceviches served with a sauce of your choosing. Although Table Fine is now set on the ground level, there are plans to move the restaurant to the upper floor, thus affording diners even more engaging views of the bay, the hills and the shimmering lights of the nearby homes. For reservations, tel. 09.919.666. 219 A

A gourmet _ restaurants

Armenian food adventures By Salma Abdelnour

Where to go in Beirut for hearty Armenian cuisine In Lebanon, it’s all too easy to take Armenian food for granted. Beirut in particular is full of excellent places to experience the cuisine. But if you look for Armenian restaurants in other cosmopolitan cities around the world, you’ll have a more difficult time. That’s a shame, since Armenian food is so distinct and intensely flavorful. While it shares influences and overlaps with Lebanese, Syrian, Russian, Georgian, Persian and other regional traditions – thanks to a history of conquest and diaspora dating back millennia – Armenian food has its own unique repertoire of recipes and tastes. The Lebanese are lucky to enjoy the cuisine in all its glory. The Armenian presence in Lebanon dates back to Phoenician times and has multiplied over the past century, particularly since 1915, the year of the Ottoman government’s genocide and expulsion of the Armenian population in what is now Turkey. There are now more than 150,000 Armenians living in Lebanon, and generations of talented Armenian cooks and restaurateurs around the country – especially in the Beirut neighborhood of Bourj Hammoud and in Anjar in the Bekaa Valley – have been instrumental in turning Lebanon into a prime destination for Armenian food.

The graceful garden in front hints at the atmosphere at Seza, a relative newcomer in Mar Mikhael. Inside is a stylish dining room lined with cushioned banquettes, and a menu that includes Armenian must-haves like kafta with sour cherries, and muhammara, the addictive walnut-and-red-pepper puree. Weather permitting, the outdoor tables, surrounded by flower pots and shielded from the street, offer the best seats in the house. Mar Mikhael, tel. 03.251.257. A 220

©Mayrig, George Sokhn


Al Mayass

At this Ashrafieh favorite, an alluring pink sign written in Arabic leads into a spacious dining room with gleaming wood floors, chic chandeliers and live music. The menu includes specialties such as basterma (cured, spiced beef), flambéed soujouk and a vibrant Armenian salad of fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. Perhaps as a testament to the growing interest in Armenian cuisine, Al Mayass recently opened a branch in New York City. Ashrafieh, tel. 01.215.046,


One of Beirut’s classic Armenian restaurants, Mayrig is designed to impress, with its lovely stone-walled dining room and arched doorways. The food, elegantly presented, ranges from stuffed Swiss chard to eggplantfilled kibbeh and sou bereg, a rich, savory pastry made of layered cheeses. For dessert, the house selection of unusual compotes and preserves – served up like small, colorful jewels – is not to be missed. Gemmayze, tel. 01.572.121,


Somewhat difficult to find – it’s tucked under the elevated highway that leads from Ashrafieh to Dekwaneh – Onno repays the effort it takes to track it down. A couple of tables on the ground floor and five upstairs make up the sum total of the small restaurant, but the flavors are huge. The potato kibbeh is particularly good here, as is the itch – a tomatoey, burghul-packed Armenian version of tabbouleh. Bourj Hammoud, tel. 03.801.476, onnorestaurantlebanon

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A gourmet _ casual eats

Eating in Hamra

By Alia Gilbert

Hamra was once Beirut’s most famous neighborhood, the closest thing the Arab world ever had resembling New York’s iconic Greenwich Village. Those days are long gone, with Hamra having lost its luster to newer, more fetching areas like Ashrafieh, Verdun and Downtown Beirut. However, due to the presence of Lebanon’s best two colleges (AUB and LAU), Hamra retains a unique youthful energy. This fresh vibe is evident in its fun eateries, all geared to Beirut’s younger generation.

Lord of the Wings


Hotdog & Beyond



Bread Republic

Grab a form, take a pencil and check your way into chicken wing heaven. Head straight for the bright red “Famous Signature Wings” section, and order lemon coriander and citrus pepper wings: they’re out of this world. Tel. 01.345.686,

Ka3kaya’s signature juicy hot dogs, loaded with all of the fresh toppings that suit your fancy, are way too good to pass up. Daytime, nighttime, whatever time, these franks will satisfy that ballpark craving. Tel. 01.742.729. A 222

If global warming had a restaurant, Brisk would be its chief competitor. Food is kept local whenever possible, preservatives aren’t used and all fruits and veggies are fair trade. Eco-friendly means hunger-friendly. Tel. 01.345.677,

Hamra’s healthiest eatery serves food that’s good for you. Fiber’s owner Nasser Youssef brought together a dietician and chef to create a menu that pairs each item with nutritional facts, so you know exactly what you’re eating. Tel. 01.735.935,

Hotdog & Beyond has 20 hot dogs on the menu, ranging from the skewered and grilled hot dog kebab to the classic chili dog. Offering frankfurters from Germany, this delectable dog is a far cry from a roadside kiosk. Tel. 70.788.989,

This gastronomical gem gives new meaning to the term “breaking bread.” Bread Republic’s mission is clear: to serve up good, wholesome grub that’s truly down to earth. Pass the breadbasket, please. Tel. 01.739.040,

©Raya Farhat

The dynamic Beirut neighborhood is a haven for cool, casual restaurants

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A gourmet _ herb

Thyme and thyme again By Salma Abdelnour

Does Lebanon’s zaatar make you smarter? If you were raised in a Lebanese household, there’s a strong chance you were fed zaatar, via a manouche or ‘arouss labneh, before every school exam. That’s because zaatar makes you smarter – right? Or so say mama, teta and tante.

One source of confusion is that zaatar often refers both to the plant and to the spice blends that include zaatar as a main component. The central ingredient, a type of wild thyme, has a long and storied past. One of the earliest known references is in the Bible, where it’s mentioned as a cure for leprosy. A famous celebrity zaatar fan was King Tut – or at least the herb was found in his tomb, placed there so it could accompany him to the afterlife. But what exactly were King Tut and his ancestors eating? Most likely it was one of two varieties of a certain ancient herb. “The thyme that is widely available in the Middle East [is] Thymbra spicata or Thymus capitatus,” writes Suzanne Husseini in her new cookbook, Modern Flavors of Arabia. But A 224

she points out that these varieties of the herb are different from those found elsewhere in the world. When wild thyme is not available, “the best substitute in terms of flavor and texture is fresh oregano,” Husseini notes. Just as the flavor and quality of the main herb can vary by region, zaatar blends differ in the proportions and preparation of the other key ingredients: toasted sesame seeds, ground sumac, salt and sometimes marjoram. Like curry mixes in Southeast Asia, zaatar recipes can be so closely guarded that a chef or family cook won’t even reveal the ingredients to relatives.

The enduring mystique of zaatar – not to mention its addictively tart, complex taste – has led more and more cooks and chefs who have no Middle Eastern heritage to experiment with it lately. The ingredient has become trendy in restaurants from San Francisco to Boston to London, with chefs using it as a condiment to serve alongside fresh bread or as a crust for roasted fish or meat. If zaatar doesn’t actually make you smarter, trying to figure out its complexities and its endless culinary possibilities just might.


Whether or not zaatar does in fact lead to higher test scores and a life of guaranteed success and riches, one thing is certain: it’s absolutely central to Lebanese cuisine and identity. What many zaatar fans don’t realize, however, is that its components can vary widely from one region and family to another. Zaatar is ultimately as hard to define as it is delicious.

CAMPER BEIRUT SOUKS Souk El Tawileh Street, Beirut central district. T 01 99 11 11, ext 568

A gourmet _ olive oil

The golden touch By Sabina Llewellyn-Davies

Baino is well worth a visit, especially during the olive harvest season. After navigating the chaotic road leading to the village of Halba, driving through the Akkar region up to Baino is idyllic and comparable to touring Tuscany’s olive region. The village is also home to Lebanon’s first olive oil boutique, founded by Fares and housed in the family’s old stone shed. It showcases ancient tools as well as olive oil, olives and soaps.

Lebanon’s olive oil is one of the country’s most coveted treasures Lebanon’s countryside is steeped in olive groves. The roads winding through mountain villages, from north to south, lead through expansive, far-stretching groves where olive trees have been growing in the wild for centuries. Remains of ancient stone presses have been found here dating back to the Hellenistic period, evidence that the Levant pioneered olive oil production. These natural monuments, from ancient colossi to younger striplings, are crucial to the rural way of life and closely tied to the cycles of A 226

For Youssef Fares the olive harvest begins at the end of October. His family has cultivated olive trees in Baino, Akkar, for decades, and trees on his land date back 1,000 years. “The old stone mills here used to be pulled by donkeys,” says Fares, who is considered a pioneer for introducing new cultivation and pressing techniques to increase the production and the quality of Baino’s olive oil.

The olive harvest has always been a real family affair for Morkos. His father would beat the tree with a long stick to shake the olives to the ground, and the women and children would collect them. The olives were then packed into cloth bags, stacked on donkeys and taken to the stone press. Today, Deir Mimas has three modern mills to press quality oil. And, as in the rest of the country, the yield from his olive trees varies from year to year. “Fifteen kilos of oil per tree means a good year, but in 2012 the olive yield was much lower, just 10 kilos,” says Morkos. “Sixty kilos of olives will make 15 kilos of olive oil.”

Fares believes that his oil is unique, not only in taste but also in quality, due to his modern pressing traditions, organic cultivation methods and the unpolluted environment. His Zejd brand of organic extra virgin olive oil has already won several awards for quality and packaging.

Morkos and his wife Mona established the Aghsan association, which sells the village’s olives, oil and soaps as well as pickles, jams, herbs and syrups, to provide employment and income for the villagers. “I love the land here,” says Morkos. “The olives are our past and future in this country.”

cultivation. Some years the trees carry a full load of olives and other years they just refuse to bear.


Across the country, in Lebanon’s deep south, olive cultivation is also strongly rooted, and the yield has provided families with income for centuries. Kamel Morkos was born in Deir Mimas, a southern village close to the Israeli border, the youngest of six children. He grew up in humble circumstances, with his family struggling to survive on the fruits of their land, all of them sleeping and living in just one room. Against all odds Morkos went on to earn a PhD in civil engineering and founded Retouche, a company specializing in shop fittings, in Dubai during the ‘70s. Most Lebanese are unwilling to invest in the land due to a lack of security in the region, but Morkos has planted over 1,000 olive trees in Deir Mimas over the past decade.

7 For All Mankind store, Beirut Souks, Souk El Tawileh Also available at all A誰zone stores in Beirut, Dubai, Amman

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A gourmet _ wine

Gift of wine By Sabina Llewellyn-Davies

Shop at Beirut’s fabulous wine boutiques

Lebanon has been cultivating grapes for thousands of years, with production traditions that go back millennia. Wine is the county’s largest export, and consumption is up and up, as are imports. And so are the number of luxurious wine stores on the Beirut scene offering a selection of Grands Crus from around the world, as well as Lebanon’s very own majestic tipple.


La Cave de Jo• l Robuchon

This glossy red and black gem of a wine boutique, nestled in the Beirut Souks, is the brainchild of Joël Robuchon, Michelin-starred French chef and restaurateur, and the man behind some of the best eateries from Paris to New York and Hong Kong. He also hosts a culinary TV show in France. In Beirut, La Cave de Joël Robuchon is intent on offering good Burgundies and Bordeaux, as well as a selection of local wines. Manager Yara Abdel Ahad is always on hand to advise, with a cellar that covers a wide selection of wines and follows the same spirit as the wine cellar in Paris, whose motto is “small wines, top wines, good wines.” Beirut Souks, tel. 01.993.109. A 228

©Enoteca, Joël Robuchon, Taillevent, Vineyards, Vintage

The well-established La Maison du Vin Enoteca was founded in 1993 and has built up an excellent reputation over the past years for its fabulous international and local wine offerings. The current selection regroups more than 800 labels from renowned vineyards, and the two stores (in Tabaris/Ashrafieh and Zalka) aim to offer as wide a selection as possible in a stylish setting, all decked out in light wood. Both stores offer the valuable vintages, but also the “good value wines,” in line with Enoteca’s aim to give satisfaction to all wine lovers, regardless of the size of their pocketbook. Charles Malek St., Ashrafieh, tel. 01.204.377, and Zalka Highway, tel. 01.898.597,

©Enoteca, Joël Robuchon, Taillevent, Vineyards, Vintage

Les Caves de Taillevent

Thierry Gardinier, president of the Taillevent Group, came to Lebanon back in March to oversee the muchanticipated launch of Les Caves de Taillevent in Beirut, sister to the well-stocked Parisian wine store. Actually, to call this a mere wine store is a real understatement: Les Caves de Taillevent in Paris boasts over 150,000 bottles of wine from all around the world. The Beirut store was launched with 600 references and aims to add many more over the coming years. All are stored in a real showcase of a temperature-controlled cave and include the Grands Crus, the rare wines and the fresh up-and-coming vintages. The walls of this wine store are lined with the signature green bottles by French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, and the Tabaris/Ashrafieh venue houses a serious wine bar and a gorgeous tasting room. Plus, a team is on hand to advise on wine selection and the best storing conditions. And if you don’t have the perfect wine cave at home, then you can just store your vintage right here! Les Jardins de Tabaris, Ashrafieh, tel. 01.217.883,


For the past 10 years, Vintage Wine Cellar has called Saifi Village home. The store offers over 600 references and prides itself on impeccable storage, with wine warehouses set at perfect temperatures and humidity controls. Apart from a good array of wines, the arched stone venue hosts oenological dinners and events. And to reach out to amateur wine lovers and connoisseurs alike, cellar manager Wadih Riachi organizes a different activity in store every Wednesday, like wine tasting, food pairing and even glass matching. The venue can be used to host private dinner parties as well as tailormade tasting courses. Vintage also assists in setting up a wine cellar, or else stores a client’s wines at just the right temperature. George Haddad St., Saifi Village, tel. 01.970.222,


Vineyards was established three years ago and offers well-chosen Grands Crus, as well as decent house wines, but, the real gems here are the great Bordeaux wines. The venue is small in size, but easily accessible at ABC Ashrafieh mall. Wine lovers can benefit from the services of the manager, who will advise and guide in selecting the best wine for any occasion. If the store doesn’t carry the desired wine, the manager will order it for you and even deliver it to your home. Call to inquire about Vineyards’ biannual wine festival. ABC Ashrafieh, tel. 01.329.229. 229 A

A gourmet _ wine

A winery for the ages By Michael Karam

Interest in Lebanese wine is at an all-time high. The last six years have seen Lebanon well and truly enter the global wine consciousness, and the country’s 40 producers, as well as the 8 million bottles they make every year, have never been more coveted. This success has not come easily. The breakthrough has taken at least 23 years – the period since the end of the war – of hard work, and the brunt of this effort has been made by the handful of wineries that were at the forefront of Lebanon’s wine revolution in the latter half of the 20th century and the past decade. Among the most dynamic has been Château Kefraya, founded

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in 1978 by Michel de Bustros, scion of a Bekaa landowning family that first planted a modest nine hectares of grapes in 1951. It was a speculative move and one that was greeted with skepticism from the locals. How wrong they were. Today the winery boasts over 430 hectares within the commune of Kefraya, in the West Bekaa, and does not buy grapes from any other supplier. Now in his 80s, de Bustros is ready to hand over the reins of influence to a new generation that will no doubt carry the torch into a bright future, but his enormous legacy in the formative years of Lebanon’s modern wine industry cannot be overestimated.

In 2004, when I was writing Wines of Lebanon, I asked de Bustros, why he decided to establish a winery three years into a crippling civil war. He smiled and shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said suddenly waving his hands in an attempt to find a suitable explanation before throwing them up in mock defeat. “There was an inspiration. That is all I can say.” It was a move that has paid off in spades. Kefraya is now Lebanon’s second biggest producer and the winery that gave the world Comte de M, one of Lebanon’s most exciting wines and the first one to gain international recognition after the war. “We were very excited by the quality,” says de Bustros today. “We knew


Kefraya embodies Lebanon’s love affair with wine

we had a beautiful wine, one that would define our vineyard.’ Its reputation was enhanced by Robert Parker, the notorious American wine critic, whose famous grading system, similar to that of an American high school, can make or break a vintage. “‘Below 90 you can’t sell it,” remarked the equally unconventional Bordeaux wine merchant Jeffrey Davies. “Above 95, you can’t find it.” Parker awarded the 1996 Comte de M 91, and he describes that vintage as “an outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. I consider these terrific wines.” De Bustros is, understandably, in agreement and sees the Comte de M as

arguably the finest Lebanese wine. “If a Lebanese wants to honor you, he will serve Comte de M,” he tells me. Comte de M is a still winning over wine lovers around the globe, and the 2009 has even bettered the 1996 vintage after being awarded 92/100 points by Parker’s magazine, The Wine Advocate. But de Bustros has other creations of which he is equally proud. “Now we have Vissi D’Arte, a sister to the Comte de M, a white wine of the highest quality that can only enhance Kefraya and Lebanon’s reputation,” he explains, sitting in the reception area of the imposing château, his Bekaa residence. “We have also recently launched a white and rosé to sit

alongside our famous Château red. It’s a powerful range.” I remind de Bustros of how far Lebanese wine has come since the end of the war. What does wine mean to him? He sits back on his chair. “I will answer on two levels. Firstly, wine of course is one of nature’s finest expressions and something that we Lebanese have been doing for thousands of years so it is in our blood. But on another level, and this is almost as important as the first, wine is an expression of civilization, and when we take Lebanon’s wine all over the world, we are communicating what it means to be Lebanese and all that is good and wonderful about this country. You can’t put a price on that.” Indeed you can’t. A 231

A special _ report

Chef d• orchestre

ŠJoe Kesrouani

By Warren Singh-Bartlett

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Lebanon’s Gregory Gatserelia is tracing his own course in architecture and design The last time I sat and really chatted with Gregory Gatserelia, he was working on the (then) new Sultan Brahim in Aley and had just finished the design for Cocteau. Not the big new branch on Beirut’s future Fifth Avenue, but the smaller, more intimate original just opposite Sodeco Square. When I think about it, that was – goodness – back in 2004, practically a lifetime ago. Despite the passage of nine years, Gatserelia appeared unchanged, sporting the same frayedaround-the-edges look of a man who likes his nightlife, shaven head, all black ensemble and unhurried way of speaking that I remembered from before. Which is not to say that his life has stood still in any other way. No longer “just” an architect/ interior designer, Gatserelia is now, as he has been for a few years, the proud owner of smogallery. Refreshingly, this chic gallery space in the as yet underexploited neighborhood of Karantina – an area which given the burgeoning growth across the autostrade will soon be Mar Mikhael’s logical overspill – is not dedicated to Gatserelia’s work, but rather to showcasing those to whom he wishes to draw attention. Later this year, smogallery will take part in London’s PAD,

the annual 20th-century art, design and decorative arts fair in Mayfair. This is not only a sign of recognition, it’s also a great platform, a fortuitous and prestigious opportunity for the gallery to raise its international profile. The invitation came about at an art fair in Dubai last year, when one of PAD’s organizers saw smogallery’s stand and, in particular, one spectacular piece by Najla Zein, made entirely out of cutlery. “It was confusing to a lot of people,” Gatserelia says. “It’s actually a sconce, a light fixture, but it looks like a sculpture. They asked us to take part in PAD Paris, but it was too short notice. Anyway, I prefer London, so we said we’d participate [at PAD] there.” Confusing or not, three of Zein’s full-size pieces were bought by collectors and now grace homes in Beirut, Amman and London, and two smaller pieces live in a home in Singapore. The time couldn’t have been better, for Zein’s star is rising and the artist has been invited by London’s V&A to put on a show later this year. As for PAD, Gatserelia aims to put on a show that will, as he puts it “create a buzz. Not as art, not as design, something bizarre,” he continues, as we chat, sitting at the long, gracious Frank Lloyd Wright dining table adorning smogallery’s main room. “We want to open with a ‘wow,’ so I contacted Ranya Sarakbi.” Sarakbi, for those who don’t know, is the very talented Lebanese artist/ jewelry-maker with a penchant for creating almost lethal-looking pieces and who now works out of Milan. Her 12-meter-long, fully articulated snake, “Ouroboros,” which was the centerpiece at the exhibition for a collection Sarakbi did last year for Lebanon’s Mr. Leather, Johnny Farah, is a recent acquisition by the gallery.

Gatserelia is also in the process of tracking down a suitable space for his gallery to open a small, permanent branch in London. The idea is to use this space as a way to continue the work smogallery does in Lebanon, promoting the work of local and regional talent, gifted individuals who otherwise might never have access to the wider world. While that means Lebanese/Arab talent for the most part, Gatserelia and his partner Maya Khawam increasingly represent artists from other parts of the world. That representation extends to Gatserelia’s work as architect and interior designer. Many of the artists at smogallery are people he has worked with on his projects, whether commissioning custom pieces, or using existing works, in his designs. Given that the new Cocteau, for example, has just won an award from RIBA, and Balthus is featured in an upcoming book of the world’s best restaurant interiors by Taschen, this is good news, especially for less-recognized names. Though many of those Gatserelia champions, such as Anwar Azzi, Walead Beshty and Ziad Antar, already enjoy international recognition, even if they are not as well appreciated at home. Gasterelia has also just been named one of the top 100 interior designers worldwide for 2013 by AD Collector magazine. Often, he says, the relationship between the designer or artist and the client to whom Gatserelia proposes their work, extends well beyond completion of the project. “My role is more and more like that of the chef d’orchestre. It’s far more interesting than the usual ‘me, me, me’ approach,” he says, adding that the collaboration enriches all parties. “In life, it’s not only what we do, but also how we do it that counts.” 233 A

A special _ report

Art and emotions By Kate Marris

Gregory Gatserelia chats about the artists and designers who move him

Gregory Gatserelia describes with affection, and just a trace of regret, how he sold his own personal design collection to kick-start smogallery, a decision that he says “cured [him] of his acquisition habits.” The gallery shows work by artists like Lebanese painter Jean-Marc Nahas alongside pieces by the late Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, as well as work by young Lebanese designers, who under Gatserelia’s stewardship are now being seen in key commercial environments like Design Days Dubai and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Philippe Starck

The “designer as entertainer” role by Philippe Starck does not diminish the French product designer one bit in the eyes of Gatserelia. On the contrary, Starck “creates concepts and events. He doesn’t have the ambition to be timeless.” Gatserelia’s observations about the astonishing range and versatility of Starck’s practice shed some light on his own. What he values about “brilliantly intelligent and focused” Starck is that he makes him smile, every time. From Starck’s hotels all over the world to his collaborations with makers of just about everything, “anyone is pleased by what this guy does.” When he’s in Paris, Gatserelia loves the magic and amazing urban experience of Le Royal Monceau hotel. “No one does better things than Starck; he has his signature but he never repeats himself.” A 234

©Ziad Antar, Corbis, Stevens Frémont, Goudji, Kenneth Johansson, Bradley Smith

His gallery seems to deliberately blur the lines between art and design, young and old artists, and, not least, that tricky boundary between “modern” and “contemporary” periods. Yet Gatserelia’s interest in all fields of creative talent is, first of all, driven by emotion. “Art is what speaks to me,” he says, as he discusses some of the great artistic careers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Salvador Dalê

“For me the artist of the [20th] century is Dalí [as opposed to Picasso], because he tested everything.” Again it is the breadth of Salvador Dalí’s practice, much of it foreshadowing the artist/businessman approach of today’s art stars, that impresses Gatserelia. Indeed Dalí’s high profile one-off collaborations with fashion designers like Elsa Schiaparelli and Wallis Simpson in the ‘30s typify the kind of collaborations between art, haute couture and, say, the sportswear brands we see almost a century later. A comparable contemporary example might be artist Damien Hirst collaborating with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to produce a super luxury backpack. “Dalí even did window displays,” says Gatserelia, referring to the artist’s famous red lobster telephone that appeared alongside a mannequin in a window display for a New York store in 1936. “He’s a 360-degree artist.”


At this year’s Pavilion of Art and Design Fair (PAD) in Paris, Gatserelia was struck by the work Goudji did for an exhibiting gallery. “From one piece to another, it’s amazing”, he says describing the craftsmanship of an artist whose principal medium is metal. Goudji is a Georgian goldsmith and jeweler who learned the techniques of his craft in Soviet Russia before emigrating to France in 1974. “He does something to serve water, to serve wine but it’s so incredible.” Goudji has made his name creating objects for the Académie Française and religious art – in 1999 he made a reliquary of Padre Pio that was given to Pope John Paul II – using such techniques as dinanderie, a form of medieval brass work.

Ziad Antar

Gatserelia collects the work of photographer and filmmaker Ziad Antar from Sidon, Lebanon, who has exhibited in galleries, museums and biennials all over the world. “He has the genius of framing. He will soon have the maturity to be equal to people like Jeff Wall and Paul Graham,” Gatserelia says of Antar, whose recurring subjects are the derelict and unfinished buildings of cityscapes. “I predict an amazing future for him.”

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A special _ report

A spiritual geography

The Beirut Corniche at night (top left), White Sands resort in Fetteh Gomoa, Ghana (bottom left), Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (top right) and the ancient buildings of Mtskheta in Georgia (above)

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ŠBuena Vista Images, Jialing Gao, Getty Images, White Sands, Tim E. White

By Kate Marris

Gregory Gatserelia muses about his favorite places Gregory Gatserelia is every inch a designer. He is dapper, collected, charming, wears Tin Tin glasses and is unassumingly eloquent. You can see him effortlessly briefing his team and clients, before neatly sweeping up his work and taking the next flight to Milan, or as it turns out, to some less likely destination. But it didn’t all begin in the rarefied world of design. “I could have expressed a lot,” says Gatserelia as he reflects on his early training in moviemaking in pre-war Beirut, an aspiration cut short by the 15-year conflict. In the ‘80s Gatserelia’s visual energy re-emerged in Belgium, where he acted as an agent to Russian artists exhibiting in Europe. Then he talks about “moonlighting” in Canada, where his design career began. He was working for a large design firm when his bosses read a newspaper article of his first secretly designed bar and demanded his exclusive work or his resignation. Gatserelia left the firm and never looked back. With a roll call of private and public projects to his name – he won RIBA’s 2012 Middle East

restaurant award for Cocteau in Downtown Beirut – he is an increasingly public figure. His personal story, however, emerges subtly in conversation as he constantly focuses on the world around him. From gallerists like Elena Bortolotti at Thaddeus Ropac, who “takes clients on an emotional journey,” to the talent he will soon represent at a new London gallery, Gatserelia’s likes and loves come tumbling out of his mouth in a manner that resembles the eclecticism revealed by our first question to the designer: what places speak to you? Dubai The last time he was in Dubai, Gatserelia went to the 73rd floor of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper and simply marveled: “How crazy are the ambitions of man.” For the designer, the world’s tallest man-made structure (at 829.8 meters) is the country’s ultimate architectural trope. “[It] represents the ideals of man’s dreams that have been built and updated” as much as it symbolizes the New World Order. “This is the new Eiffel Tower,” Gatserelia says. He’s been visiting the Gulf state since 1996 and like many observers since the devastating economic crash in 2009, he’s been watching with interest Dubai’s resurrection. He’s a sincere admirer of the present ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin

Rashid Al Maktoum. “It is one man’s vision. This guy made, out of sand, real estate value as expensive as New York!” You can’t help but agree with him when he says: “Dubai is an amazing destination.” The Corniche, Beirut I am taken aback when Gatserelia suddenly tells me: “One of my favorite places is the public washroom on the Corniche.” “Do you mean the lavatory?” I ask. Yes, he does. With a tree growing inside it, this building is so much a part of its environment you can’t distinguish where the bricks end and the tree roots begin. The Corniche is a living memory of Gatserelia’s childhood and the international cultural life of Beirut in the ‘60s. He and his generation spent their youth in the gardens of the American University of Beirut (AUB) and later in Hajj Daoud café – “it was for people who had time” – which was full of artists and “people stopping off on the hippie trail to Kathmandu and India.” He recalls how the café “didn’t keep any fish in the fridge [and when] you would order your fish, the guy would catch it from the sea in front of you.” Mtskheta, Georgia Half-Georgian, Gatserelia maintains a connection with his father’s homeland. He tells me about Mtskheta, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, lying 20 kilometers north of Tbilisi, the capital. Visiting the 11th century

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, known in Georgian Orthodox tradition as the burial site of Christ’s mantle where, incidentally, a Lebanese Cedar plays a prominent part in the cathedral’s legend, Gatserelia was struck by a curious motif. The relief of a dismembered hand holding an architect’s square or a chisel – the symbol of a stonemason – is a reminder of the right hand of the cathedral’s architect Arsukidze, which was cut off due to the jealousy of the king who commissioned the work. White Sands, Ghana “A friend of mine built one of the most amazing resorts, with no plans,” Gatserelia says. The designer talks excitedly about the White Sands beach resort in Fetteh Gomoa in Ghana, the brainchild of a friend who invited him to work in the most unusual way on the construction. Gatserelia’s architect friend led the local team without any preconceived design. “It was done with no plans, just with feelings.” He was invited to assist, but Gatserelia declined, watching instead amazed as his friend directed the team, apparently haphazardly, to spontaneously “build a three-meter wall here with a hole there. And he built the whole resort like that!” Gatserelia continues: “It’s so well done, so beautifully executed, a world away from the water technology of the Burj Khalifa, but I love this, and I love Dubai – from the most primitive way of building to the most sophisticated.” 237 A

A lifestyle _ shopping

A different kind of shop

By Grace Banks, Tala Habbal and Melanie Reffes

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Think retail with a twist. The current cool for savvy fashionistas is perusing the racks and shelves in a concept store. A treasure trove of all-things fabulous, a concept store targets those who covet high fashion, hipster accessories and au courant home furnishings. Rather than a slew of items displayed in one traditional department store or in a mono-brand flagship store, the truly discerning shopper will find exactly what they want when they venture into a concept store created to perfectly match their lifestyle. En vogue worldwide, sleek and stylish concept stores now exist in every savvy city on the planet.

Ginette in Beirut

Although not a new kid on Gemmayze’s happening block, Ginette is still a favorite among fashionistas, art mavens and coffee junkies alike. This part boutique, part eatery, part art gallery stocks cool contemporary fashion and accessory labels, including Maison Kitsuné, Noir NY and Delphine Delafon, in addition to a wide range of electronics, cosmetics, books and gadgets. The art gallery collaborates with Tokyo’s Nanzuka Underground and features exhibits by young up-and-coming Japanese artists. Gouraud St., Gemmayze, Beirut, tel. 01.570.440,

©Ginette, Unknwn, Want Apothecary

The skinny on concept stores

This page Montreal’s coolest concept store, Want Apothecary (above), and LeBron James’ store, Unknwn, in Miami (left) Opposite page The ultra-hip Ginette concept store in Beirut

Want Apothecary in Montreal

Sitting pretty in the tony suburb of Westmount, Want Apothecary impresses with herringbone floors and oak tables. “Our warm ambience combined with thoughtful merchandising and quality brands create a welcoming experience,” says designer Byron Peart, who’s the creative mind behind the store along with his twin brother Dexter. “The inspiration was to create a collection of luxury products that place equal value on form and function.” Eye candy for shoppers, the boutique is stocked with their signature line of Want Les Essentiels de la Vie leather accessories, clothing by Filippa K and Sweden’s Nudie jeans, a Vanessa Hudgens favorite. “Our goal was to design products that needed to exist,” says Dexter Peart. 4960 Sherbrooke St. West, Westmount, Montreal, tel. 1.514.484.3555,

Unknwn in Miami

In Miami, Basketball superstar LeBron James is the creative genius behind Unknwn, an urban footwear and clothing store that he curated with five of his basketball buddies. In addition to labels like Nike LeBron, Jordan and Converse, the funky shop also stocks clothing by Marc Jacobs and accessories by Kidrobot and Beats by Dre. Although the über-hip lifestyle boutique spotlights burgeoning designers and bubbling trends, it also tempts with a collection of glossy international magazines and travel accessories for the wanderer who is at home anywhere in the world. Aventura Mall, Miami, tel. 1.305.937.2103,

Elements in Chicago

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A lifestyle _ shopping

Some of the items available at Elements boutique in Chicago (below) and the sleek interiors of Atelier in New York (right) and LN-CC in London (bottom right)

artist Christiane Perrochon, Elements is a shining star on Chicago’s shopping landscape. “Elements is unique as a concept store because it engages the customer’s desire to shop rather than demanding attention as a showpiece in and of itself,” says Jeannine Dal Pra, who with co-owner Toby Glickman selects the inventory personally. “Pieces from diverse collections are intermingled throughout the store, rather than being shown together, to provide the customer with a sense of how various products might appear in their own home.” 741 North Wells St., Chicago, tel. 1.312.642.6574, For men and the women who pamper them, Atelier New York carries cult labels like Comme des Garçons, Anne Demeulemeester and an exclusive Saint Laurent line in a groovy open space in the West Village. With racks of pitch black designer gear, fur-lined dressing rooms and giant mirrors, Atelier appeals to the edgy urban dresser with astute taste. “Our clientele is international, not just New Yorkers,” says visual director Satoru Chiba. “What they appreciate about us is our ability to distinguish ourselves in a very crowded market by offering a very specific point of view.” 304 Hudson St., New York, tel. 1.212.941.8435, A 240

LN-CC in London

Set designer Gary Card conceptualized London’s LN-CC store, an evolving space for fashion, design, music and theater. With a library and record shop all in the mix, the spirit of Card’s concept is adventurous and accomplished, proving that fashion isn’t just fashion anymore. Key brands here include Rick Owens, Maison Martin Margiela, Marsell, Ayame, Christopher O’Brien, Givenchy, Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten, among many others. And if it’s the latest gastronomy you’re interested in, LN-CC’s Late Night Chameleon Café is the place to eat, see and be seen. 18 Shacklewell Lane, London E8, tel. 44.20.7275.7265,

©Atelier, Elements, LN-CC

Atelier in New York

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A lifestyle _ shopping

A mall world

By MacKenzie Lewis

Have you been to Hazmieh’s Beirut City Center yet?

The first fully enclosed shopping mall was born in mid-‘50s America, after thousands of years of outdoor shopping in souks and later open-air strip malls. Victor Gruen designed the first shopping center in suburban Minnesota, and he’s considered by some to be the most influential architect of the 20th century because of this. His Southdale Center was meant to be the heart of an area A 242

©George Sokhn

Beirut City Center is not just any mall. When it opened in April in Hazmieh, this mall stood out as one of the biggest shopping centers in Lebanon. To be sure, the 60,000-square-meter complex is massive. Its simple concrete structure looms over the adjacent highway like an oversized cardboard box marked Beirut City Center. But other than its size, there’s little about the mall that could be considered groundbreaking. Maybe that’s the point.

This page New stores at Beirut City Center: Aïzone (left), Diesel (directly below), True Religion (bottom left) and Brooks Brothers (bottom right) Opposite page Various levels of the new Beirut City Center mall

outside the city that he thought, like all of its suburban counterparts, was lacking soul. The artificial town center quickly caught on, and malls began cropping up across America. What differentiated them from traditional city centers, aside from the obvious tiers and roof, was the inclusion of a parking area and anchor stores, abundant dining options and a garden court under a skylight. When it comes to the mall in its purest sense, Beirut City Center unabashedly fits the bill. In the last century, Gruen’s concept spread globally, evolving (sometimes unrecognizably) as it did. Hazmieh’s newest retail addition takes the mall back to its roots. Beirut City Center’s dense structure may not offer much in terms of aesthetics, but its shape is an only slightly modified

interpretation of the original Southdale Center. Its corridors dish up rich meals from chains like Cheesecake Factory and New York City export Shake Shack, and French hypermarket Carrefour serves as the mall’s anchor. Nearly 200 shops line its four levels, many of which, like Carrefour, are new to the market: Marks & Spencer, Foot Locker, Warehouse and West Elm, to name just a few. Other boutiques are tried-and-true favorites. Aïzone stays characteristically on trend with luxury designs from brands including Tory Burch, Camper and Citizens of Humanity, and Diesel satisfies shoppers who crave streetwear with Italian flavor; shops like H&M and Max Fashion appeal to the suburb’s more budget conscious clients. LA denim boutique True Religion and all-American ready-to-wear brand Brooks Brothers have also taken up residence on this side of town.

Like most town centers, the shopping mall satisfies more than just hunger pains and wardrobe crises. The scent of buttered popcorn leads cinephiles to VOX Cinemas, which boasts the largest screen in Lebanon. Much to the delight of any shopaholic’s children, Magic Planet ticks the amusement center box. Game-filled arcades didn’t appear in malls until the ‘70s, but in America, the global mall capital, adults and kids alike will now argue their necessity. Beirut City Center may lack the garden court that defined Gruen’s first malls, but a skylight-lit central space takes the complex pretty darn close to the mall archetype. The mall’s developers say they chose the area because it was connected to populated areas with a vital road network, yet was under-served by shopping centers. Arguably, this makes Hazmieh a local example of the “soulless” suburb, if not the green, leafy version dotted with ranch houses that Gruen had in mind. Will Beirut City Center be the heart that beats new life into Hazmieh? 243 A

A lifestyle _ car

Laps of luxury

By MacKenzie Lewis

Maserati charges full speed ahead with the new Quattroporte There are times when ignorance is bliss. They are the moments you almost regret because they put every subsequent similar experience to shame, and pushing the speed limit in a Maserati Quattroporte is one of them.

Following the Italian tradition, Maserati takes a tailor-made approach to every inch of the Quattroporte. Seven new shades make up the exterior spectrum, and the interior can be customized in a range of colors and materials, including butter-soft Poltrona Frau leather and fine woods. Seating can be configured for four or five seats, with plenty of backseat legroom in either option. In the Quattroporte, even Dubai’s notorious rush hour is tolerable. An 8.4-inch

touch screen and Wi-Fi makes bumperto-bumper traffic almost pleasant, while a 15-speaker, 1280-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system silences the engine’s hypnotic hum. It’s easy to be fooled by the car’s luxury sedan image, but get the V-8 Quattroporte out on an uninterrupted stretch of highway, and this car will flex its muscle. Maserati has a history steeped in sports car culture, starting when the brand first tipped 246.029km/h to set the world speed record in 1929. Eighty-four years later that figure sounds quaint; the new Quattroporte rivals two-door supercars with a top speed of 307 km/h. On the UAE’s endless desert highways, it accelerates from 0-100 in 4.9 seconds and handles like a dream when pushing 200km/h in policecamera-free territory. Or so we’ve heard. In Lebanon, the Maserati Quattroporte is available from GA Bazerji & Sons,


It’s been 50 years since Maserati first put a race engine in a four-door body, and this year the Italian carmaker is introducing the sixth generation of its classic Quattroporte. To celebrate, they handed over the keys to a slick, black on black sports sedan to A magazine and set us loose in Dubai.

There’s hardly a better place to get acquainted with the Quattroporte than the glitzy Emirate. Against the gleaming cityscape, its sculpted curves turn heads in a city nearly immune to flashy luxury cars. Like a little black dress in a sea of sequined hot pants, the Quattroporte seduces with its restraint. The car’s elegant, streamlined profile stands out among vehicles aggressively vying for attention on Dubai’s freshly paved roads.

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A journey _ turkey

Bodrum glamour By MacKenzie Lewis

On my last night in Bodrum, I strained to hear a Turkish ad exec yelling over the music. His friends laughed, spilling cocktails as they danced to the cover band playing on stage. Next to us at the bar, the city’s mayor sipped arak-like raki and posed for pictures with tipsy supporters. “The thing about Bodrum,” the ad exec shouted, “is that it’s a beach resort town, but still very ‘Turkey’.” After just a couple of days in the coastal city, I knew what he meant. I had checked into the Ramada Resort two days before, after two short flights from Beirut, via Istanbul (by July, direct flights will also be available). The hotel is

The minimalist, sophisticated Ramada Resort in Bodrum

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sketched in sophisticated shades of black, white and charcoal, its urban minimalism an effortless way to ease from Lebanon’s chaotic capital into beach life. Just four kilometers outside Bodrum center, Ramada overlooks a downtown surrounded by hills specked with sun-bleached houses, and offers guests a spectator’s view before they dive headfirst into the city. My guide, the golden-haired embodiment of Turkish hospitality, picked me up to begin 48 hours of shopping, pampering and dining. She put the car in drive, and we were off to test our appetites. A steady succession of mezza arrived at our table at Barbarossa Beach and Grill at Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, an airy

©Maçakizi, Ramada

Discover the luxurious side of Turkey’s western coast

restaurant overlooking a grass “beach” framed by watercolor blossoms and a spectacular view of the Aegean Sea. The ingredients were familiar, but the dishes were not: puréed bean fava; ispanakli cacik (spinach in yogurt); and the star of the meal, a creative take on lahmacun, Turkish flatbread pizza topped with greens, fresh herbs and sweet chunks of lobster. A local joining us for lunch described the Bodrum peninsula as its own organic farm; the restaurant’s produce is sourced primarily from the area. Delirious after multiple courses, a cup of strong Turkish coffee did little to jolt us back to life. On holiday, it’s best to give in to the slower pace and head for the spa or, when in Turkey, the hammam. The Kempinski spa does a stellar job of marrying luxury and the traditional hammam in a treatment so relaxing that I needed an extra half hour sipping ginger tea by the pool before I would even consider slipping back out of my robe.

When the stars came out, we moved on to Mimoza, a popular, shabby-chic seafood bistro on the Gümüşlük waterfront. Handpainted plates, rose glass tumblers and mismatched wildflower arrangements were illuminated by gourd lanterns, also sold in market stalls nearby. In fact, Türkbükü is a shopper’s delight: the village is known for its local handicrafts and unusual mementos, like mini models of the 18th-century windmills that dot the Bodrum peninsula.

Maçakizi, a seaside boutique hotel in the nearby town of Türkbükü, is a not-so-hidden gem known for its celebrity guests and beach bar. Set against a garden pathway shrouded in fiery bougainvillea, the bar proved a prime spot to take in the sunset with Maçakizi’s signature Cucumber Lavender Cocktail of gin, ginger liqueur, homemade lavender syrup and a cucumber garnish.

The seaside Maçakizi Hotel, located in the town of Türkbükü, near Bodrum

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A journey _ turkey

Glorious vistas of Bodrum’s Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay

My retail interest piqued, the next morning I asked my host when we could shop for souvenirs. It wasn’t long before I was being nudged through the doors of a shop stocked with snow globes and magnets. Not exactly what I had in mind. But in a series of private rooms beyond the knickknacks, Galata Quality Jewelry and Carpets caters to the more serious shopper. Fine jewelry – including one amethyst ring with an accurate, miniscule depiction of the Hagia Sophia remarkably engraved inside its stone – fills case upon case, and skilled jewelers are on-hand to take custom orders. Traditional carpets in wool, silk and trendier bamboo line walls and any empty floor space. This may be the only luxury A 248

Back by the sea at Selim’in Yeri (literally, Selim’s Place) in nearby Torba, we found a table next to Turkish Greek singer and local legend Fedon Aşiginim and ordered a round of mezza. The plates filled the table like checkers on a checkerboard. Octopus with olive oil and orange slices, flounder rolled with cheese and rich, sizzling calamari with spicy Roquefort sauce covered any space between more recognizable dishes. We sipped wine as boats came into the bay across the narrow street. A dog sunned himself in a nearby bed of flowers, each passerby bending down to pat his head; with his mouth wide open, he seemed to be smiling. Even the animals know how good life is in Bodrum. Many visitors arrive to Bodrum by water, mooring their yachts in the downtown marina. By

day they shop at Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger in the upscale outdoor market; by night, they toast champagne cocktails at bars like Bodrum Marina Yacht Club, where I found an empty barstool the evening before I departed. “It caters to tourists,” the ad exec went on about the city that last night, “but it hasn’t lost its identity.” A moment later, the band slipped from an Edith Piaf cover to a Turkish classic, the crowd lifting their glasses of raki as they sang along. It’s been called the next St. Tropez, but there’s no mistaking this for anywhere but Turkey. Get ready to go Kurban Travel can plan every aspect of your Bodrum getaway. To turn your vacation dream into reality, contact Kurban Travel at tel. 01.371.013 (Kantari), 01.875.000 (City Mall, Dora) and 01.611.000 (Ashrafieh) or visit


boutique that will invite you to take off your shoes and step on its six-figure merchandise.


GO FASTER GEL-DS TRAINER 18 The new edition of this iconic speed shoe, the GEL-DS TRAINER 18 is lighter and offers a more direct road feel. It is perfect for fast-paced training and racing. The newly designed Guidance Trusstic works with the Guidance Line along the outsole. Together they encourage a more efficient gait while giving support to the midfoot.

A journey _ france

Southern culture

ŠGetty Images/Jon Hicks

By Shirine Saad

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Marseille beckons visitors this year as Europe’s Capital of Culture

Marseille shines under a brilliant cultural sun this year. Named Europe’s Capital of Culture, the southern French port city glimmers and glitters with hundreds of attractions and cultural happenings. Go now and celebrate the sun, sea, freshly made bouillabaisse and plethora of events on offer. Stay Just like your family nest, Mama Shelter is a homey place to sleep,

dine, hang out, meet friends and relax in the heart of the hip Cours Julien area. The Starck-Aouizerate boutique hotel is decorated with soft tones that soothe and inspire, while the bustling restaurant, pastis bar and patio are painted in bright tones of yellow, orange and red and filled with kitsch toys, flower pots and chairs that welcome you from breakfast until 2am. For a higher-end stay, book at the new InterContinental Marseille facing the port and

housed inside a neo-classical building that was once a hospital. Eat Every morning, fishermen sell their catch on the sunny decks of Marseille’s port. If you’re in the mood to eat the freshly prepared calamari, sea bream, sole and sea bass, head to one of the city’s excellent restaurants. Chez Michel is right on the water and is a local favorite for its bouillabaisse – complete

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with rouille, a rust-colored, garlic-rich mayonnaise. Eat slowly and wash down with a crisp white wine. For lighter and more inventive dishes, reserve a table weeks ahead at the much-celebrated Grain de Sel, where Pierre Gianetti enhances fresh seafood and produce with creative Mediterranean touches – think squash soup with algae and pomegranates. At the top of Le Corbusier’s mythical Cité Radieuse, chef Alexandre Mazzia whips up sophisticated dishes such as haricots verts brûlés at Le Ventre de l’Architecte. See Follow the port’s sinuous lines A 252

to the Medieval Fort St. Jean, which is pierced by a charcoal concrete ramp that floats over the horizon and leads to Rudy Ricciotti’s new lace bunker museum, the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM). The MuCEM hosts major exhibitions about the region and features a rooftop patio and restaurant offering sweeping views of the city and sea. Further west, toward Zaha Hadid’s gray tower for Lebanese shipping mogul CMA/CGM, a slew of new and rediscovered cultural institutions are emerging. Musicians such as Mika now play at the Silo, built in the early

20th century and once a major inspiration for Le Corbusier. The J1, a massive warehouse perched over the sea, has been renovated and now hosts exhibitions, performances and festivals. Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s new ethereal building for the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain is a highlight in the up-and-coming Joliette area. And toward the Gare St. Charles in the north, the Friche de la Belle de Mai’s new opalescent Tour Panorama, designed by Mathieu Poitevin, is a futuristic addition to the industrial cultural space, where top-notch exhibitions and events will take place throughout the year.

©Corbis, Getty Images, InterContinental Marseille, Mama Shelter

Two new and iconic Marseille hotels: InterContinental Marseille, housed inside a former hospital (left) and Philippe Starck’s Mama Shelter (below)

Vistas of the new Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM), designed by architect Rudy Ricciotti

Listen Marseille is a musical city, the birthplace of I AM and Funky Family and a hub for underground DJ collectives and party promoters. At the Friche de la Belle de Mai, Le Cabaret Aléatoire is where music lovers hang to discover the latest talent. This is where the new festival This Is Not Music takes place in June, featuring concerts, art performances and parties. The collective everyone talks about is La Dame Noir, which began as a shady bar in the Cours Julien area and is now a thriving nu-disco platform, label and promoter. Night owls have to check out La Dame Noir’s club at party central Trolleybus, where DJs spin wild beats while the crowd welcomes the soft Mediterranean dawn.

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A journey _ california

Big Sur serenade By Elgy Gillespie

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Big Sur is a romantic Eden set in Central California

“Big Sur is the California that men dreamed of years ago… the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look!” writer-artist Henry Miller said of this grandiose, rugged melding of mountain, trees and ocean. Bohemians have been coming here for over a century. The author of Tropic of Cancer settled at this eerily, almost indecently untouched Eden in 1944. In his five-dollars-amonth shack in the redwoods, he wrote Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch. Beat writer Jack Kerouac wrote his memoir Big Sur in another shack beyond Bixby Bridge. Fog and mist play hide and seek in primeval forests for hiking and camping near Miller’s and Kerouac’s former hideaways. Overhead, condors of nine-foot wingspans, nursed back from near-extinction, look down on surfers, seals, otters and blue

and gray whales off Highway One. Year-round, fewer than 1,000 folks live here. Only half a dozen hotels house the visitors. But what hotels! All are exceptional, from the upscale Ventana Inn to friendly River Inn. No surprise if all reminds you of movies and car ads. Former Carmel mayor Clint Eastwood shot Play Misty for Me here. Along with fellow movie man Robert Redford, Eastwood set up the Big Sur Land Trust, protecting 30,000 acres of virgin forests south of Point Lobos, including the newest Palo Corona. And the Henry Miller Memorial Library now houses all of Miller’s works in a bookstore-cum-concert space. First editions of the writer’s censored books dangle from rafters, his watercolors and photos furnish the rest. Chat up strangers over a coffee mug

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featuring the “Where Nothing Happens” logo with free coffee or tea (donations accepted). Many say Miller was at least as good an artist as he was a writer. The debate goes on at the Coast Gallery, which shows his watercolors, as well as prints and originals by Marc Chagall. Upstairs in the deck café, chef Matt Farmer’s blueberry pancakes lure even the locals to brunch. Farmer cut his teeth on sophisticated Monterey establishments. His baby asparagus in nutty-andpeppery-red romesco appetizers blend blissfully with the view of kites, monarch butterflies, bees and the blue, blue Pacific beyond the umbrellas. This is some of the finest cooking on the West Coast, from Monterey A 256

Not that there’s any lack of great food. Deetjens Big Sur Inn is the fairy tale venue for chef Domingo Santamaria’s haute Mexican. Post Ranch Inn has a serenely romantic location for lovers, with cuisine to match (squab and sushi). Big Sur Bakery is another smash hit for brunches. At the Ventana Inn, the extra treat is its spa. Local naturalist Greg Ambrosia’s regular wildlife walks complement superb wood-clad Japanese hot and cool pools where you can drift gently in and out of private niches. Affable and gently funny, Ambrosia gives you enough history and background on Big Sur culture to inspire you, with unvarnished detail. He’s just old enough to remember the “clothing optional” days of hippiedom and has a treasure trove of ghost stories to tell. Ventana Inn’s rooms are elegantly equipped, rustic-

furnished sanctuaries with “romance kits” (breath mints, massage oil, lubricant, condoms, lovers’ games) or “rescue kits” (antacid tablets, painkillers, Blistex for herpes, Alka Seltzer). Ventana’s highly praised restaurant is a sprawling lodge-style hilltop spread. With a handsomely stocked cocktail bar and stunning views, it dishes local game and fish – venison or fish: both amaze. With its firewarmed lobby and outside loggia for relaxing, and a private feel to the decks with hammocks and fire pits, Ventana is a “retreat” nest for honeymooners or “golden agers” or anyone! But where do the locals go? That’s easy. One hangout is forever-bustling River Inn. A river does run through it; you can drag your willow lawn chair and wine with you as you wade into the creek for a sunset among the trees. The pulsating dining room next door is famed for its steaks, ribs, quesadillas and fish and chips – yes, everything on offer is local, including wines. You will not starve!

©Catherine Barry

and Carmel to Paso; and that’s saying something. Available at all A誰zone stores, +961 .1. 99 11 11

A journey _ london hotel

Intimate luxury By Marwan Naaman

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The Egerton House is London’s best-kept secret, a treasure of a hotel that’s located a few steps from Harrods yet is a world away from Knightsbridge busyness. The Egerton House, which belongs to the Red Carnation Hotels family, is set inside an 1843 Georgian townhouse and immediately feels like a luxury home rather than a hotel. In fact, the townhouse was a private family home for 200 years before it was converted into a bijoux property. The street on which it is located, Egerton Terrace, was once solely occupied by British aristocracy, and to this day the entire area, with its five-story, red-brick,

white-trim buildings, retains an air of low-key elegance. The Egerton’s House lobby is small but charming, reminiscent of a bygone era when members of the British nobility would arrive and sit comfortably in the waiting room until the lady of the house was ready to receive them. Immediately to the left of the lobby lives one of the hotel’s most engaging spaces: the Drawing Room. Featuring plush sofas arranged around a central fireplace and a lovely table for two set directly in front of bay windows, the Drawing Room is a great place to enjoy an early morning espresso, afternoon tea (served from noon

to 6pm and consisting of fresh scones, berry tarts, macaroons and other delights) or even an evening cocktail after a long day of shopping. There’s no formal restaurant at Egerton House, but this only serves to add to the place’s charm. A gourmet menu with fish, steak, pasta and other options is available, and lunch or dinner can be served wherever the guest chooses: in the hotel Dining Room, located just below the lobby, the Drawing Room or the guestrooms. Breakfast (available 24 hours a day) is served in the Dining Room, which is decorated in comforting shades of white,

©The Egerton House

London’s Egerton House Hotel is an exclusive Knightsbridge address

cream and beige. Buffet breakfast options include bread, pastries, yogurt, cheese and fruit. On-site staff are also happy to prepare eggs or other breakfast favorites on request. The hotel houses only 28 rooms and suites (in keeping with its intimate, exclusive feel), and each is decorated differently. These include the V&A Suite, inspired by the Tudor era, complete with lush red fabrics and French doors that open onto a private garden terrace, as well as the top-floor Studio Suites, which offer a cozy sitting area and en-suite marble bathrooms. All rooms exude a traditional British feel, and all feature original prints and lithographs by the likes of Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Matisse. Tech amenities include

flat-screen TVs in the main room and the bathroom, iPod docking stations and Wi-Fi throughout. There are also small, luxury touches, including a wide selection of pillows to ensure blissful sleep, fresh fruit placed in your room every evening, complimentary gym passes, your very own butler (upon request) and even a pet concierge who will indulge your doggie with treats, water bowls and a special dining menu. After a sojourn at The Egerton House, you’ll feel so pampered, so spoiled and so relaxed, that you won’t want to stay anyplace else when you’re visiting London. For reservations, tel. 44.20.7589.2412,

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A journey _ arizona

Phoenician desert magic

By May Farah

One Scottsdale resort captures all of Arizona’s charm

Besides the obvious affinity with the hotel’s name, particularly for the Lebanese, it’s the collective superlatives, from its lush and expansive grounds and high-end facilities to its world-class spa and restaurants that make The Phoenician the type of resort you’ll want to visit again and again. Indeed, the staff can tell you stories of guests who have come for extended stays annually for decades. For them, The Phoenician has become home away from home. After spending a few days at the resort, which has recently undergone a massive $90 million facelift, it became evidently clear why people keep coming back. But each for potentially very different reasons. Of course there’s the amazing shopping (both at the hotel and in-town), the spacious guestrooms and suites (643 in total) that are decorated in warm hues and rich textures, and the staff who are wonderfully friendly, helpful and courteous. But, there’s so much more. A 260

For golf enthusiasts, the pristine, 27hole championship golf course, with its stunning desert and mountain landscapes, is a key draw for all expert levels. For art aficionados, the resort’s private art collection is so vast and eclectic that it has organized a complimentary audio tour showcasing select pieces featured in the $25 million collection. And, Scottsdale itself has become an art mecca over the years, with organized weekly ArtWalk tours to the over 100 galleries in town. At The Phoenician, gourmet dining devotees

©The Phoenician

US-bound travelers from the Middle East may not instinctively or initially think of Scottsdale, Arizona as a vacation spot, despite its ideal climate for most of the year – sunny, warm, no humidity – but one stay at The Phoenician and Scottsdale will not only make everyone’s destination list, but most likely jump to the very top.

can experience inspired cuisine, from the finest in steak with a spectacular view of the grounds at J&G Steakhouse to Italian specialties, weekend brunch or al fresco dining on the patio at Il Terrazzo. There’s lighter fare and a sampling of vodka (from one of the largest collections in the state) at the Thirsty Camel and celebrated afternoon tea and its divine accompaniments at the lobby tea court. For more casual fare, there’s a poolside bar and grill, a café and ice cream parlor and The Relish Burger Bistro (the best burger I’ve ever had, hands down); but save room for decadent desserts, such as the swoon-worthy “s’mores” fondue. Then, there’s The Phoenician’s Center for Well-Being, which will attract even the most discerning spa seekers. There is an extensive menu of treatments to choose from, and they all include access to the spa’s facilities: whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas and the sun-lit meditation room. I had the warm spice scrub and massage (80 minutes) and my friend the desert serenity scrub, wrap and massage (110 minutes), and we both left feeling utterly relaxed, exfoliated and pampered. Which was a must as the next day was set aside to experience nature and the great outdoors, another attraction for which The Phoenician and its 250 acres of lush terrain is known.

For adrenaline enthusiasts, the hotel has nine picturesque pools, an 11-court tennis complex and bike rental facilities to tour the grounds and neighboring communities, as well as guided night excursions. And, with its location at the base of the majestic Camelback Mountains, it’s a hiker’s paradise, with different trails of varying difficulty. We kept it simple, a morning swim, a tour of the grounds, including the two-acre cactus gardens, and then an afternoon lounging by the adults-only pool. Not entirely grueling albeit, but there was so much about Scottsdale and The Phoenician

to read about and what better way, I rationalized, than an afternoon poolside. What I learned is that there is so much to see and do that my short stay would not suffice. And with The Phoenician celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the list of activities and excursions is even more remarkable. As I was reluctantly checking out, it became even clearer to me why guests come back year after year. For reservations, tel. 1.800.888.8234, 261 A

A journey _ miami hotel

South Beach hideaway By Melanie Reffes

The Angler’s resort reflects the Art Deco spirit of Miami Beach

Home suite home Family-owned and hip without pretension, The Angler’s is a 45-suite boutique resort with a host of vacation must-haves, like a heated pool with cozy cabanas, beds as soft as talc with Egyptian cotton linens and the über-luxe line of Gilchist & Soames soaps and lotions liberally stocked in every room. Close to Miami International A 262

Airport, the resort is the toprated TripAdvisor hotel in Miami Beach, applauded for its attention to guests. A divine hot stone massage can be enjoyed en suite, concierges are available round the clock and Carlos the Bartender shakes and stirs magnificent jalapeño margaritas with Tanteo jalapeño tequila, cucumbers, cane sugar and a splash of citrus sour. The Pool House Villa covers three levels, complete with a rooftop sundeck and bamboo wooden floors that are heaven for tired tootsies. The two-story Manor Villa has a spiral staircase connecting both floors and an outdoor Jacuzzi that is sublime for late-night dips. “In larger

properties, I saw that guests were viewed as just a number, which is why I have learned to love boutique resorts where we personally embrace every guest,” says James Ayres, the general manager who honed his skills at the Ritz-Carlton in nearby Naples, Florida. A storied past Built in the ‘30s and set on Washington Avenue, The Angler’s has been restored to its original Art Deco splendor. Once a popular haunt for writer Ernest Hemingway and his celebrity pals, the resort welcomes travelers from all corners of the globe. “The hotel is our love and passion coming to life,” says Marc Lawrence,

who owns the hotel together with his brother Eric. Latin fusion From Colombia to Manhattan’s acclaimed Lucy Latin Kitchen, chef Carlos Torres brings his culinary wizardry to Restaurant 660, The Angler’s totally hip fusion restaurant. Specialties include El Viejo burger, with caramelized onions and manchego cheese. Weekend brunches offer bottomless pitchers of Bacardi smoothies, while a guitarist serenades diners digging into morning burritos stuffed with chorizo and salsa. For reservations, tel. 1.866.729.8800,

©The Angler’s

The day starts with a delectable stack of torrejas or Latino-inspired French toast crowned in guava butter and sweet berries. Add a shot of espresso, and breakfast at The Angler’s in Miami’s South Beach is vacation paradise.

A journey _ mexico

The dream life By Shirine Saad

Mexico’s Tulum is as close as you can get to paradise

At Hartwood restaurant, we sit among jasmine and gardenia trees. A bronzed man with wild curly hair brings pineapple habanero margaritas, followed by deliciously charred skirt steaks, melt-off-the-bone pork ribs cooked in agave leaves, mashed sweet potatoes, persimmons and sautéed chia, an exquisite, pungent local spinach. Chef Eric Werner visited this corner of Mexico from New York years ago, fell in love with Tulum and stayed. “My wife Mya and I believe that if you put your whole self into your dream and pray,” says Werner in his soft, slow voice, “then Tulum is the place to build upon those principles.” Here there is no electricity, everything functions on sustainable energy and the

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ingredients come from nearby farms. “Tulum is a truly magical place,” says James Greenfeld, a New Yorker who moved here to open his five-suite luxury rental, Casa de las Olas, near the Sian Ka’an natural reserve, and who organizes Oh! Food, a sustainable gastronomy festival, with Werner. “It’s very raw and pure.” Like Greenfeld and Werner, many of the people who now live in Tulum were once only visiting. Tucked in the Yucatán tropical jungle and along a narrow, white sand beach, Tulum is where hippie travelers once came to camp and discover the area’s thriving Mayan heritage – including deep spiritual rituals that inspired a New Age revival. But now Tulum is also a home away from home for editors, photographers

and socialites such as Carine Roitfeld, Mario Testino and Jade Jagger, who flock in for the holiday season to relax, practice yoga and explore the area. With three major Mayan temples, the world’s second largest coral reef, a biosphere protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, luxuriant jungle and a never-ending beach lined by rustic wood and palm palapas, this, as they say, is paradise. In the thatched-roof palapas suspended over the horizon, the pulse of the ocean breezing through the wooden beams, with limited electricity and little Internet or phone access, the disconnect is immediate. At Hemingway Romantic Cabanas, where this writer stayed, the room is bare except for a few colorfully embroidered pillows

and a mosquito net. The hotel’s owner, Paola, is an Italian woman with unruly gray hair and perpetual Birkenstock sandals. She has been in Tulum for 12 years. “People come here to find tranquility,” she says over a meal of freshly caught fish and chilled white wine. “We’re doing everything we can to keep it this way.” Right across the narrow street that follows the ocean is El Tabano, a sprawling Mexican restaurant in the jungle with colorful recycled furniture. Every morning, in an open-air kitchen, women hand grind chiles to make rich, flavorful Yucatánstyle sauces, such as pibil, mole or pipian, hand grind corn to cook fresh tortillas and prepare freshly caught fish, which is served with habaneros. An

extensive selection of Mexican wines is also on the menu. “You come here to eat home cooking,” says Laura Brea, a bubbly Spanish brunette who opened the restaurant in 2008. “We wanted to create a playful and innovative place, and a magical realism-inspired setting.” As for health nuts, they might prefer Amansala, where New Yorker Melissa Perlman pioneered the Bikini Boot Camp 14 years ago. Lean young people drink detox concoctions, practice 6am meditation and yoga classes, and tan on the quasi-deserted beach. “People come here to reconnect with themselves and be healthy,” says Perlman. Now Amansala also offers yoga, detox and wellness holiday packages for those who’d choose a Bikini

Martini (with chia, pineapple and vodka) over an all-you-candrink-and-eat buffet. “This is the anti-Cancun,” Perlman adds. Equally boho is the chic hotel Coqui Coqui, a favorite of Eva Mendez, Kate Bosworth and Ricardo Tisci. The owners, Argentine model Nicolas Belleville and Milanese Francesca Bonato, fell in love on this beach and began offering massages and facials on their tiny property with the island’s coconut oils and flowers. “This is the most beautiful beach in the world,” says Bonato, a beautiful brunette with delicate freckled skin and large blue eyes. “And it’s still very natural. For me real luxe is waking up in the morning and seeing the Caribbean. There’s a magnetic energy here; we’re very close to the stars.” 265 A

A journey _ cooking vacation

Viet buns

By Elgy Gillespie

Experience Vietnam’s sensual cuisine in Hoi An, an ancient fishing port where food reigns supreme

“You’re very cheeky boy! I not Madame! I very young and beautiful!” roars Madame Mimi, smacking down her cleaver like the ninja super-chef she absolutely is. “So don’t call me Madame!” Vietnam’s female answer to Gordon Ramsay is an instructor at Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An, the ancient fishing port on Vietnam’s central coast. Ravishing and charismatic, she cooks like the goddess of gastronomy, and is an avenging demon of death by chopsticks. “You will do everything with chopsticks now!” “Yes, Mam’selle Mimi,” we mumble meekly. We (Aussies, Canucks, Chinese, Micks and Yanks) have paid $20 to glean her 101 Ways With Chopsticks expertise. Hainan Hilton cook Terry tries yet fails to look inscrutable. Instead, he tops up our giant tumblers with local wine, tossing his down with a joyous yelp of tram nan tram or “bottoms up!” So much for “Asian flush,” or the fictional Asian allergy to alcohol!

So remind me again, why are we all here? Well, Hoi An is known especially for its cuisine, particularly its “White Roses”: pinkporcelain shrimp wontons and garlicky cao lau noodles. “White roses,” also called banh bao, are steamed manioc parcels of crab or shrimp topped with lemon, sugar, nuoc nam and onion flakes (banh comes from French pain, meaning “bun”). A glass or three with Mam’selle Mimi lent us the comfortable feeling that those decades under the French gave the Vietnamese a couple of good ideas, like baguettes and café au lait. Wrestling rice papers around shrimp, basil and vermicelli for spring rolls and chopping mint, basil, lemongrass and greens, we smear a local snapper with garlic and herbs, wrap it into local banana leaves, stab it with tooth picks and steam it. Next, we marinate, barbecue and toss beef into a salad while we toss back more Viet vino. Terry’s still pouring, and the chopstick

©Richard Gibson, Images

We’re all on our second or third glass, and we all share a soft spot for spring rolls, goi cuon imperial rolls, shaking beef, fish steamed in banana leaves, caramel prawns, not forgetting the happier vestiges of French rule:

Vietnamese coffee, pâté tartines, gulpable Vietnamese wines; Bia Tuoi beer. It turns out we also share a spring roll around our middles. Quite why a bunch of wannabe cooks from everywhere are packed into minute Hoi An makes a ponderable dinner topic.

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skills improve in reverse ratio. We even delude ourselves that nearby tables of couples on dates are impressed by our savoir-faire. Our evening ends with a glorious meal at this first class temple of Viet “tastocity,” though try as I might, I couldn’t remember how to cook anything the next day. Red Bridge chefs start day classes with a dawn trip to Bach Dang docks to greet catches landing in a sea of conical hats and skiffs. In winter rains, you’ll soon be wading; Hoi An’s three streets are often flooded. After February, rains ease, and spring brings out tables and canopies at Parisian-style cafés along Bach Dang, including the hotel where Red Bridge holds its evening classes.

trading port. It hosted missionaries since the 16th century, and everyone else since the 17th. Plying the trade winds, Japanese, Chinese and European boats anchored until winds turned and blew them home. Meanwhile they built solid and beautiful houses with teak balconies and courtyards of marble from nearby Marble Mountain. The houses remain unchanged, now repurposed as mini-hotels or hostels. Though proud Vietnam was at war from 1850 to 1979, Hoi An was never touched, and now it’s a tourist-happy UNESCO World Heritage Site. The only things Hoi An doesn’t host is cars. All motor vehicles are banned except

for xe om (“hug me”) motorbike-taxis, so called because you cling to the driver like a drowning lover. At lunch on Tran Cao Van at Day/Night Café, you sit outside to try seafood crêpes and cau lao noodles with star anise, hoanh thanh chien crab wontons and banh it or sweet cakes in banana leaves with coconut strands. Oh, and offering the best ice cream shop in the East, bar none, is French-run Tam-Tam Café. Sometimes I think the French are still trying to make a comeback! For more info, visit redbridge/cookingschool

Boats leave daily for the Red Bridge restaurant two kilometers up Thu Bon River for an entire day of cooking, visiting farms and several meals, before returning to Hoi An by boat in the magical evening light, when red lanterns bloom above the moonlit streets. Every month at full moon, motorbikes are banned and only the moon and red lanterns light the streets, and truly, there’s nothing lovelier. Little streets running toward the Thu Bon river make a jumble of Vietnamese cafés, market stalls, Chinese community halls and a Japanese covered bridge alongside Hoi An’s legendary silk tailors, shoemakers and marble workshops. Cozy mini-hotels house visitors affordably with satin-white beaches and fourth century Champa ruins to tempt them. Once upon a time, and ever since the second century, this was “Fai-Fo,” an international

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A journey _ getaways

Lebanon for lovers

Ashrafieh’s iconic Albergo Hotel on Abdel Wahab el Inglizi Street

Experience romance without ever leaving the country A 268

ŠAlbergo, Locanda Corsini, Mir Amin Palace

By May Farah

The picturesque Locanda Corsini in Naas (right) and the grandiose Mir Amin Palace in the Shouf mountains (below)

There are plenty of wonderful spots in Lebanon that have love and romance built right in. Whether your idea for a romantic break or celebration for two is exploring the city, getting away to the serenity and cool air of the mountains or soaking in the rays and lying on a beach, there are no shortage of ideal spots right here at home. Albergo A charming city escape is the Albergo Hotel, located in Ashrafieh. Part of the renowned Relais & Châteaux group of exclusive hotels, the Albergo, which occupies a ‘30s building that has been restored to architectural magnificence, boasts a blend of Eastern and Western styles in the spacious rooms and suites, with exquisite art pieces, objects, rugs and accessories. Although you may never want to leave your room, when you do, try the celebrated Al Dente restaurant, for the finest in Italian dining, and the spectacular rooftop restaurant and terrace, where you can enjoy sumptuous food, a magnificent view and the romance of a star-filled sky. Visit

Locanda Corsini If your idea of a romantic getaway means getting out of the city and driving toward the mountains, then Locanda Corsini in Naas (just above Bikfaya) is the perfect spot for you. A gorgeously restored and impeccably maintained traditional Lebanese mountain home transformed into a boutique hotel, Locanda Corsini (the name is Italian for a place of refuge of the Corsini family, the owners) is all about rest and relaxation. After a walk to explore this pine-filled mountain town, head back to the hotel for homemade pastas and desserts, served on the beautiful terrace set amid nature, with sweeping views of the mountains and valleys all around. Visit Mir Amin Palace In the hills above the Beiteddine Palace and overlooking the Shouf mountain valley, the redtile roofs of picturesque Deir el Qamar and the Mediterranean Sea beyond, the Mir Amin Palace Hotel 269 A

A journey _ getaways

stands as a national landmark, with its Ottomaninfluenced architecture, complete with numerous courtyards, fountains and arched passageways. What makes the Mir Amin Palace a great getaway for a little romance is its serene mountaintop setting, with nothing but natural beauty as far as the eye can see, and that magnificent architecture, calling to mind the luxury of the bygone Ottoman era. There are sweeping views from virtually every room, a sprawling, openair terrace for drinks and meals, and many intimate spots to while away the time and reconnect with your significant other. The Shouf mountains’ premier hotel, Mir Amin Palace allows guests to live out all of their Ottoman fantasies. Visit Pineland Located in Hammana’s Lamartine Valley, and nestled into the glorious countryside, Pineland is also perfect for a peaceful romantic break. Besides the hotel rooms and villas of different accommodation configurations, Pineland features 12 caves built entirely in stone, located in a cluster, away from the A 270

main hotel building. The caves, each with a private terrace and views of the valley and thousands of pine trees (you’re literally in pine land), are a wonderful retreat for some intimate time à deux. And, when you want to mingle and enjoy the company of others, the resort, with its indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa and variety of entertainment and dining options, is just a short stroll away. Visit

©Byblos Sur Mer, Laguava, Pineland

The caves at Pineland in Hammana’s Lamartine Valley (left) and Rmeileh’s Laguava resort, south of Beirut (below)

The landmark Byblos Sur Mer hotel

Laguava With long stretches of sandy beaches, Rmeileh, south of Beirut, has a number of great beach resorts. The most exclusive among these, and one of few that offers luxurious beachside accommodations, is Laguava. Is there a more serene way to wake up than in a private luxury bungalow with the sounds of the breeze and the gentle waves of the sea? After a peaceful morning and breakfast served in-room on your private deck, the choice is yours: more quiet time with your significant other watching the waves roll onto shore from your bungalow or enjoying one of the resort’s beachside or poolside activities. Visit Byblos Sur Mer If you can’t decide between a beach or city getaway, then Byblos Sur Mer is the best of both worlds. Built in 1967 and recently updated to modern splendor, it is the largest and oldest hotel in Byblos, with wonderful views of the Mediterranean from virtually every spot. For relaxation and chill time, the hotel features both a pool constructed on a jetty on the sea or the sea itself, with

exclusive beach access for hotel guests. For exploring, Byblos Sur Mer is ideally located a short stroll from Byblos’ scenic old town, with its 12th century castle, a number of great seaside restaurants and the traditional souks, with a plethora of shops, cafés and trendy bars. Visit 271 A

A journey _ beirut

City slicker By MacKenzie Lewis

Beirut’s new neighborhoods steal your heart away

Downtown Beirut Ancient Romans gathered in Downtown Beirut to groom and gossip in baths that still stand today. During the French Mandate, women admired gold jewelry that glimmered as the sun hit old souk windows. Though it was devastated by the civil war, Downtown has recaptured its place as the heart of Beirut – a heart that beats decidedly more glamorously than in past lives. Women once again meet to scrub and socialize (at Aïshti’s Ï Day Spa), and choose treasures from Cartier to adorn their fingers. They strut the cobblestone streets of a shopping empire that has conquered Italy, France and the United States, and brought with it spoils from Gucci, Dior and Marc Jacobs. This is old Beirut, dusted off, polished and splendidly restored. If the ‘60s formed its Golden Age, we’re entering the Platinum Era. A 272

©Ieva Saudargaite

The tales of longing for old Beirut are familiar. They weave in mornings spent shopping in Hamra, afternoons walking around the ancient souks near Martyrs’ Square and evenings applauding before Clemenceau’s famed stages. The streets are still recognizable, but now have come to represent rose-tinted, bygone moments in time. Times are changing. As they do, forgotten neighborhoods are emerging with a fresh finish, ready to make history somewhere new.

Saifi Village Little about Saifi Village reveals its past as a frontline of the civil war. This is Downtown’s equally upscale but more bohemian counterpart, characterized by new representations of traditional Lebanese architecture and a laid-back attitude. Set away from the busy main road, narrow streets lined with lush trees flow into a sun-drenched square, where children’s laughter mingles with the chatter drifting from Balima café. Saifi Village makes for an eclectic shopping experience; French streetwear brand CLVII and Starch, with its experimental collections from emerging Lebanese designers, are just a few steps away from shabby-chic home store Kezako and upscale Parisian brasserie Les Gourmets des Ternes. Nok Yoga Shala, a new yoga studio, taps into the area’s spiritual side.

Center (home to Aïzone and Aïshti). Behind slick exteriors, high street and luxury brands offer enough eye candy to occupy an entire afternoon. Outdoor cafés, including Starbucks, Café Blanc and Leila, make the most of palm tree-lined sidewalks and Lebanon’s permanently clear skies. Watch out for the sprawling new ABC Verdun mall, scheduled to open in the coming years.

Verdun When one neo-modernist building was erected in 1993, it symbolized the transformation of a sleepy residential neighborhood into a shopping and entertainment destination. Today, BLOM Bank serves as a steel and glass welcome sign to the new Verdun. Small corner shops have given way to three glittering shopping centers, Verdun 730, Verdun 732 and Dunes

This page The colorful buildings that give Saifi Village its distinct identity Opposite page Gloriously restored Downtown Beirut, along with the newly constructed Beirut Souks

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Glittering Verdun and its sleek, ultramodern personality

©Ieva Saudargaite

Zaitunay Bay Zaitunay Bay illuminates the Mediterranean coast as architect Stephen Holl’s concrete waves roll across the city. It’s hard to believe this was once the site of a landfill, a seedy strip of shore that was host to scores of illicit activity. A teak walkway and undulating terraces today stand by the former war zone, its ladies of the night replaced by ladies who lunch. The outdoor promenade extends the historic corniche by 220,000 square feet of landscaped plazas, boutiques, restaurants, a future yacht club and apartments. Conceived as an urban beach, this boardwalk’s souvenirs come from boutiques like Selim Mouzannar (jewelry) and Nada Debs (home accessories). Decadent ice cream cones from Häagen-Dazs and St. Elmo’s and champagne at mywaterfront make fitting seaside snacks.

Picturesque, dramatically beautiful Zaitunay Bay

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Somewhere down the crazy river By Sabina Llewellyn-Davies

The Barouk River trails beckon with natural wonders

There are many reasons to head to Lebanon’s Shouf mountains for a daytrip; the region just beckons with incredible views of green vistas, riverside restaurants, picturesque redroofed houses and plush Emir palaces. But it’s the Barouk River trail that really leads you to its heartland. In spring the A 276

river is quite a sight for sore city eyes, lined with pink cyclamen sprouting under bushes of bright yellow Hairy Thorny Broom. Rare pink Italian orchids were in full bloom, and as we walked along the trail a multitude of lizards scrambled away as did a salamander and a brilliant green tree frog. A yellow butterfly decides to be our companion and flutters next to us until distracted by a flower. A tortoise stops in its track and buries its tiny head in the shell. And midway, we spot a pair of hawks circling above us in the blue sky and strain our necks to admire these proud birds. They fly fearlessly here, as do hundreds of other species of birds, without

the threat of hunters, as the river trail is subject to stringent protection within the Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve. The trail along the river is divided into several sections with varied lengths and levels, ranging from moderate to hard, with paths marked along the way with white lines. Recommended starting points are from the villages of Bater, Moukhtara, Barouk and Maasser. The most picturesque route is from Moukhtara, where the trail begins at the village church. After heading down through woods, the western slope of the river leads to the Baddeh watermill. A highlight

of this trail is the passage over an ancient Ottoman bridge. Another good point to start is the village of Maasser, which is set just above Moukhtara and has a tourism office right before the trail’s entry point. Here, pick up a map outlining the trails or, if you are unsure about heading into the wild alone, book the services of a local guide. Next time you head to the Shouf region, don’t just go for the grand palaces and riverside restaurants, as wonderful as they are. Seek out the hidden river trails, and you will return with memories of awesome natural sights and sounds to relish until your next outing.

©Sabina Llewellyn-Davies

It’s a warm morning in April. We tread through an orchard, over a lawn of daisies, past a farmer tending trees, with three children in tow. “What’s your name?” shouts one of the youngsters, obviously proud to show off his elementary English skills. “Tell me your name first,” I reply. We walk on, and after a while we spot a broad white line blazed on a rock, signage for the Barouk River trail, directing us down toward the river and an ancient stone bridge. We wash our faces in the cool water, surrounded by red crown anemone, tall asphodel and purple catmint. The riverbed is abuzz with insects, and a chorus of birds sing their hearts out.

Available at A誰zone Stores T: +961 1 991 111 and Retail Sport Shops

A journey _ lebanon

Drive along the sea

©Mélanie Dagher

By May Farah

Take a road trip up Lebanon’s magical northern coastline

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Initially, it seems like a radical idea: playing tourist in one’s own country. On second thought, however, it could be an eye-opener, offering the same kind of fresh perspective that comes when showing first-time travelers some of the country’s striking scenery, when we get a chance to see our country through their eyes. But, we don’t have to wait for visitors to rediscover and appreciate the magnificence that surrounds us. The first stop is the nearest car rental agency. You’ll want a convertible for this one-day itinerary to get out of town and explore one of Lebanon’s wonders – the coastline – particularly when the weather is sunny. Grab a friend or significant other, jump in, buckle up, take the top down, hop on the seaside highway out of Beirut and head northeast to Maameltein. Here, take the first of many breaks of the day: grab a coffee at Costa, and a seat on the spacious terrace with its sweeping view of Jounieh Bay, one of the most spectacular in the Mediterranean. Not only will a feeling of relaxation envelop you almost instantly, but also the beginnings of awe, as you begin to absorb the beauty of your surroundings. Emit sigh number one. Although you could spend all day admiring the view, it’s time to continue the journey along the coastal road; there will be many more breaks with equally fantastic views. Next stop: Byblos, one of Lebanon’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Park near the sea and walk up past the ancient port, stroll around to experience the city’s ancient architecture and its Phoenician, Roman and Crusader ruins, including the castle and Medieval wall, before heading to the old souks with their cobblestone walkways and small, meandering alleys tucked in here and there. Take a moment to consider the city’s history. Think of all previous civilizations that have stood in the exact spot where you’re standing. Emit sign number two. As you head back to the car, the heat of the day will be at its peak, and you realize you’ve begun to work up an appetite. You debate whether to take a quick dip in the inviting waters of the Mediterranean or grab lunch first. Then it hits you: you can do both. As you drive toward Batroun, you can’t help but ponder the striking proximity and allure

of the sea. It’s the same sea you’ve seen all day, and every day before, but you’ll begin to appreciate how its colors and the view change from different vantage points. A quick 10-minute drive and you’re at Jammal’s, Lebanon’s famed seaside restaurant specializing in not just dining al fresco, but “al acqua” as well. Literally. Once you’ve both changed into your swimsuits and been escorted to your in-water table, you can take a refreshing swim as you await your freshly made mezza and freshly caught and prepared fish of the day. There are very few places in the world where you can swim up to your table as your food is being served. After an invigorating swim and hearty lunch, and releasing two very warranted sighs, you’re ready for a little more tourism. Head to Batroun, which made the Guinness Book of Records last year for the world’s largest cup of lemonade. Now that you’re in Batroun, you know you have to taste for yourself what all the fuss is about. So, where else to stop but at Patisserie Rim, which not only serves the best glass of freshly made lemonade (it’s a family secret that is over 60 years old), but also mouth-watering traditional Lebanese sweets. Mouth still busy savoring the Middle Eastern delights, you emit sigh number five. The sun is beginning to set, and it’s time to head back toward Beirut. But, a few more stops along the way back means there’s still more time to savor your one-day holiday. The first is for pre-dinner drinks on the terrace at the Casino du Liban. Where better to watch the sun set than over that most magnificent of bays? Absolutely stunning. This sigh, number six, is longer and deeper. Then, a short drive and you’re at Jounieh’s old town. Here, a pre-dinner stroll around the quaint boutiques, and you will again rediscover the picturesque stone houses with their arched windows and colored wooden shutters, most of which were very recently restored. After your walk, head to Margherita Mare for dinner outside under the stars (simply al fresco this time) and as close to the sea as you can get without getting wet. Dive into the restaurant’s delectable, seafood-inspired Italian fare and observe the twinkling lights of boars sailing along the sea. Final sigh gratifyingly emitted. 279 A

A last _ word

A life in Lebanon By Marwan Naaman

a rainbow” (if I may be a bit shallow and quote Katy Perry). For Beirut residents, the changes have been monumental, with supertowers rising seemingly overnight in virtually every neighborhood and forever changing the city skyline, new shopping malls appearing out of the blue and countless restaurants and bars opening across town. Anyone who visited Beirut in 1990 and then does so again today would most probably not even recognize the city, so complete has its transformation been.

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from the dream. The past 13 years have certainly been filled with adventure, but perhaps not the kind I expected. There was prime minister’s Rafic Hariri’s horrific assassination in 2005, Israel’s devastating war with Hezbollah in 2006, the Nahr el Bared Islamist uprising in 2007 and the mini Sunni-Shia civil war in 2008. Not to mention the countless assassinations and bombings that followed the exit of the Syrian army in 2005. Yet, through all of these earth-shattering events, Lebanon survived. More than that, the country continued in its relentless drive to grow, rebuild and modernize, always believing that “after a hurricane, comes

There are no easy answers to any of these questions, but I will venture a few of my feelings and thoughts. Lebanon is a country that gets under your skin. When you live here, you often think of leaving, but when you do, you immediately miss the sunshine, the human warmth, the chaos, the family, the social life, the closeness of everything. A good friend of mine who left Lebanon for New York eight years ago told me: “Don’t take Lebanon for granted, Marwan. Life there is blessed.” Perhaps she’s right.

©Mélanie Dagher

When I returned to Lebanon in the year 2000, after a lifetime spent in Europe and the United States, my journey had a distinctly adventurous feel: I was coming back to a country that was bubbling with energy and excitement. In Beirut and beyond, locals and expats felt that anything was possible and that the future would be golden, notwithstanding the Syrian and Israeli occupations of the country. Lebanon was the land of opportunity, and from the ashes of a harrowing 15-year war, a new, prosperous nation would soon rise up along the Mediterranean Sea and under the Levantine sun.

In parallel with Lebanon’s transformation, I’ve undergone significant changes of my own. Gone is the 20-something Californian youth who believed that everything was possible and that the future would unfold under a rose-colored sky. Fantasy has given way to reality, particularly in light of the geo-political events that continue to threaten Lebanon’s stability and its prospects for the future. This uncertainty has also made me question my place in Lebanon. Would it be better for me to return to the United States? Am I building a future on Lebanese quicksand? Why do I stay here when I could easily pack up and move to New York or Los Angeles?

A Magazine, Issue 66  

The June/July 2013 issue of A magazine is dedicated to our Mediterranean homeland, with a look at all that makes Lebanon glamorous and glori...

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