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01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 Architecture 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Living 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 Product design 68 69 70 Publisher: 71 72 City News Privilege 73 74 on behalf of Le Cercle Hitti 75 76 77 Editor in Chief : 78 79 Anastasia Cassandra Nysten 80 81 82 Managing Editor: 83 84 Helen Assaf 85 86 87 Graphic Design: 88 89 Genia Kodash Art & Culture 90 91 92 Printer: 93 94 RAIDY | www.raidy.com 95 96 97 Contributors: Fashion 98 99 Dan Bratman 100 101 Karah Byrns 102 103 Miriam Dunn 104 105 Derek Issacs 106 107 Natalie Jarudi In Beirut 108 109 Maya Khourchid 110 111 Travel & Events 112 Advertising: 113 114 sales@citynewsme.net 115 116 t:  +961 3 852 899

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue: it’s a rhyme whose origins remain obscured by the mists of time but many a bride has heard it chanted as a suggested lucky formula. So for this issue of Le Cercle, we’re putting the concept to the test. For “something old”, we visit a turn of the century landmark hotel in Shanghai revived through its patronage of the arts and make ourselves at home in a Parisian architect’s 1930s apartment given a couturier’s genius touch. When it comes to “something new”, we explore the future of the world glimpsed through the prism of Shanghai and meet a Stateside confectioner with an innovative take on the traditional cacao bean. For “something borrowed”, we climb up into a treehouse crafted from nature through the perspective of photographer Bruce Weber. And for the final ingredient “something blue”, we set sail on Africa’s languid waters for a safari with a difference, escape to a nature-lover’s idyllic island and soothe our senses at a Greek cliff-side retreat. In addition, there are our regular features on architecture, art, local happenings and iconic design. All together we hope the ‘marriage’ of subjects is one you’ll enjoy reading happily ever after.


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M i r i a m

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The ground-breaking ‘Bigger City, Better Life’ exposition in China puts modern urban living under the microscope while also celebrating cultural diversity


rban living across the globe in the 21st century is being explored in every detail at the world’s largest Expo to date in Shanghai, China. Titled ‘Bigger City, Better Life’, the Shanghai World Expo 2010 brings together almost 200 countries and 50 organizations to explore and debate the intricacies and major issues of modern city life. Themed pavilions, set out on both banks of the Huangpu River, house a long list of exhibitions where the hot topics of urban living, from cultural issues and technological advances to the impact of city life on the environment, are being put under the microscope. Among them is the Lebanon pavilion, a 500m2 space that takes visitors on a hi-tech journey both through time, from the dawn of the Phoenicians and into the future,

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 Architecture 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Living 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 Product design 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 as well as geographically, exploring 77 78 major cities and touristic sites. 79 80 Lebanon is one of only three Arab 81 countries to be exhibiting in a 82 83 solo pavilion, with others opting 84 85 for joint ventures. It is also one 86 of only four countries from the 87 88 200 exhibiting that has chosen 89 90 Art & Culture to put on additional events 91 92 that showcase the country – a 93 dance show by Caracalla on 94 95 June 22 and a performance 96 97 by the Beirut Oriental 98 Fashion Ensemble with Charbel 99 100 Rouhana on July 27. As 101 102 for the pavilion, visitors 103 104 will come face to face 105 with an exact replica 106 107 of the sarcophagus in 108 In Beirut 109 which the Phoenicia 110 alphabet was first 111 112 Travel & Events discovered, as well 113 114 as i-touch screens 115 116 which present


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interactive visuals of Lebanon’s cities, in the past, present and future. Other attractions include a 24-seat theater in which a four-minute film on Lebanon plays out, 3-D presentations of Jeita and other sites as well as a cafeteria and shop. The six-month-long Expo was launched with a star-studded extravaganza on April 30, amidst fireworks, songs, and dance, together with appearances from Jackie Chan and Andrea Boccelli. With pavilions set over a sprawling 5.28 square km, it is estimated that the Shanghai World Expo will set a new record as the largest site for such an event. But the organizers will also be hoping that it will be remembered for instigating dialog and action on key issues, such as green issues, changes in infrastructure, coping with a growing population and what the future could hold. These hot topics are explored in five central, themed pavilions named

‘Urban Footprints’, ‘Urban Planet’, ‘Urban Dwellers’, ‘Urban Beings’, and ‘Urban Dreams’. The exhibitions set out there have been created by some of the world’s leading designers and range from rooms housing cultural relics loaned from international museums to others taking inspiration from historical architecture, such as an early 20th century train station. The long list of country pavilions is equally impressive, with many finding ingenious ways to celebrate their national architecture and heritage. As Shanghai gears up to welcome an estimated 70 million visitors, there is a feeling that the Expo can convince people that the challenges city life is producing need to be looked at globally, not locally. There are certainly many hopes from this ground-breaking Expo, and this is one that shows signs of being realized.


01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 Architecture 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Living 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 Product design 69 70 71 72 73 74 the audience on a historical review of 75 76 key inventions such as the elevator 77 78 that revolutionized the field of 79 80 architecture. Whereas architecture 81 used to express a collective public 82 83 statement and the values of a 84 85 particular society, Koolhaas said 86 that this statement is becoming 87 88 harder to make and that “in 89 90 Art & Culture the last 20 years, the age of 91 92 privatization and globalization, 93 there has been a massive shift 94 95 from the public to the private 96 97 sector”. Koolhaas shared 98 Fashion that architecture currently 99 100 expresses the values of the 101 102 private sector and even the 103 104 aspirations of the architect. 105 “Starchitects” as he called 106 107 them have become 108 In Beirut 109 an object of ridicule 110 whose “increasingly 111 112 Travel & Events flamboyant buildings 113 114 have an invisible 115 116

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ho better to reflect on the development of architecture through time than world-renowned architect-philosopher, Pritzker prizewinner and Harvard Professor Rem Koolhaas. As the inaugural lecturer of the Areen Architecture Series at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Koolhaas offered a fascinating retrospective on architecture in the current period of globalization. Co-founder of the Rotterdambased Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and its research-oriented think-tank, Architectuur Metropolitaanse Officie (AMO), Koolhaas is well positioned to offer insight on architecture in practice and in theory. In order to contextualize current trends in architecture, Koolhaas took


Above: Casa da Música, Porto, Portugal, 2005 Rem Koolhaas & Ellen van Loon Photographed by Christian Richters

Right: Al Manakh front cover

purpose and could be located anywhere in the world”. This is quite contrary to Koolhaas’ style of architecture. In investigating the relationship between society and modernization through the city, he sets an example for architects that submit themselves to realities on the ground, no matter how irrational they are. The new urbanism he describes refers to a “staging of uncertainty not an arrangement of permanent objects”. This is significant for the practice of architecture today. Cities around the world are becoming highly congested and are in constant flux. His unique style of architecture works within this reality as opposed to attempting to inflict an architectural aesthetic that has no purpose and serves no need. Koolhaas has an impressive oeuvre of work spanning his 35-year career. From the Seattle Central Library to his concept store for luxury designer Prada, he focuses on designing the building around its use. “Architecture is more than just designing pretty shoeboxes,” he said. All his work incorporates the human experience into the very design of the buildings. For example with the CCTV headquarters in Beijing, Koolhaas had an agenda—to introduce to China new modes of construction and “push the culture to unlock the possibilities”. He also wanted to change the centralized perception of Chinese media

by opening all the offices to the public and by creating a pathway throughout the entire building. With the Porto Opera House in Portugal, he was challenging the idea that opera houses and concert halls are elitist. “We wanted to challenge this and allow the public to participate in the event. That was the purpose of the massive windows and also opening the space to the public for 15 hours a day,” he said. Koolhaas’ work with the AMO delves into an equally important initiative of documentation, research and investigation of a range of topics from shopping (The Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping) to the development of the Gulf (a two part-volume entitled Al Manakh). Whereas OMA realizes architectural concepts, AMO serves a different purpose. In studying the socio-economic and cultural realities all around the world, AMO functions as the theoretical cockpit in navigating modernization. Through the OMA and AMO, Koolhaas is truly pioneering an entirely new way of doing architecture. With two tomes in the architectural world under his belt, Delirious New York and S,M,L, XL, Koolhaas also manages to have time to edit Volume Magazine, a highly respected journal that places architecture at the very heart of social discourse. Needless to say, Rem Koolhaas certainly makes the most of his time.


Where the stars

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“I imagined for the Monte Carlo Beach a romance, a timeless love story with strong visual references from the Riviera of the 30s giving elegance and a zest of glamour to revive this fairytale gem.� India Mahdavi


or celebrities privacy and luxury are often top of the list when it comes to the must-have qualities of where to stay. Add to these stunning Mediterranean views, lush vegetation, world-class cuisine and much, much more, and the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel would fit the bill as the perfect getaway in question. Of course, the international jet-set and Hollywood stars have known this for decades, since the dawn of the golden age of Monte Carlo itself. Today many of their portraits line the corridors of this exclusive 40-room retreat. “You feel a kind of castaway, as if you are on an island,” said Eric Bessone, Director of Sales & Marketing Middle East for Société des Bains de Mer, Monte Carlo, describing the peninsula-located hotel. “But what you can’t imagine

is that within five minutes’ walking distance, you have the Salle des Etoiles, La Trattoria, and Summer Casino. It’s a very special place.” While the spirit of the 1930s hotel lives on, more recently it was given a makeover by Parisian-based interior designer India Mahdavi. “We didn’t touch the structure but added new designs so that everything is made to feel comfortable with a very ‘zen’ feeling,” said Bessone. “In the corridors there are pine trees on rocks as well as cushions, so you can sit, lounge, wait or read. Each place is designed to be used.” Mahdavi herself has cultivated an international reputation for her ability to create interiors that evoke a sense of well-being and innate longing to stay. It is clear that Monte Carlo Beach Hotel is no exception. Yet as its name suggests, the hotel offers more

Clockwise from left: The Sea Lounge; La Vigie restaurant; En suite bathroom; Elsa terrace; La Vigie.

than just accommodation; it is also a beach club offering a wealth of sea sports. For those looking for some leisure within the confines of the hotel itself, a mirror-style pool, spa, and solarium are also to hand. Beyond recreation, this summer a Lebanese flavor is taking over at the hotel’s Le Sea Lounge Monte Carlo, where a Lebanese chef will be creating “oriental fairy tales” every day and night. With three other restaurants to choose from, this intimate enclave certainly knows how to spoil guests for choice. Last, but by no means least, there is a private landing-dock providing private access to the hotel from the sea. No doubt many a reclusive celebrity has docked there throughout the years, en route to their stay in one of Monte Carlo’s best preserved corners of paradise.


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Fashion

comes home Take one 250m2 apartment located in front of the Eiffel Tower, add to this the talents of the socalled ‘enfant terrible’ of French fashion, and the result is interior architecture meets irrepressibly kooky couture.

Words by:

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Left: On the terrace, Paris and the Eiffel tower resonate in jewel-like facets, which play on a chequered mirror on the floor.

Above: Nude tones and a lingerie theme dominate the bedroom.

Above right: Gaultier’s signature nautical stripes take over the walls and furniture.

he apartment in question was once the home of architect Jacques Carlu, most famous for designing the Palais de Chaillot in the 1930s. For the past three years, though, his former residence has been given spectacular makeovers, by Christian Lacroix, Martin Magiela and now Jean Paul Gaultier via a collaboration between Elle Decoration and the Cite de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. Many of Gaultier’s signature themes are present: nautical stripes adorn the walls and hug the curves of furniture, creating optical illusions of dizzying proportions. The bedroom is dominated by pale nude tones, reminiscent of Madonna’s iconic corsetry that Gaultier once famously designed. In this boudoir-like ambiance, fabric hangs in generous swathes from

the ceiling, while across the carpet a lacy fishnet stocking pattern seductively crawls. Elsewhere, nature is taking over as gargantuan plants are invited indoors. Ivy is woven into the sofa, while lichen grows over the chairs in the shade of a tree, and moss, like green velvet, carpets the stone. This year’s Elle Decoration Suite was sponsored by Roche Bobois, which has developed a strong reputation for working with known or emerging talents to create and design rooms that express the pedigree of their creators and the personality of those who adopt them. The partnership between the French brand – celebrating 50 years of creativity – and Gaultier seemed an obvious one. Here, in this corner of Paris, Gaultier’s true personality has quite literally become part of the furniture.


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A taste for the

W o r d s b y : Helen Assaf

finer things in life

o the eye, a multi faceted gold liquid changes continuously as the light reflects through the deep color. Once sipped, the youthful aromas of fresh citrus give way to the richness of mature fruits, and a beguiling journey of myriad flavors begins. This is Johnnie Walker Blue Label The John Walker Edition - no ordinary whisky by far. To create it involved a search for an exceptional level of rarity and uniqueness; a journey that would delve back through the mists of time, to the days when John Walker himself hand-crafted whiskies to the personal taste of individual customers at his Kilmarnock store in the early 1800s. Back in the 21st century, as master blender Jim Beveridge set about his selection process, he would have been forgiven for finding the task somewhat daunting. Along with his team he explored the Johnnie Walker reserves, totalling nearly seven million casks. His mission: to hand-pick a select number of whiskies that would create Johnnie Walker Blue Label The John Walker Edition. No other man could have been better for the job. Already, each year Beveridge samples one thousand casks of whisky in his search for the most rare and precious flavors. Often around just one percent of these casks hold the properties he is

looking for, and all of these are immediately reserved for Johnnie Walker Blue Label. For The John Walker Edition, the process was even more exacting. Yet Beveridge completed his mission with aplomb. Although many of the nearly seven million of casks had been created long since John Walker’s time, amazingly Beveridge picked whiskies from distilleries that John Walker himself had access to when creating his blends, thus creating an authentic link to the blends developed by the man himself. Only nine distilleries – just six malt and three grain whiskies – are represented in the final blend, including some incredibly rare casks that have been selected for their unique contribution. Using so few whiskies allows no margin for error and is only possible with whiskies of impeccable quality which must be selected at their absolute peak age. The whiskies come together for a second and final maturation to marry the blend in a 100-year-old wood cask. Each single barrel batch (no two batches will ever be exactly the same) fills just three hundred and thirty decanters.  Like the whisky blend, the Baccarat decanters are themselves rare and exquisite works of art. Blown, polished and engraved by hand, each bears a unique number. Only three craftsmen in the world have the expertise to create such masterpieces. The high artistry extends to the handcrafted cabinets, each of which take 60 hours to craft, including the application of 11 layer of lacquers, while the neck collar that rests beneath the crystal stopper is no less than 24k plated gold.


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whereartlives Words by:

H e l e n

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lamour, mystery and modernity…the Shanghai of one hundred years ago had all this and more. From the city’s melting pot of colonial cultures – British, American, French and Japanese – emerged a unique blend of architectural styles. One of the greatest landmarks of this time still stands today, albeit now renamed as the Swatch Art Peace Hotel. The site was first occupied by the Central Hotel, Shanghai’s most luxurious at the time, which opened its doors in 1854. However, extensive fire damage in the early 19th century led to the construction of a new southern building in 1908, named the Palace Hotel. Since 1996 the latter structure has been a cultural site under state protection, yet one in great need of renovation. In 2007 the Swatch Group stepped in with ambitious plans to have the historic building restored by experts in the field, with its facade and characteristic architectural features, including period ceilings and pillar decorations, brought back to their original splendor. At the core of the Swatch Group plans was the proposition for the revitalized hotel to play a role as a world-class center of contemporary

art, culture and hospitality “where art is the ultimate luxury”. This August artists from around the world will converge on the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai. Once there they will be accommodated free of charge on one condition: that they leave behind a “trace” of their visit. Those invited, after selection by a committee, will live and work in rooms on the second and third floors in studios. It will be entirely up to them whether they collaborate together or work alone and also just how long they stay, although the anticipated time of residence is a maximum of six months. In addition to creating their own art, a specific studio will be used for the creation of special Swatch watches with the support of experts from the brand. Swatch will even go on to produce some of these watches, continuing its tradition of collaborating with some of the planet’s best artists, “to make the world of watches a more colorful place”. Although the second and third floors are reserved purely for artists, the cultural philosophy pervades the rest of the hotel. The fourth floor features three exclusive themed special guest suites: one


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with a traditional Chinese art motif, another housing contemporary and modern art, with the third inspired by the art and architecture of the building. On the ground and first floors, Swatch’s expansive boutique offers not only a wide range of the brand’s newest and most popular products but provides dedicated spaces for special events and art exhibitions. Here, as is true of the rest of the hotel, contemporary design elements have been blended with a respect for the building’s heritage and legacy. Just as the renovation updates history with a fresh approach, the art that is created within the hotel’s walls will carry China’s millennia-rich renown as the cradle of artistic expression well and truly into the future.


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A hillside retreat designed to match the beauty of its surroundings


“the interior of the house was created so as when one is inside, a sense of the outside is evident throughout the house�


igh up in the mountains, more than a thousand meters above Lebanon’s oldest inhabited town of Byblos lies the village of Qartaba. Here nature’s tapestry flourishes, with olive groves, mulberry orchards and vineyards thriving in the alpine climate. Amid this peaceful resort, Cercle Hitti Projects gave a summer home its unrivaled design treatment. “I was very keen to make sure that the environment was integrated in the house itself,” explains Dori Hitti, architect designer and founder of Cercle Hitti Projects. “So the exterior and interior were one element as opposed to two. Furthermore, the interior of the house was created so as when one is inside, a sense of the outside is evident throughout the house.” Examples of


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the latter include the use of stone cladded walls and wood, which form aesthetic references to the heritage and natural world that surrounds this summer home. Dori Hitti’s signature style has been described as “opulent simplicity”. Initially this may sound like a contradiction in terms. In the case of Hitti, though, it perfectly sums up his ability to balance the finest quality with just the right design touches needed to exceed all expectations. In the case of the Qartaba villa, completed in 2009, it brought a sense of calm and breathtaking beauty that felt right at home in its surrounding environment. INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN: Dori Hitti, Hitti projects Architecture: AAA, Atelier des Architectes Associés


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f not now, then when?” shared a new motorcycle enthusiast who happens to be female and recently attended the Ducati Riding Experience (DRE) in Bologna, Italy. Fresh off her trip to the famed Ducati Factory where daylong courses are tailored to educate riders about the fundamentals of Ducati motorcycles and top-notch riding instruction on a professional track, this new rider has been undeniably enchanted: “It is the most unbelievable experience. It’s like learning how to dance with your bike.” Ducati has come a long way since it first started producing motorcycle engines in 1946. As Andrea Ferraresi, Ducati Design Director puts it, “Ducati DNA is a racing DNA”. From the racetrack to the road, the brand has come to represent ultimate sophistication in both design and performance. Ducati bikes, such as

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the Monster, have reached iconic status. They are also the first motorcycle manufacturer to offer courses like the DRE aimed at improving motorcycle competence of riders both new and experienced. From superbikes to the lifestyle variety, Ducati has developed a loyal and passionate following all over the world. In the words of David James, former three-times world champion and now International Press Manager, “Ducati is simply the coolest sporting manufacturer in the industry. Motorcyclists are attracted to the romantic lifestyle of the biker. A dash of adrenalin and a penchant for freedom and exploration, bikers develop a life-long passion for the sport”. James adds, “It is a personal and selfish experience. It is just you and the bike and you close off the rest of the world”. DRE was created as a means to


explore an interest in biking and turn each person’s interest into a solid foundation of how the bike functions and of how to ride. Underlining their commitment to motorcycle safety, the DRE offers a total Ducati experience. The DRE is now working with the Federazione Motociclistica Italiana (FMI) and experts from the Italian Federation to become the first officially certified school in Italy, a certification that all schools will have to satisfy in the future. Ducati is an industry leader not just in terms of the handcrafted nature and cutting-

edge technology that their full range of bikes offer, but by the fact that promoting motorcycle proficiency has become a commitment for the manufacturer. At a press conference held in Beirut, Ducati distributor Gilbert Khoury passionately shared that his love for motorcycles goes hand in hand with the respect all riders should have towards safety. “We are concerned with more than just selling bikes. We want to spread the message that you should not get on a bike without having had proper lessons

and with appropriate protective gear.” Khoury has plans to set up a motorcycle school in Lebanon and has been working tirelessly to improve rules and regulations when it comes to licensing. Developing a relationship with Kunhadi.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to youth awareness for road safety, Khoury is a responsible business owner. Ducati Lebanon facilitates travel to Italy to attend the DRE with a total travel package from Beirut to Bologna. A DRE attendee summed up her day on the Monster 848 as “man


Ducati riders are put through their paces at the DRE racetrack.

and machine in harmony”. A beginner motorcyclist, she now excitedly explains, “There is a reason behind every single movement you make and now I understand that. I feel more confident. I’m definitely hooked”. Owning a Ducati is somehow incomplete without attending DRE and making a long-life commitment to improving your riding skills all while getting that buzz that can only be had from getting on a Ducati. David James summed it up best when he said, “DRE is an experience. It’s a school. But it’s not

just a school. It’s a great way of doing a test ride but it’s very much more than that. It is a full immersion into the world of Ducati. You experience the Ducatisti community. You experience the product in its true environment. You go away with a new talent, a higher riding level”. Troy Bayliss, Superbike World Champion, echoes this sentiment. “Once you go Ducati, you don’t want to ride anything else. It’s an addiction. And now with DRE you can pursue it in a responsible way”.


Mixingitup Grant Collins creates a stir with his avant-garde cocktails Words by:

emember the name Grant Collins. For those fortunate enough to have attended the opening of Amethyste, Phoenicia InterContinental’s newest chillout lounge, you will have had the opportunity to see Collins in action. Originating from the UK but currently residing in Australia, Collins is not just a bartender. He is a drink architect. He is a spirits’ scientist. He is a molecular mixologist. He is an energetic and charismatic man that is responsible for revolutionizing the traditional bar menu and offering drinks that could earn Michelin stars in their own right. In the days leading up to the opening, Collins was busy training the bartending staff of Amethyste in the very advanced techniques and preparations for what would become Amethyste’s signature drinks. But before your senses are tantalized by beyond belief mojitos, frozen-champagne grapes and vodka-infused

Top: Grant Collins pours his talents into serving up one of Beirut’s most sophisticated drinks menus.

cotton candy, it is necessary to share Collin’s thoughts about the fabulously refined and redefined world of modern bartending. One thing is clear. Cocktails will never be the same again. Amethyste is not just an exotic refuge from the clamor of Beirut, it is the only destination that offers up avantgarde cocktail inspirations. Sitting down with Collins, he shared his ideas about the very sophisticated world of mixology. Inspired by molecular gastronomy Master Chef Heston Blumenthal’s UK restaurant Fat Duck, Collins experiments with techniques, textures, and flavors. By using liquid nitrogen, free-spirited flavors, adding gelees, and many more tricks, Collins believes that “the whole idea is letting your mind go and opening up your other senses”. He says: “I truly believe by using other senses you can heighten your drinking experience. They’ve known in

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culinary circles for years that you can do that, so why not in drinking?” In preparing for his first trip to Beirut, Collins studied Lebanese cookbooks to get an idea of local ingredients with the intention of fusing local flavors with his modern take on classic cocktails. “I was determined to bring out those delicious Lebanese flavors — spices, orange and rose water. It’s all about modernizing classic drinks and giving it a distinctly local flavor,” he says. Inspired by the surroundings of Amethyste, he created signature drinks which guests will be able to enjoy all summer long. “It’s all about balancing the flavors on the palette,” he adds. For hot summer Beirut nights, Collins recommends a poolside Margarita with a twist, a Beirut iced tea or a Beirut Cosmopolitan. It is elaborate. It is entertaining. It is avant-garde. It is pure luxury which can only be found at Amethyste.


NEW BEGINNING NEW DREAMS NEW MEMORIES

THE NEW PHOENICIA IS TAKING SHAPE


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ntil you have tried Cacao Atlanta’s hand-made truffles or the signature Love Bar, you can’t say that you’re a chocolate lover. Perhaps you keep a chocolate stash in your home or have travelled to Brussels on a chocolate tour. Perhaps you have developed the refined taste for dark chocolate or compare chocolate to wine and are able to distinguish the diverse tasting notes. However, none of this self-professed love for chocolate bears any weight until you have tasted any of Cacao Atlanta’s delicious morsels. Kristen Hard, owner and chocolate maker, purveys a sublime range of chocolate products made in the artisanal way from the actual cocoa bean with no additives, no preservatives and only the purest of cane sugars. Bean-to-bar is a relatively new

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movement that is practiced by only a handful of small-batch chocolate makers worldwide. Working directly from the cocoa bean as opposed to purchasing couverture (pre-made blocks of chocolate) and reworking it into a variety of molds, bean-to-bar makers concern themselves with the entire process — from the cocoa plantation where farmers lovingly tend to their crops, to the hand-sorting and winnowing of only the finest beans, to roasting and grinding which can only be done in micro-batches and finally to the tempering machine where the magic begins to happen. It is a time-intensive process that certainly escapes any large-scale commercial seller of chocolate. Between Hard and chocolate apprentice Lauren Gosnell, it takes just two women to create the full range of delectable chocolates with fillings such as vanilla, fig and balsamic reduction or rosewater and pink peppercorns. The key ingredient, beyond


the secret recipes Kristen Hard picked up while sailing around the world, is love. Having recently won several medals at the International Chocolate Salon in San Francisco and being named Best New American Chocolate by Food and Wine Magazine, their reputation and star-studded customer base is rapidly growing. At a higher price point than most conventional chocolates, Cacao Atlanta is the ultimate gourmet experience. Cacao’s boutique and laboratoire may be located in Atlanta, but international orders can be made on their website (www.cacaoatlanta.com). If chocolate could earn Michelin stars, Cacao would be well on its way to its third.


SPEND YOUR HONEYMOON AT HOME.

LISTE ALLIANCE FROM LE CERCLE.


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Set sail for a safari Words by: Miriam Dunn

The Zambezi Queen offers visitors the chance to marvel at the wonders of Africa’s wildlife from five-star comfort on the water


o many, a safari through Africa conjures up images of navigating bumpy terrain in a land rover with comfort being the necessary sacrifice to enjoy unrivalled views of the continent’s wildlife. So for those of us who love life’s little luxuries, but still relish the idea of getting close to Africa’s unrivaled populaces of leopards, hippos and lions, the idea of doing a safari on a luxury, five-star river boat is certainly an attractive one. The Zambezi Queen offers holidaymakers just such a trip. Taking the form of an eco-friendly, floating boutique hotel, the three-level 45-meter boat steers its guests along the Chobe River, which edges Botswana and Namibia, and looks out on to some of the densest populations of wildlife in Africa. The trip offers holidaymakers the perfect combination of comfort on board, to a backdrop of authentic African wildlife which includes the largest populace of elephants in the world, alongside waterbuck, buffalo, giraffes and over 400 species of birds, among others. Guests on the Zambezi Queen stay in one

of 14 luxury suites, all with private balconies, which allow them to enjoy unparalleled views of the wildlife dotted along the river’s edge. The boat’s upper level showcases its restaurant, which serves authentic African cuisine courtesy of Pete Goff-Wood, one of South Africa’s top chefs, who creates the dishes himself. The top deck also houses a lounge where holidaymakers can relax though the evening, against the backdrop of a wood-burning fire. By daytime, the schedule is as active or as leisurely as you choose. Sunbathing on the upper deck is one of the more relaxing activities, with loungers on hand, together with a splash pool. For guests who want to read up on the African bush, the lower deck houses a library, showcasing books on the fauna, flora and history of the region, alongside computers with Internet access and DVDs. For guests who are looking for local action, the opportunities are plentiful; the Zambezi Queen offers opportunities for tiger fishing, bird watching, game viewing or cultural tours of local


villages, with trips coordinated via the Zambezi Queen’s guides either by a smaller, private boat or by a 4x4 vehicle to and from the vessel. The Zambezi Queen not only offers holidaymakers the chance to marvel at Africa’s wildlife from an exceptional vantage point, but it is also takes great steps to protect this area of great, natural beauty. The boat has been designed by one of the partners, Tony Stern, who has drawn on his engineering background to produce a craft that ensures minimum impact on the environment, from the jet propulsion system which lessens damage to the river bed, to the solar panels on board. Stern’s design also means that at night, a low emission power system kicks in which, as he points out, is not only eco-friendly, but allows guests the privilege of enjoying their surroundings without the distractions or noise produced by modern technology. Just as nature intended.


01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 Architecture 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Living 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 Product design 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 Art & Culture 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 Fashion 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 In Beirut 108 109 110 111 Travel & Events 112 113 114 115 116


agreengem ofluxuryin theseychelles Words by:

M i r i a m

D u n n

Fregate Island Private is the ultimate getaway for holidaymakers who are looking for an idyllic, ecofriendly retreat


aking in the wonderful scenery and surroundings is always one of the pleasures of a tropical holiday. But the breathtaking views on Fregate Island Private are even more enjoyable when, as a visitor, you know that everything possible is being done to preserve them. Situated in the Indian Ocean, this private and secluded island in the Seychelles has long served as living proof that man and nature can co-exist in harmony, well before eco retreats became buzzwords among holiday-makers with a conscience. The island’s beautiful flora and fauna give pleasure to visitors, but enjoy the protection they deserve, as Marc Aeberhard, Fregate Island Private’s Managing Director, explained. “The rehabilitation of habitat, which got underway 15 years ago, has made the island one of the most important retreats for endemic fauna and a pioneer in the field,” he said. “Today, we are the most important tree repository in the Seychelles and we host the most important population

of many birds. We host the second largest population of Aldabra tortoises and are also one of the most important nesting places for Hawksbill turtles.” Taking its name from the frigate bird which frequents the Indian Ocean, Fregate Island Private holds the title of most beautiful beach in the world, thanks to the soft, white sand which is dotted with impressive granite rock formations. In all, seven beaches edge waters of pure turquoise and coral reef, which are superb for activities such as swimming and scuba diving. Accommodation takes the form of spacious, luxurious villas, made from traditional materials, such as native mahogany and African teak, with each offering first-class facilities, including Jacuzzi, sun deck and terraces with seaviews over the Indian Ocean. Dining is also the pleasure you’d expect, with gourmet critics rating the Creole cuisine at Fregate Island Private as probably the best in the Seychelles. Guests, who can choose to eat in the main restaurant or make use of the 24-hour in-


villa dining service, can expect most of the dishes they are served to be made with produce that is organically grown on site in the island’s plantation and hydroponics house. With other facilities such as a Rock Spa, fitness center and library also available, guests can certainly choose how they want to unwind on Fregate Island. But undoubtedly, it is the opportunity to enjoy a back-to-nature experience in an environment where nature is being nurtured that makes this private island so unique.


Island jewel Words by:

D a n

B r a t m a n


he morning sun spills its first light onto the drifting ocean brushing away the fog like dusting off the surface of a jewel. A luxurious cotton robe falls gently to the floor at feet that dip into the warm water of the indoor Jacuzzi. The day slowly drifts into white open arches, Mediterranean breezes wafting into the private rooms. Soon breakfast will be served. The curving indoor pool leads like a gentle hand into the outdoor pool. Sheer cliffs drop below into the ocean while above, a town like from a fairy tale perches atop the precipice. Gleaming white houses nestled into the cliff’s side, the cerulean blue of sky and ocean melting together at the distant horizon. The Ikies Traditional Houses, on the island of Santorini, Greece is a hotel one would expect to find in heaven; like a dream come true you never knew you had. Carved out of white pumice in the traditional style of the Greek islands, its


Above: The fisherman’s house maisonette located on the pool level.

Left: The boatman’s house studio, which is located at one of the highest levels in the property.

fluid curves, wide arches and terraced design invite languid sighs and long days of contemplation. The exterior, all white and blue, creates a dream-like feel. Inside, domed ceilings allow the ocean breezes to cool the shady open floor plan. A small boutique hotel with only ten rooms, the Ikies has an intimate feel. Each room is named after local traditional professions. With names like winemaker, artisan, fisherman and boatman, the interiors reflect these vocations. But the general theme is one of elegant simplicity. Immaculately blue tiled bathrooms offer spacious showers and indoor Jacuzzis while kitchenettes provide all modern conveniences. Clean fluid lines and cool open arches fit elegantly together with the

dark wood furnishings and trim. Volcanic cliffs dropping from all sides, endless blue skies and spectacular ocean views are the true triumph of the design. And, although the hotel cannot take credit for these, each room has been created in devoted service of the natural beauty of the island. Slowly, the sun drops into the ocean, bathing the whitewashed walls in a golden gloaming. As the day fades below the water’s edge, lights from the nearby town of Oia flicker on, illuminating this clifftop paradise. Beautifully conceived for convenience, comfort and luxury, perfectly integrated into one of nature’s finest locations, the Ikies Traditional Houses are like a finely carved jewel in a Mediterranean setting.


savourez la diffĂŠrence

Corniche an-Nahr 01/584 222

Hamra 01/343 335

Jnah 01/820 338


I n t e r v i e w b y : A l e x M a r a s h i a n , anot h e r maga z in e P h o t o s b y : B r u c e W e b e r f o r d e don

BEST KNOWN FOR HIS TIMELESS IMAGERY FOR THE LIKES OF RALPH LAUREN, CALVIN KLEIN, VERSACE AND ABERCROMBIE & FITCH, THE LEGENDARY FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER BRUCE WEBER SPEAKS ABOUT THE DEDON “COMING HOME” CAMPAIGN, HIS FIRST EVER COLLABORATION WITH A FURNITURE COMPANY.


WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THIS SHOOT? I always wanted a tree house when I was growing up, and my parents wouldn’t let me have one. When Alex [Wiederin, the campaign’s art director] first proposed building a tree house, I thought it was a great idea. I finally got to have one, even though it wasn’t in my backyard. WHAT DOES A TREEHOUSE SAY ABOUT DEDON? I thought it related a lot to getting closer to nature and therefore was a novel idea for furniture. I NOTICED THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON AMONG THE PROPS AND

WAS TOLD IT CAME FROM YOUR PERSONAL BOOK COLLECTION. Growing up, I read and re-read an old edition of the Swiss Family Robinson. I loved the escapist value, and the idea that the whole family could be so close and enjoy each other’s company so much. HOW DID YOU CONCEIVE OF THE VARIOUS SCENARIOS THAT PLAYED OUT ON THE DIFFERENT PLATFORMS OF THE TREEHOUSE? Once Alex and I decided on the theme of a family living in a tree house, that’s when the casting became very important: We wanted to show family and friends living and playing together in a place that was open and comfortable.


WHAT WAS IT LIKE SHOOTING A CAMPAIGN FOR A FURNITURE BRAND? HOW DID THE FURNITURE INFLUENCE THE SHOOT? My father was in the furniture business, so I have a long history of looking at it and thinking about the important role it has in our everyday life. The great thing about the furniture you pick for your porch, your home, your barn or your tree house is that it says a little bit about who you are. I wanted to show that when you move from place to place in your life, it’s the furniture that goes with you. WHAT WAS YOUR APPROACH TO THE STYLING? I don’t like to over plan the way I see photographs. I prefer to dip my foot in the pool and feel the temperature of the water first. I wanted to dress people who had a life at home and didn’t need to run out to a nightclub. The most amazing thing for me was when I met Bobby and the people from Dedon, I could imagine them all living in this tree house and having the time of their lives.


As the seasons come and go, one thing remains the same: Milan’s Salone del Mobile reigns as the undisputed hotspot for the next big thing in design. Le Cercle checks out some of this and previous year’s star pieces.

Milan

The World according to


When trend forecasters and big companies want to have their finger on the pulse of the next big thing in design, they head for Salone Satellite. Located a 20-minute walk away from the main Salone, this is where emerging and less-established designers get to showcase their products and fresh ideas.

On t he edge


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This console from Maxalto is part of the Eracle Collection, which focuses on multipurpose storage units in different sizes. The exteriors are characterized by simplicity, while the interior offers up an unexpected red lacquer exuding a graceful Eastern sophistication.

Patricia Urquiola’s Bend sofa for B&B Italia is the one thousandth product to carry the brand’s name. While paying homage to B&B Italia’s very first sofa – the 1966 Coronado by Afra & Tobia Scarpa, it simultaneously embraces a contemporary vibe, blending curves with monolithic forms to achieve a sculptural aesthetic.

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and 1 Soft sculptured Following in the footsteps of his Grande Papilio, Naoto Fukasaw has designed the Piccola Papilio for B&B Italia. This is essentially a smaller version of the butterfly inspired chair, which relies on simplicity and luxurious comfort to make an iconic design statement.

3 Taking flight


.P HOTOGRAP HER MAARTEN VAN HOUTEN COP YR IGH T M O O O I B.V

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5 B uilding sight In this Freshwest design for Moooi, Far East bamboo scaffolding provides the inspiration for a carefully constructed lamp. Titled Brave New World, its oak frame incorporates two special weights made from cast iron, as well as a simple red cord to operate it.

4 Back in time Slovenian Nika Zupanc is a young creative tipped for a stellar career in design. With its rose patterned aesthetic, her 5 o’clock chair for Moooi conjures up memories of retro furniture and English porcelain. The chair is part of a set that includes a small table.

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Who wouldn’t want a horse to light up their home? Such is the tongue-in-cheek question proffered by Moooi for what has become one of its most recognizable and iconic pieces. Designed by Front for the Dutch brand, it comprises a metal frame structure, polyester horse and PVC viscose laminate shade. As Moooi also states, this is “furniture to fall in love with at first sight or hate forever”.

6 Horse play


Summer brings with it myriad reasons to turn up the heat and take style outdoors.

garden

Down in the


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With the Ivy Collection for Emu, Paola Navoni takes a hard metal and molds it into forms that appear light and airy. Nature lies at the heart of this outdoor collection, with inspiration derived from the art of topiary: the pruning of trees and bushes to achieve a man-made sculpture.

1 Lighte n up

Architect Carlo Colombo’s Intrecci line is a suite of outdoor furniture designed for Emu. The classic metal weaving is given a new twist and pays a fitting tribute to the company’s technical prowess. The line of armchairs, sofas, poufs and tables is composed of simple lines which give way to more complex detailing, a contrast that captures attention with its resolutely fresh appeal.

& 2 Intrigue intricacy


Coinciding with celebrations for its 20th anniversary, Fendi Casa has launched Fendi Outdoor, the first outdoor collection signed by an international fashion brand. The collection features modular sofas and armchairs, chaise longues and sunbeds, tables and coffee tables, many of which are distinguished by their handmade woven frame. From yacht to sundeck, balcony or garden, Fendi is definitely putting the style into outdoor summers this year.

Fashion goe s outdoors


The unique 100% aluminium Kitchen

Cinqueterre design Vico Magistretti www.schiffini.it

Welcome to my Kitchen


An artful collaboration A comfortable seat lifted from the ground by a simple, fine structure is the creation of a harmonious union Words by:

D e r e k

I s s a c s

t is not the first time that French designer Inga Sempé has designed for contemporary design brand Ligne Roset. Sempé’s initial design, the Moel in 2007, was an ‘all foam’ family of seating. Her second and most recent design took inspiration from the common garden tubular summertime swing seats. The structure of the settee, entitled Ruché, is solid beech, stained or natural and combines rigidity and flexibility, with airy looks and sparing use of materials. Resting on the slim legs is a chunky mattress with distinctive quilting, where a kind of

boutis stitch or padding has been utilized. The padding is flattened in sections by the stitches then released. The fabric curls in places, which gives it its unique appearance and reference to its name, Ruché. With its slender and fine design and the sense of the traditional and the unusual it is easy to see how such a design piece bonds with that of contemporary design brand Ligne Roset. With that said, Le Cercle put a series of questions to both Michel Roset from Lignet Roset and the designer herself Inga Sempé in an attempt to uncover Ruché‘s design process.


MichelRoset How did this collaboration occur? Who approached who? How did you feel about the collaboration?  In the framework of my work, it is usual for me to meet juries of design school, students, young designers, teachers and directors of design schools and it could be also combined with my responsibilities at the VIA. This is how I met Inga, who has an authentic, pure, and strong personality. When people are meeting in this world of design, approaches are mutual and common. To this day, our collaboration is an example of success both in human terms, in terms of artistic creativity, personal and professional recognition for our products and also in terms of future partnerships. Please tell me the exact materials used and why you used such materials?  When Inga proposed the first sketches, the artistic direction and the design were very different and far from the kind of products editing in the contemporary furniture market. On the other hand, the rigor and the purity of the sketches, the straight and perpendicular lines of the drawings, could have been frightening in terms of comfort and sensuality in general. Inga, with the collaboration of the products’ development team of Roset SA, has imagined a new and amazing type of comfort with new types of foams, elastic straps, and a complex sandwich of padded and quilted foam, which seems contrary when viewing the product for the first time. This entire common project represents hours of work and a step-by-step approach. When designing the settee, for what kind of space did you most probably hope it would be engaging?  In my mind and my way of developing products, things just do not work that way. First of all, the desire and the pleasure to develop and build together in close collaboration with the ‘prototypists’ a real representation of the sketches are what have led me. And it is only at the end of the creative and artistic process that we start to imagine with the close collaboration of the marketing department the positioning of the product in terms of functions, and in terms of its own place in the house, in this case especially the living room and the bedroom.


IngaSempé You say the Ruché was inspired by the metal tubular garden swing chair. On that note, why then did you decide to change the framework to natural wood?  Inspired doesn’t mean copied. When I drew the first sketches of Ruché, the tubular swinging chairs were not at all in my mind. When I built a first model scale 1/10 the swinging chairs of my childhood came to mind, but that’s all. It is not to be thought of deeper than that. The uniformed wooden frame of the settee is at odds with the softness of the mattress. What was the rationale behind such a concept?   There is no rational reason to be given. Design is not solving a mathematical problem; it can have some logical aspects, but some are not. In an irrational way, I wanted to give contrast between the softness of the mattress and the thin lines of the settee. Intuition is really important in design. Could you describe the design process in depth and the input of roles from both partners of the project?

 Initial input was given by Michel Roset, who asked me to design a second sofa (after “Moel” designed in 2007). I just really wanted to design a sofa very different from the previous one. After researching and drawing, I sent him some pictures made of small models of a sofa made with a light structure and a mattress. After weeks of thinking, hesitating, Michel Roset said let’s go and try to build a first prototype scale model. Then commenced a long period of work with Cédric Ballot, who is the head of the prototype laboratory, and where I visited ten times to see different prototypes and their evolution. Every time I visited, I had in mind my views to improve the prototype, combined by the know-how of Cédric Ballot, and the views of Michel Roset. I trusted them both, so it was a good work in progress, even if at times I felt desperate because I was unsure how to improve it, and wanted to stop it. How well did you and Michel Roset work together?  Within my design work, it has happened that I have had to fight with some people to keep my ideas. But with Michel Roset, and Cédric Ballot, it was just conversations about how we

could create things, what we would change, and why. It is nice to work with people you trust and who trust you and allow you to be free. What conflicts arose and how were the conflicts solved, if any?  As discussed previously, we had no conflict but plenty of discussions. I wanted the structure to be available in natural wood. In order for this choice to be accepted, I wrote a long text to explain why I thought such a choice was necessary. On what strengths did you and Michel Roset draw upon in order to produce the design itself? For this sofa, we never had in mind the idea to create a hyper commercial sofa. Our aim was to create an interesting sofa that, possibly, no one would actually like; a sofa that would be sold in about 5 years, considering that people would probably need that amount of time to become accustomed to its quite strange structure. However, it was our combined strength of will and originality that has driven Michel Roset and me.


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Any Way theWind Blows W o r d s

b y :

D e r e k

I s s a c s

Renowned Lebanese photographer captures global faces of many lives


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t has been a long time since internationally renowned photographer Roger Moukarzel shot his first image using his brother’s camera near their home village of Bayt Chebab, Lebanon. Yet since that day back in the mid 1970s when he was a mere 12 years of age, Moukarzel’s impressive résumé reveals his passion for photography has failed to wane. A recent exhibition at Galerie Alice Mogabgab, Beirut entitled Vents d’Est, Vents d Ouest, a retrospective of Moukarzel’s work, is undoubtedly an accolade to his photographic skills. Yet the images exhibited simultaneously reveal his passion for people, and, in his own words, life. Through approximately 60 images, the exhibition showcased a journey of Moukarzel’s life. While some images were shot in Lebanon, many were shot beyond its borders in such countries and regions as Iran, Turkey, the Arab Gulf region, North Africa and South Asia. The collection is a result of Moukarzel’s walkabouts during free time on commissioned photo shoots. “I walked around early mornings; people caught my eye.” confided Moukarzel. Though the images portray a journey in the photographer’s life, it was gallery owner Alice Mogabgab who had the difficult yet enviable task of helping Moukarzel select a mere 60 images for the exhibition from a wealth of photographs. “They are not all the images that I would have personally chosen,” confesses Moukarzel. “But Alice brought the exhibition to fruition; I respect that.” Moukarzel’s first rung on the photography career ladder was as photojournalist. His early years were marked out by his ability to capture the rollercoaster of emotions yielded by Lebanon’s civil war and transpose them into images which were subsequently transported globally via Reuters news agency. His portfolio also includes glamour too. With such celebrities as German


beauty icon and model Claudia Schiffer coming under the gaze of Moukarzel’s lens, not to mention a plethora of other actors and artists, it is unsurprising that his work was earmarked for international publications such as ELLE magazine. His work in fields as diverse as portraits, fashion, advertising, architecture has earned him numerous awards in the sphere of advertising too. His Beirut studio office in the successful Minime production company in Beirut Karatina quarter has on display a magnificent collection of used cameras. “Most are cameras that I have worked with during my life,” Moukarzel reveals. “When I see the cameras it translates into many lives to me.” The older cameras are, as you would expect, non digital. Moukarzel readily admits to enjoying working with both digital and non digital cameras yet he offers the pros and cons on digital camera usage. “You are able to see the image shot immediately. Basically, you shoot more and concentrate less.” And for the burning question on most budding amateur photographers’ minds: Does a digital camera create a great photographer? “Everyone asks me that,” he says laughing. “No. It makes everyone take pictures only.” For more information visit www.rogermoukarzel.com


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BEIRU T , AN N AH AR BL D G, D OWN T OWN MARTYR SQUARE

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Lara Khoury Words by: Maya Khourchid

A fashion designer with a cool take on the weather


cross from Le Chef restaurant on Gemmayzeh’s main Rue Gourand, lies a non-descript building. There are hardly any names on the buzzers to identify the tenants, and even armed with meticulous directions it is easy to miss Lara Khoury’s atelier on the third floor. But conceptbased to the core, this is the way that the new yet hardly nascent designer likes it. “I wanted it to be an underground place that not everyone can get to,” she says sitting behind the desk of her airy loft-style open plan office, workshop and boutique, later adding; “I wanted to give the privilege to the clients, the kind of luxury that they’re my clients, my people, my place; I’m very intimate and I always like to build relationships.” Opened in March, the atelier displays her first namesake collection and demonstrates the name she has built for herself. Although only 25, Khoury’s resume and reputation are peppered with some of the strongest local names in the international fashion scene. During her first year at the ESMOD fashion school in 2003 she interned with famed local designer Rabih Keyrouz, then just after her 2006 graduation she went on to work with Elie Saab. After around a year, she came to see that the iconic fashion-house’s style was intrinsically different from her own and decided to leave to begin her own brand. Khoury launched ILK in 2007, and was picked up as part of the inaugural collection of the Starch boutique - created by her former mentor Keyrouz and dedicated to cultivating young local designers. After three seasons at the trendy Saifi outlet, it was again time for a change. “ILK was more of an experimental thing, I was really discovering my identity and fashion when I finally found myself, I decided to change the name and go for Lara Khoury,” she explains. To design her workspace and atelier she collaborated with yet another well-known name in the regional arts scene - Cynthia Zaven, art director of Nadine Labaki’s critically acclaimed film Caramel.

Together, they designed the loft to channel an affection and perception of Beirut. The parquet floors are partly composed of traditional doors and her designs are displayed on hangers that can be moved to and from several dangling chains. “In this space everything moves and goes up and down and everything changes. And this change is compared to the life of Lebanese in Beirut and how life changes every day,” she explains. The concept-based layout is but a prelude to the studied thought processes that precede her first collection. “I wanted to have a message in my collections because that is the only way I could really express myself and I talked about how global warming changes the life of many people without them even noticing it getting hotter and hotter and needing to wear things that are lighter,” she said. As a result her Winter 2010 collection is a study of applying summer to the colder months. Where thicker winter materials such as wool are used, the designs tend towards thigh-high hemlines and the reverse is present as well; summer fabrics applied to traditional winter styles such as jackets. More interested in the architecture and volume of garments than color, her prototypes come in a solely neutral palette; whites, blacks, grays and beiges abound. But the designer concedes that well-thought out designs do not necessarily indicate wearability or forecast sales. In fact, most of her income comes from customized designs as per clients’ requests. At the back of her workspace hangs a near perfect illustration: the ankle length dress with lace appliqués was originally designed in beige, this version has instead been tinted a deep blue as per the whims of a client. “Fifty percent is not wearable. I work conceptually, I think of what I want to create,” she explains. The pieces that do not sell well are archived, a thought that hardly depresses Khalil. Quite the contrary; “The best pieces ever become archives – the best pieces ever,” she says with a smile.


Cadence sofa Design Hans Hopfer.


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Dressing for the

newage Words

by:

Dan

Bratman

Christian Siriano knows what women wants and delivers it in style harp angles on top of soft, feminine curves, strong colors, bold shapes. These are the hallmarks of designer Christian Siriano. The fashion world is full of dime-a-dozen defiance, but Christian has brought something more than the youthful exuberance of his generation. He has brought a sense of art and the power of the woman who wears it. His aim is to make beautiful clothes, yes - but with that; he brings out an intrinsic strength. His stunning, unexpected colors and angular shapes accentuate the woman beneath it. Today, to be a woman is a complex thing. Along with traditional values of femininity, now there are the expectations of competing in a man’s world. With the chance to show the strength and power required to succeed, a woman now has the opportunity to evolve past her previous cultural limitations. It is a complex conundrum, but one Christian Siriano seems to have captured in his designs - a strong, yet imminently feminine image. Through shape, color, fabric and attitude, he has captured the imagination of the modern woman. Victoria Beckham,

Pink, Lady GaGa, to name a few have chosen him to design their gowns. Starting his career as an intern with punk icon Vivienne Westwood, Christian is no stranger to original thinking. As a child, he found a passion for dance and theater. From these dreamy imaginings, he began to create his first designs. He brought his love of color and drama to life, using the female form as his canvas. Emboldened by the response of his earlier dresses, Christian moved forward, eventually gaining critical and popular acclaim during his appearance on the television show Project Runway. Upon winning the show’s competition, he received the exposure and financing needed to start his first true line of designs. And he’s never looked back. Beautiful, new, often controversial, Christian Siriano uses a diverse palette of color, line and fabric to represent the woman of our times. She is bold, strong, fun and elegant, losing nothing in the pursuit of her dreams. She is the woman who wants everything. And she is dressed in Christian Siriano.


inbeirut DINNERINTHESKY

LondonCalling

LaMartina

A dinner event that is more than just pie in the sky.

A new mode of transport hits the Beirut streets.

Argentinean outfitter arrives in style.

We all know the Lebanese love their food and it seems now that they will go to any lengths to eat it too. A concept that began in Belgium and which has been seen in other global locations is now here in Beirut. This unique and elevated dining experience takes dinner parties to a fantastic, if scary, new level in every way. Thanks to Lebanese businessman Alfred Asseily of Beirut’s La Table D’Alfred and Capital A and of course courtesy of a massive crane and fancy German engineering, guests can be wined and dined while safely floating 60 metres above Beirut. According to Alfred Asseily the cost of such a dinner and the leasing of the facility is determined by the event itself. The 22-seater platform can be customized by the customers and is generally available for sessions of eight hours at a time, and could cost around $15,000. As for the location, the crane can be installed on the client’s property; otherwise, a choice spot, such as at BIEL, can be chosen by the organizer. Dinner parties, launching event or a VIP business meeting, if one thing is certain, Dinner in the Sky will certainly impress.

Most tourists come to Lebanon to discover its natural beauty and ancient historical sites. The last thing they will be expecting to see is one of England’s old relics. Yet for anyone visiting Beirut this summer that is exactly what they will see. The famous London black cabs, or Hackney carriages as they are known officially, are here in Lebanon’s capital. Reputed as giving the best taxi service in all of Britain’s cities and towns, the stylish and distinctive black cabs now hurtle around the Lebanese capital offering customers here the same superb service. Despite the name black cabs, the livery of the cabs is in an assortment of colours. The National New Dawn Company, the London Taxi’s sole agent in Lebanon, has imported the latest model TX4 to Beirut. This hi-tech version is fully equipped with an LCD screen, Wi-Fi internet, and includes a unique Credit Card payment facility (regardless of journey length) as well as a ramp for wheelchair users and people with special needs.

Just in time for the high-fashion summer season that defines upper crust Beirut, local style mavens have a new location to satisfy cravings for that timeless warm-weather wardrobe staple, the polo shirt. A chic boutique stocking the full range of premiere Argentinean polo brand La Martina recently opened up in an even chicer area; downtown Beirut. Nestled in the Karagulla building at the heart of the Central Beirut Grand Hotels District luxury retail area, La Martina brings the world of simple yet sophisticated South American equestrianism to the Mediterranean. Hardly jumping on the recent poloshirt bandwagon, La Martina products are all designed with the actual game of polo in mind. In fact, the company sponsors several international polo tournaments across the world. Sticking to this tradition most of La Martina designs are based on vintage tried-but-true prototypes catering to men, women and children. Aside from the polo t-shirts for which the brand is most renowned, sport jackets, perfumes and a host of leather items from boots to belts are also available. Particular attention is paid to crafting the leather goods; the threading is done by hand.

Derek Issacs

Derek Issacs

Maya Khourchid

T 70.748.494

T

09 . 854 . 370 / 09 . 854 . 360

T 01.994.747


Kotobus

AwanTeaHouse

LesVilains

Reading takes to the roads of Lebanon again.

A new tea concept comes just at the right moment.

A global taste of ancient meets modern.

An interesting concept kicked off in the capital city and its suburbs a few years back; a mobile library equipped with hundreds of books aimed at youngreaders. Combining ‘Kotob’, the Arabic word for ‘book’, with the English noun for the roaming library’s means of transport, the initiative is known as Kotobus. With a third run of the ‘Kotobus’ slated for this year, the roaming library moves forward with a collection of around 1,500 books and documents in tow and coordinated pit-stops and activities planned at a multitude of public schools through out the city. The books are available in all three of the trilingual country’s languages and the literary offerings selected so as to appeal to a wide age-range of school children. A collaborative effort of a host of offices including the Municipality of Beirut, the Conseil Régional d’Ile-de-France, UNESCO regional office, and the Anna Lindh Foundation, the primary organizer is Assabil – a local NGO was founded in 1997 to promote free and public libraries in Lebanon. Kotobus will be making prearranged school visits from Monday to Thursdays, while on Fridays it is open to the public from 9am- 2pm.

Created by a group of tea aficionados looking to share their passion and build a quality Lebanese brand of teas, Awan debuted on the local market last summer at the annual Faqra festival and since then has swiftly grown. The Awan Tea House opened this March on Adib Ishac street just opposite the ABC Achrafieh mall, and the teas are now also served at numerous Beirut cafes, bars and restaurants including Balima café in Saifi village, Gou in Tabaris and the Palm Beach Hotel that offers a sea-front view of the Raouche Corniche. The name is a unique Arabic word for “the right moment”, according to Managing Director Myriam Heneine, and the 2010 selection offers a range of 63 teas of various types and grades to suit all tastes as well as a choice of practical and original accessories. “We are not limiting our selves to tea products, we also want to present the information that goes with tea consumption and the enjoyment associated with it, for example the colors of the labels represent the real color of the tea infusion, it gives information about the tea itself, origin, taste, flavor, infusion time and water temperature,” explained Heneine. At the boutique, customer’s selections are packed on the spot, as it is custom in quality teashops worldwide. Gift or discovery bundles are available year-round and tea workshops are also in the making.

A new contender arrived on the Beirut restaurant scene with the opening of Les Villains on Baroudi Street in the heart of the quaint Achrafieh district last December. The eclectic eatery seats 45 and Chef Andre Abdelmassih presides over the kitchen with a menu described as traditional but flecked with global infusions; dishes are drawn from the culinary traditions of Peru to Morocco, India and France to name a few and the wine list is equally interesting. The pricing may well be modest, an average $30 for lunch and $40 for dinner according to the proprietors, but the design and décor are anything but. Setting up shop in a traditional Lebanese house, the past is smoothly mixed with the contemporary. Antiquated details include the mosaic flooring, antique mirrors scattered behind the bar, refurbished cupboards and an old ladder hung on the wall. The lighting is instead quintessentially modern, and the combination of old and new all comes together to create an eclectically comfortable ambiance. Certainly different and inevitably delectable, this restaurant differentiates itself by seamlessly uniting patron’s culinary and aesthetic expectations.

Maya Khourchid

Maya Khourchid

Maya Khourchid T 01.664.667

T 01.216.592

T 01.323.532


Egg Geisha based on the Egg Vase by Marcel Wanders, photography & concept by Marcel Wanders & Erwin Olaf


Smoker Man based on the Smoke serie by Maarten Baas, photography & concept by Marcel Wanders & Erwin Olaf


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Dynamic, sensual and sumptuous at the same time, Rio de Janeiro – known more affectionately as Rio – shows off its splendor in its beaches, skyscrapers, cocktails and celebrations. It is a mix of warm sun, colorful costumes, intoxicating music and beautiful people that exude allure.


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TheSamba

Fiesta

More than a popular song and dance, the Samba represents the deep soul of Brazil and the roots of the mixed race of people at its heart. Samba is a style of music which comes from a fusion of African and Portuguese rhythms. The word Samba originates from the Angolan ‘Semba’ or ‘Mesemba’. This term has different meanings in the Bantu language, such as ‘pray’, ‘invoke’, or ‘moan’ as in the Blues. But there is also another side to the meaning of Samba, reflected more in terms such as ‘navel against navel’ and ‘dancing with joy’, definitions that characterize this dance perfectly.

Each year, the Carnival takes place over four days and three nights. It is considered the ultimate people’s fiesta and national event of the ‘Cariocas’ (natives of Rio), who converge in the city to celebrate. Samba schools exhibit their expertise at the Sambadrome built in the 80s especially for the Carnival. Their dancers are dressed in amazing, multi-colored costumes covered in shiny studs and sequins, with each school competing to be voted the ‘Blue Queen’ of the carnival.

Culture

MuseudeArteModerna This museum is a fine example of modern architecture by Alfonso Reidy, including the original cement walkway in front of it, and features gardens by Burle Marx. The edifice was built between 1957 and 1967, and hosts an important collection of Brazilian modern art. Ask about the temporary exhibitions while you are there. Address: Av Infante D. Henrique 85 Tel: (21) 2240.4944. Open from Tuesday to Friday between 12 pm and 6 pm, and on weekends between 1 pm and 7 pm.


Hotels

Copacabana Palace Lying on the renowned Copacabana beach, the Copacabana Palace is arguably the most famous hotel in South America. Since 1923, the hotel has housed famous personalities and the well-to-do. Just take a look at the Golden Book of the hotel to understand the property’s high standing among the finest in the world. The utterly glamorous decor, imprinted with the nostalgia of a bygone era, contrasts nicely with the stunning beauty of the surrounding nature. There are only a handful of hotels around the world that embody the glamour of a city and are a living example of its past; the Copacabana Palace is certainly one of these.

La Maison This gem of a hotel has only five rooms and is run by a Frenchman who is fascinated by Brazil. Situated at the upper end of the chic residential quarter of Gavea, the property affords a spectacular view of the city. Each room boasts a unique decor based on the world’s geography, such as the Americas, India, Asia, etc. and comes with a private terrace or patio. There’s a personalized feel to the whole hotel experience: at La Maison you’ll be taken care of by Francois, Xavier, Jacques and Rodrigo, the hotel concierges whose tips and recommendations are guaranteed to make you fall in love with Rio.


PARK VIEW BUILDING, BOULEVARD DU PARC - BEIRUT T. +961 1 99 21 16 CHARLES MALEK AVE., ELLIPSE CENTER - ASHRAFIEH, LEBANON T. +961 1 20 00 01 W W W. W S A L A M O O N . C O M


www.porschebeirut.com

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


Le Cercle # 4