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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 Product design 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 Publisher: 60 City News Privilege 61 62 on behalf of Le Cercle Hitti 63 64 65 Editor in Chief : 66 67 Anastasia Cassandra Nysten 68 69 In Beirut 70 Managing Editor: 71 Helen Assaf 72 73 74 Graphic Design: 75 Fashion 76 Genia Kodash 77 78 79 Printer: 80 81 RAIDY | 82 83 84 Contributors: 85 Dan Bratman 86 87 Derek Issacs 88 89 Natalie Jarudi Art & Culture 90 91 Maya Khourchid 92 93 Advertising: 94 95 96 97 t: +961 3 852 899 98 99 Travel & Events 100 Cover illustration by 101 102 Yasmina Alexandra Nysten, 103 inspired by 104

There’s nothing quite as heartwarming as a winter’s tale. As the temperatures plummet, this issue of Le Cercle invites you to step inside from the bitter weather and join us for a glowing tribute to the chilliest season of them all. It may be freezing outside but we like to think the selection of features that we’ve lined up will bring plenty of “cold comfort”. When it comes to conceiving iconic designs, over the years the cool climes of Scandinavia have proved particularly fertile. We delve into the stories behind some of the most famous Nordic heroes, while also stopping off in Helsinki and Lapland to check out the hottest addresses with an artistic vibe. Dramatic vistas of fjords and snow-covered mountains that have inspired architectural triumphs are also part of our editorial landscape. And we manage to explore a story of ice and fire – the mysterious fate of Marie Antoinette’s diamond necklace – before departing from Finland’s shores. Back in Beirut, the pure lines of a white arguileh and pristine sculptural silhouette of a wedding gown continue our winter-hued palette of tales. We also visit the hippest hotspots in Lebanon’s capital this season and, as ever, Le Cercle Hitti’s coolest ‘Colorblind’ Mathiole objects of desire.

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A New York Frame of Mind Words by:

D e r e k

Copyright©SOMA Architecture Rendering: DUCKRAID

I s s a c s

eferring to his initial steps into the realms of architecture, Michel Abboud’s response sits at odds with the reality of his success as an avant-garde New York architect. “Actually, it was never meant to happen.” New York’s fashionable Soho district, home to architect Michel Abboud, is also the prime location for his architecture company headquarters SOMA. An indication, in fact, that, indeed, it did happen. Aloft an historical building, the SOMA team of architects and designers are immersed in an all-white environment, individually stationed in cocoon-like workstations where, according to Abboud, “they get lost in cyberspace, their fingers dipped in the electronic haze of their keyboards.” The result is an extensive portfolio of projects that transcends New York City to seven US States and beyond the country’s southern borders. No mean feat for someone who quit the architecture course at the American University of Beirut. “I hated it. I contemplated moving overseas to Paris, to attend the Beaux-Arts school.” But love persuaded him otherwise: the love for a girl on the same course. Throughout the remainder of university, Abboud found solace in his Art. He began to produce a multitude of paintings, sculptures, installations and performances, exhibiting at bomb sites left over from the Civil War across Downtown – the Dome, the Theatre Grande. “It was at this time I created four to five large installations that were architectural,” says Abboud. “They were meaningful. They dealt with space and were beyond just function.” It was from such concepts that he began to discover and evolve his own ideas of architecture. “A lot of architecture had become pure aesthetics. It had lost its true meaning; its power to transpose

or simply make one feel.” Abboud’s newfound goal was to try to create meaningful architecture, “architecture that would provoke a reaction, evoke an emotion,” he explains. New York’s University of Columbia, where Abboud earned his Masters in Advanced Architectural Design, taught him to further think outside of the box. Completing his first project – a house in New York’s Brooklyn district – Abboud went on to combine two apartments in order to create one 40th storey penthouse complete with 360 degree views of the city and overlooking Central Park. Abboud’s reputation for creating something different, something new, rapidly spread. Further projects followed - boutique hotels, high-end residential and unique commercial projects in sought-after Manhattan districts. With further projects in Costa Rica such as a high-end eco-village of 30 houses complete with a luxury hotel and spa, SOMA expanded and opened new offices in Mexico City in 2006. Further expansion to the Middle East saw an office open in early 2009 in Beirut. “It was a strategic decision,” says Abboud, a decision to “infuse fresh blood in my home country, but also play a role in the shaping of its identity.” “Clients approach SOMA because they seek difference. Architectural design can be described as the process of problem solving. There are many ways to resolve any given problem, but surely there are different solutions. My clients know I will always look for that “other” solution and that I will not rest till I find it, regardless of the effort. They know I am defiant. I will not make concessions and settle for a middle ground at the expense of the project. Clients respect me for that,” Abboud concluded.

16:90 Responding to strong and specific data, project 16:90, 12 mountain residences, purposefully takes into consideration the cultural heritage in which it is set. Situated at the gateway to Faqra Club on a 20m sloping terrain with stupendous views of a valley, and, at some points, of the Mediterranean, the project utilises a system that has been tried and tested over hundreds of years when dealing with steep mountainside slopes: steppe, or terrace farming techniques. “It seemed like a natural solution to glide a 20 metre slope into four terraces and follow the curvature of the topography,” explains Abboud. At one point, more archeologist than architect, the mass of

land is carved out to unveil the natural architecture beneath. “It is as if the project has always been there,” he says. Layers of dirt are removed until the required spaces are carved out in order to retrieve ventilation, daylight, and views. Building on a radial system with a single point of origin, the system itself is utilised as a matrix to guide the design process. “We started by stepping the terrain using a system of concentric lines extracted from the site topography. We then drew a series of radial stripes emanating from the same point of origin, like lines of sight from a single vantage point. The overlap of both operations resulted in a matrix that directed the physical implementation of each house

structure, guided the carve-out of their massing, and even laid out their interior partitioning. Thus the project was born.” Constructed from raw local stone, the technique ensures that each of the 12 units is afforded unobstructed views from any vantage point within the unit, be it the pool, the garden, the bedroom, the lounge, and so on. This is a consequence of the unique striping system, which also results in perfect alignments between interior and exterior spaces. “This is what I am proud of the most,” says Abboud. “To be able to come up with one unifying system, or matrix, that unites landscaping, architectural and interior design to be done in one operation by one person.”

Aqua Dome The reflective spherical construction hovering on the Caspian Sea at the foot of a 420 metre pier in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, is more than just an iconic landmark. A project drawn up on request of the country’s president, it surprisingly doubles up as a water treatment plant and a caviar farm too. The Caspian Sea, once the globe’s number one producer of caviar, is now among one of the most polluted seas in the world, drastically reducing the production of caviar. Pulling water through its filter system, the polluted water is treated then deposited back in a pool where sturgeon is bred for caviar. Inside the sphere is a bar from which caviar is served to diners. The sphere itself, like a gigantic mirror ball, is coated by transparent yet reflective foil upon which the recycled water glides down. At night, interior lights exposed by the structures transparency transform the structure into what could uniquely be described as the moon hovering on the horizon.

Copyright © SOMA Architecture Rendering: DUCKRAID

Copyright © SOMA Architecture Rendering: DUCKRAID

King’s Road Mall The harsh Saudi Arabian climate has seemingly dictated that its people be incarcerated in a juxtaposition of empty climatically controlled containers, or, in other words, the mundane mall. Until, that is, the King’s Road Mall was forged. This massive 40,000m2 building covers a whole block on one of Jeddah’s main artery, with a dense programme of various retail stores, restaurants, leasable offices, a gas station, two department stores and even a mosque. Curvilinear forms containing all the retail

functions create a hovering vision of an urban environment: streets, blocks, plazas, and promenades, all lined with retail units. A truly green project, the sustainable structure is self-ventilated and surprisingly requires no air conditioning within the public spaces. The raised structure channels natural ventilation through the building’s underbelly into a series of atriums, mixes with the cooled air of the retail units, then sweeps up the accumulated hot air and propels it out from

operable skylight (stack effect). The building was wrapped in a double skin of low-e glass, and an outer layer of metallic mesh, truly reflecting the reinterpretation of the Masharabia, and providing increased insulation and cooling. The media visage with LEDs embedded into it creates a spectacular video image overlaid onto the building’s 200m long facade which, coupled with the structure itself, makes for an impressive sight.

Naya Looking to infuse architectural interior design into a Lebanese restaurant in New York, architect Michel Abboud seemed the obvious choice. But on what was probably the most challenging space in New York City, he was unsure if he could rise to the challenge. At just 3 metres wide and 35 metres in length, it was the worst possible space for a restaurant. Crooked walls and a complete lack of windows added further constraints. After much deliberation, Abboud employed a simple solution. “When I am faced with constraints that limit my results, I reinforce those constraints. It is a solution I apply to all challenging projects.” Abboud’s answer was to create an even longer and even narrower space than was already in place. The result was like an illusion. It appeared to lengthen the space beyond the perimeters of the original structure. Dining seats and tables hugged the crooked walls on both sides of the restaurant, yet remained perfectly aligned along the central and only corridor. The walls were clad with a double skin, consisting of an internal layer of backlit polycarbonate, and an outer layer of powder coated white aluminum sheets, which were perforated using a custom pattern designed specifically for the project and using the basic cuneiform letter of the Phoenician alphabet. “Culturally speaking,” explains Abboud, “the design honored its Lebanese origins.” Copyright © SOMA Architecture

Annex 1

Copyright © SOMA Architecture

Taking the concept of the New York Loft apartment in the true sense of the word, Abboud manages to import it to the coast of Lebanon in this unique seaside home. Using a virtual knife to carve out a plane from the earth and raise it as if were annullable skin, he then cleverly inserts all the living functions directly underneath in the form of an open-floor plan with no partitions. Skylights are then worked into the project by strategically puncturing the hard concrete shell to allow for extra natural lighting. The result is a perfectly protected, but totally open interior space. The only wall in this house is its “convertible” façade, a double skin of folding glass and wooden mechanical louvers that can be activated with the push of a button to literally unwrap the whole house to the magnificent vistas of the sea, beach and horizon.

Nature First, Architecture Second:

TheAurland Words by:

N a t a l i e Words:

J a r u d i

H e l e n

A s s a f


0 R1 47

130 59



Above: Plans for the prize-winning project. Facing page: The finished lookout.

n a world where concrete, glass and steel have dominated the natural landscape, a new trend seeks to find balance between nature and architecture. It certainly has been the guiding philosophy for Canadian architect Todd Saunders whose architectural convictions suggest that designs should be “uncompromising, original and respect the landscape”. His Aurland Lookout project, produced in partnership with Norwegian architect Tommie Wilmhelmsen, has totally re-thought the relationship between architecture and the environment, winning a design competition for scenic rest stops held by the Norway Highway Authority. The rules of the competition were clear: design a scenic rest stop and attract tourism to an area in Norway known for its dramatic natural beauty. Saunders and Wilhelmsen (then in partnership and now operating in separate firms) faced lush pine forests, snow-capped mountains and serene bodies of water deposited by melting glaciers which date back to the Ice Age. The interpretation of this challenge produced some spectacular results. Heralding a distinctly Nordic design aesthetic, the Aurland Lookout preserves the pristine and serene environment. A woodern curve juts out from the side of the road and plummets 600 metres into earth and water below. The light wooden platform is four metres wide and stretches out 30 metres over the pine trees. It follows a single line with one elbow. Walking down the platform, made from local heattreated wood to form the seamless bend at the end of the structure, the sensation is as if you are skiing off the top of a mountain unaware of what lies beneath you. Walking among the treetops, you reach the end of the platform. A thin piece of glass

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Above and left: Not for the faint-hearted, the Aurland Lookout intentionally creates a sense of vertigo.

separates you from the dizzying depths of Sognfjord, the world’s longest and deepest fjord. The Aurland Lookout is not for the faint of heart. Intentionally creating a sense of vertigo is how Saunders and Wilmhelmsen bring the viewer into contact with nature. You are no longer standing on the side of the road with a camera, instead you are floating on top of a marvellous scene. “When people drive around and see the mountains, they eventually get almost bored,” Saunders says. “We wanted to give them another experience that would put them right out into the air.” What further differentiates the Aurland Lookout is that the parking lot is separated from the viewing platform by a short footpath. The architects have created a total viewing experience. You become one with a structure that can be considered a work of art. “Rather than make picnic tables and cut down trees, we did the opposite,” says Saunders, who is justifiably proud that the new platform did not require the removal of any existing pines. “There’s only one place where the ramp meets the ground,” he adds. Their design imperative was to work in harmony with the landscape, proving that it is possible to build with nature as opposed to on top of it. On your next visit to Norway, make the trip to the Aurland Lookout, challenge your senses and lightly float amongst the trees.

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Reflections on nature Words by: D a n B r a t m a n Photos: Copyright©Tschuggen Hotel Group

he first step is cautious. Suspended in the air, surrounded by a comingling of steel and trees, hills and cement, the long glass pathway stretches out ahead. At the end, awaits the indulgence and comfort of a charmed life. Soon, the old world is left behind and vast open spaces rise, greeting like a forest of force and gravity, natural light flowing from unseen sources. Cliffs of stone curve through quiet pools of limpid warm waters, leading to outdoor terraces and steam covered pools lit like primeval caverns. The Tschuggen Berg Oase Spa, designed by acclaimed Swiss architect Mario Botta, with a passage from hotel to spa by way of a glass and steel bridge, is like a journey into a world of light and mass. Four floors of ultra luxury and personal attention are gently folded into a niche in the mountainside seen from the outside predominantly by the large arching tree-like structures of glass and steel, rising from the hill in a coniferous gesture to the surrounding forests. Completed in 2006, the Bergen Oase Wellness Centre is a recent addition to the Tschuggen Grand Hotel, a five star luxury resort in Arosa, Switzerland. Nestled deep in the mountains surrounding the Schanfigg valley, the hotel offers the finest amenities including newly renovated rooms, each individually designed by renowned Swiss interior designer Carlo Rampazzi. Most of the rooms have a

Facing page: The Spa’s outdoor pool.

Above below and following page: Interior of the Tschuggen Berg Oase Spa.

Right: Exterior of the Spa.

sweeping vista of the surrounding mountains and the services offered are of the caliber one would expect from of one of the finest resorts in Europe. The first level of the new spa contains the state-of-the-art fitness facilities and spaces for guest wardrobes. The second level accommodates the technical areas and treatment spaces: swimming pool technical area, body treatment and beauty cabins, solarium, hairdresser and a shop. The stunningly designed glass bridge leads the guests from the hotel to the third floor opening into the reception, the staff spaces, the wardrobe areas and the “sauna world”, a massive high ceilinged expanse with relaxation area. The top level includes perhaps the most impressive design feat Botta has brought to the spa. The “Water World”— endless curving pools surrounded by the carved walls and slanted cathedral ceilings open onto the outdoor pool and terrace. The spa’s design allows for the top floor to open onto the mountainside where swimmers can glide from the pool onto the sundrenched solarium, an invigorating transition from the warmth of the indoor pool to the bracing winter mountain air.

Mario Botta, the progenitor of this impressive feat of design, is perhaps Switzerland’s most famous architect. A precocious talent, Botta designed and built his first structure, a two family home, at the age of sixteen. Even from this seminal structure, Botta’s aesthetic was clearly established. With imposing space and structure, based on simple geometry, he created unique areas and juxtapositions of the manmade and nature. Botta, a graduate of the Liceo Artistico in Milan and the IUAV in Venice, went on to build his own firm in 1970 in Lugano. Deeply influenced by his one-time mentors, Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, Botta went on to make his own indelible mark in the world of architecture. His buildings, full of awe and gravity, express an understanding of the confluence of man and nature — where they merge and separate — a discourse between the two greatest forces of the universe, in constant exchange and conflict. But Botta is not an apologist. Unlike the more naturalist mode of Frank Lloyd Wright who sought to integrate with nature, many of his buildings seek to ask questions; is man made in harmony or dissonance with nature? How can they

co-exist? The result is awe; the effect, beautiful and timeless. The defining design features of the Bergen Oase Wellness Centre are the artificial tree structures emerging from the mountainside. Botta’s concept was to “Build without building” by using the shape of the grade to guide the internal structure while the “trees” draw attention, respectfully, to the human intervention into the valley. The “trees” also offer an extraordinary source of natural lighting during the day, while providing beacons of artificial light at night heralding the oasis of human interaction in the otherwise unspoiled expanse of nature. Architecture has always sought to separate man from the elements, from the first thatched roof to the immensity of urban infrastructure; it is an art expressing the struggle between civilisation and nature. With the Bergen Oase Wellness Centre, Mario Botta has entered into the fray, not to answer this question with either domination or concession but to acknowledge there is a difference between man and nature, a difference to be celebrated.

A clean break with tradition

PatriciaUrquiola takes the bathroom to a higher realm Words by: Natalie Jarudi

hrough Axor Urquiola, Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola took on the challenge of re-imagining the bathroom environment. The result is a collection of 80 pieces that ultimately blurs the boundary between the bedroom and the bathroom and creates a personal range of products to express diverse needs and lifestyles. The Beirut launch of Axor Urquiola, the exclusive line of spalike products, is the culmination of a partnership between the high-end luxury brand of Hansgrohe, Axor and Patricia Urquiola. In re-conceptualising the use of the bathroom, Axor Urquiola emphasises that the bathroom is a space for relaxation and regeneration; it is the most intimate space of the house and acts as a ‘mirror of our personality’. Whereas recently bathroom design has involved Jacuzzi-like bathtubs and sculptural looking faucets and tubs, the Axor Urquiola collection chooses a different path emphasising comfort, utility and sustainability. The design collaboration between Axor and Urquiola ensures that the highest standards of quality and technical innovation are maintained. Elaborating on the history of the development of the bathroom, Philippe Grohe, manager of the designer brand Axor of Hansgrohe AG, explained that the bathroom is currently moving into an entirely different conceptual phase: “In the 20th century the bathroom democratised so that where only Kings and Queens had bathrooms at the beginning of the century, by the end everyone had a space to wash”. He added

Facing page: Uniting form and function in the bathroom.

Above: Two bathtubs facing each other create comfort and intimacy.

Right: Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola.

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 Product design 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 that it was since the 1990s that the bathroom 56 has taken on a different connotation. “It becomes 57 58 about well-being and balance. It is about what the 59 bathroom can give you besides hygiene.” 60 61 Urquiola’s design aesthetic for 62 63 the bathroom space involved reflecting on our 64 intimate relationship with water and its restorative 65 66 properties. Her design approach involves more 67 than just the actual interface and this is precisely 68 69 why her products are known to unite form and In Beirut 70 function. Veering away from bathtubs the size of 71 72 swimming pools, Urquiola interprets intimacy in a 73 74 more environmentally conscious way. She says: 75 “Even though I am only designing the interface, Fashion 76 77 I am also concerned with where the water 78 goes and the different forms of water; how we 79 80 wash our faces and take our baths, how much 81 water gives you the full relaxation and feeling 82 83 without being wasteful”. 84 85 In Urquiola’s interpretation, 86 the bedroom and bathroom merge in an 87 88 inspired interaction of lounging, hygiene, 89 relaxation and intimacy. The washbasins Art & Culture 90 91 have ergonomic handles which move 92 with ease. The freestanding sink and 93 94 bathtub evokes a sense of memory and 95 96 tradition. However, Urquiola’s sleek 97 design of a deeper bathtub where 98 99 you can submerge yourself in water Travel & Events 100 while minimising the amount used 101 102 is designed with a completely new 103 material. Rather than ceramic or 104

Above: The Axor Urquiola bathroom.

plastic, which wears away with time, the material is a mineral resin finished with a gel coat. Her ode to intimacy places two bathtubs facing each other so that each person is comfortable yet enjoying the experience together. This arrangement allows the bathers to communicate with one another yet maintain a sense of private space. A collection of Urquiola’s would not be complete without one absolutely unique and essential piece. In looking at the bedroom and bathroom as a flexible space, Urquiola has designed a screen-radiator-mirror or paravant that supplies heat, has a variety of accessories such as hooks that can be used as a changing area, and mirrors to create a larger more reflective space. It is a modern interpretation of the classical room divider but is infused with function. Ever-conscious of how people’s choices and lifestyles are changing, the Axor Urquiola collection offers flexibility with purpose. In taking the bathroom to the next level, Urquiola gives us the possibility to become closer to ourselves and each other. In emphasising the restorative quality of the bathroom and the ability to make it more spa-inspired, the iconic collection provokes a sense of comfort and intimacy that is built to last, in the Axor traditon, for many generations to come.

the coming of age of an

Words by: Derek Issacs Photography by: Ben Nilsson/Big Ben Productions CopyrightŠICEHOTEL


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 Product design 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 02 03 57 58 59 01_____ Linnea 02_____ Crystal Hall, the 03_____ The Stairs Suite. 60 Borealis Ice Church. Main Hall of ICEHOTEL Artist: Åke Larsson. 61 Artists: Cindy Berg, 2008/2009. 62 Marjolein Vonk, Jan Artists: Arne Bergh & 63 64 Willem van der Schoot and Anders Eriksson. 65 Marinus Vroom. 66 67 68 69 70 In Beirut 71 ukkasjärvi, a small village situated 200km inside The rest is history, and ICEHOTEL was born. 72 the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland, means Each year as dipping temperatures 73 74 ‘meeting place’ in the language of the Sámi, an herald the onset of yet another arctic winter in 75 indigenous people of northern Scandinavia. At Jukkasjärvi, international artists gather on the 76 Fashion 77 first glance the 21st century seems to have yielded little shores of the Torne River. Using the frozen waters 78 change to the village’s environs. The beauty of the arctic borrowed from the river, the artists participate 79 80 wilderness still dwarfs human existence. The location attracts in the creation of ICEHOTEL. It is through the 81 82 gatherers, albeit a more global kind, and the Torne River still rising temperatures of spring that Mother Nature 83 offers up sustenance. recalls the ice and returns it to the Torne River. 84 85 Yet change has come. It arrived in 1989, and Each winter, the pattern repeats itself as a 86 its source is the Torne River itself, or at least to whom it new selection of international artists gives 87 88 now provides sustenance. The recipients in 1989 were rise to a new and unique ICEHOTEL when 89 two Japanese artists, or sculptors to be precise. Leading a construction begins between the 10 and 90 Art & Culture 91 workshop for local artists in the unique art of ice sculpting, 30 December. The project comes of age 92 the pair used ice direct from the Torne for their work. in 2009-2010 leaving its teen years behind 93 94 The subsequent year an igloo was formed and 1991 saw to celebrate its twentieth season. The 95 96 the first snow building, Quinsee. Using ice sourced from anniversary will be celebrated throughout 97 the Torne, the structure served as an overnight shelter the winter season of 2009 - 2010 as it 98 99 for the military. By 1992 the river was loaning ice for the highlights ICEHOTEL’s transformation 100 Travel & Events formation of Arctic Hall, a 250m2 igloo and for the first from a 60m2 igloo to the world’s largest 101 102 time foreign tourists were accommodated overnight. hotel of 5,500m2 of ice and snow. 103 104


01_____ ABSOLUT ICEBAR: JUKKASJÄRVI. Artists: Anders Rönnlund & Anders Eriksson.

02_____ ICEHOTEL Entrance.


03_____ Ho-Shi to Tsu-ki Suite. Artist: Sakai Hiroyoshi.

04_____ ABSOLUT ICEBAR: JUKKASJÄRVI. Artists: Anders Rönnlund & Anders Eriksson.

05_____ Linnea Borealis Ice Church. Artists: Cindy Berg, Marjolein Vonk, Jan Willem van der Schoot and Marinus Vroom.

Taking Shape Around 500 artists have helped create ICEHOTEL since its inception in 1996. November sees an influx of international snow builders, architects, designers and artist gather under the direction of the ICEHOTEL Art and Design Group, which was founded in 2003. The artists and designers themselves are chosen from thousands of applicants each year. As many as 60,000 visitors flock to ICEHOTEL each year in order to view the designs and artwork and stand testament to the quality and uniqueness of ICEHOTEL’s craftsmanship. ICEHOTEL 2009 -2010 will comprise 62 rooms which more than 80 people will help construct. Forty-five of the 80 people will be enlisted in manual labour such as constructing ice walls and sawing ice for the 5 500m2 hotel. Huge steel frames, sprayed with snow and allowed to freeze, are removed, leaving behind a labyrinth of snow corridors and hallways. The larger spaces are divided by newly constructed walls to create suites and further hotel rooms. The artists, flown in from the USA, England, and Bulgaria and further afield such as Japan, create art sculptures on ice blocks harvested from the Torne River. Each section is worked upon within set phases. As one section is completed, it opens its doors to guests and then phase two begins elsewhere in the hotel. Between

the 10 and 30 December ICEHOTEL begins to take shape. ABSOLUT ICEBAR opens 12 December and the Ice Church opens 23 December in time for the Holidays. During the winter 2008 – 2009 exhibition, ICEHOTEL saw unique projects such as Mush–Room designed by Bulgarians Viktor Tsarski and Liliya Pobornikova. An invitation to walk through a forest of ice-carved mushrooms in the Art Suite helped evoke childhood memories of fairy tales and dreams. In Art Suite 308, a palace of sculptured ice awaited its guests. Designed by Japanese Natsuki Munakata and Shingo Saito, the project was aptly entitled ‘The Queen of Ice’. There is no respite for the best in ice art and design. The winter season 2009 – 2010 flies in artists from Australia, Spain, Holland and the USA and beyond. The title of the suites and other hotel spaces hint at what is to come and describe a fairy-tale dream as the architecture playfully teases the imagination. Some are more obvious, such as Americans Dennis Rolland and Michel Andre landeros’ Gotham on Ice, while others such as Swedish AnnaSofia Maags’ Rest in the Nest requires some imagination before being revealed on ICEHOTEL’s opening.

The Cold Rooms Accommodation is cool, literally. As temperatures outdoors drop off the end of the thermometer, the temperature indoors is a balmy -5 °C to -8°C and never gets below that. However, going to bed minus thermal underwear and hat would be foolhardy at best. The accommodation offers a unique choice of rooms artistically designed by internationally renowned artists. The Snow Room is simplicity itself. Two thermal sleeping bags sit on reindeer skin aloft a bed of ice. Whereas the Ice Room offers a similar sleeping arrangement, the room itself is scattered with art work and furniture sculptured from ice. As it suggests, the Art Suite is a uniquely spacious room complete with some of ICEHOTEL’s fantastic art design. In all the rooms the morning chill is broken by a cup of hot lingonberry juice.


Vows in Ice ICEHOTEL offers couples to tie the knot in ultimate style and uniqueness. The ethereal hall of worship, the Ice Church, is reconstructed each year by a new artist and no trace remains, except those captured by camera, of the previous year’s structure. This creates poignant memories for as soon as spring arrives, concrete reminders of the event will be washed away by the Torne River.


Dressing with winter in mind The keyword when thinking of dress sense for ICEHOTEL is layers. Outer garments such as winter overalls or suits, footwear such as boots and/or shoes, and mittens are provided, gratis, by ICEHOTEL itself. But that is not to say you cannot bring your own attire. The under layer is down to each individual guest but woolen long johns are highly recommended as are vests and undershirts too. Woolen socks are a must but always allow for larger size footwear than usual in order to accommodate for their thickness. For further information visit


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Lady Nag Nag deigned by Tim Heywood

Sailing on a

SeaofDesign Words by: D e r e k I s s a c s Interior architecture project done in collaboration with Laura Sessa Romboli rchitect designer Dori Hitti of Cercle Hitti Projects, renowned for his portfolio of international and national design projects, delivers the hallmark of a simple European design style to a European beauty, Motor Yacht Lady Nag Nag. The 12-man luxury yacht, constructed in The

Netherlands by Amels utilising naval architecture, was completed in 2008. However, the yacht’s interiors are designed by Cercle Hitti Projects. The overture of modern and luxurious Italian-style design is apparent throughout the cabins of the yacht - and easily recognisable to those familiar with Hitti’s works transporting a new and stylish notion to the art of sailing.

Interior architecture project done in collaboration with Laura Sessa Romboli

Designer Dori Hitti ensures design at sea is as stylish as it is on land.

every step deserves recognition

Drink Responsibly



Madeleine biscuit

highlights of the festive season at InterContinental Phoenicia Hotel is the unveiling of Chef Charles Azar’s latest Yule log creation. In previous years he has taken this classic on a gourmet journey

110 g caster sugar 110 g whole eggs 25 g milk 125 g flour 4 g baking powder 65 g butter 1 g salt 1/2 vanilla pod 1/2 lemon zest

1. Sift the flour and the baking powder. Mix the eggs with the sugar, salt, lemon zest and vanilla. 2. Add the sifted dry ingredients, the milk, the melted butter. Set aside in the fridge for 24h. 3. Spread the mixture in a 60x40 tray. 4. Bake at 180ºC for 12 mn.

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65 g cream 65 g milk 25 g yolks 15 g sugar Raspberry Jivara supreme 375 g cream 375 g raspberry pulp 715 g Jivara Lactée 40% (Valrhona) 225 g cream 35% fat 6 g gelatin

Light Tea-Flavoured mousse •

200 g full fat milk

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400 g cream 35 g Earl Grey tea 10 g orange blossom water 375 g White Chocolate Ivoire (Valrhona) 8 g gelatin

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1. Infuse the tea in the milk for 12 h in a fridge. Sieve through a chinois .

1. Mix the yolks with the sugar, heat the milk and the cream.

2. Soak the gelatin in plenty of water. Heat the milk, add the drained gelatin.

2. Strain and add the raspberry pulp.

3. Pour the hot liquid on the chocolate. Add the orange blossom water.

3. Gradually pour this mixture over the chopped chocolate.

4. Incorporate the whipped cream.

inspired by the days of the Phoenicians and the Arabian nights. This year he debuts “Nordic”, a delicious foray into sweet and snowy, Scandinavian dreams.

4. Add the cream. 5. Stir carefully with a spatula. Immediately pour the mixture onto the layers of the Madeleine sponge in the same way you would for a millefeuille in a 60x40cm tray. Freeze.

Assembly 1. Remove the log from the mold and spray with white chocolate. 2. Decorate the log with crystallised sugar stars and Marzipan Snowman.

Quantity for 1 Yule log (Serves 12 people)

ne of the

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Jivara lactée supreme with raspberry Custard

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 Product design 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 69 In Beirut 70 71 72 73 74 75 Fashion 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 Art & Culture 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 Travel & Events 100 101 102 103 104

Copyright © Baccarat

Words by:ChantalGranier Baccarat Artistic Advisor

n Jaime, you can almost hear the word “gem.” And that’s a good way to characterize artist and designer Jaime Hayon. Half-conquistador, halfimp, this adventurer of design embraces life with an extraordinary creative zest, an immediate empathy for his nearest and dearest, and an infectious vitality. Skipping from one language to another in a heartbeat, he simultaneously chats in English as well as French, Italian and Spanish, all with a singular nonchalance and ease. Jaime is a man of the present and the future, a decidedly optimistic mutant, equipped for a world with a brighter tomorrow. Born in Madrid thirty years

Facing page: Sketches from the Crystal Candy Set.

Above left: Jaime Hayon.

Above: Piña Passion Vase, clear crystal and white copper ceramic, numbered and limited edition of 25.

ago, this Almodóvar of design is on a ceaseless quest for encounters and new lands. The paradox arises from the overlap of this free-wheeling spirit and his inspirations, drawn entirely from the sensuality of his background: fragrances, sounds, languages, visions of childhood and his Iberian roots. The primary colors, the excess, the organic baroque shapes of the furniture and ceramics, the manga-meetsIberia “toys”: his imagination flows as freely as a stream from the tip of a colored pencil or brush with the talent of a master draftsman. Jaime Hayon is a generous artist, and his work distills everything that has crossed his path. Like an ethnologist of shape and material, he explores nature and

people in equal measure, transforming them through the prism of his unbridled flights of creativity—his free spirit radiates most brilliantly in the scenographies that fully express his exuberance and joie de vivre. The recent monograph on his work, published by Gestalfen, captures the full range of his prolific and eclectic work. Form, style and color are deployed with a rare mastery, whether in his partnerships with companies as diverse as Arquitect, Bisazza, Camper, Bosa, Metalarte, Palluco or Bernhardt Design, with the collaboration of his companion, Nienke Klunder.

Above from left to right: Nuclear Pomegranate, red crystal and white copper ceramic; Harcourt Lolly, clear crystal; Blackberry Freeze, clear and amethyst crystal.

His “Encounter” with Baccarat is typical of this atypical talent. This masterful stylistic undertaking between colored cut crystal or pieces engraved with gold and metallic ceramics successfully bridges the gap between sumptuous transparency and velvety opaqueness. Hayon’s sense of humor reframes the importance of his creation in a limited edition of monumental works. The “Crystal Candy Set” can be enjoyed to excess; with this exceptionally beautiful work, Baccarat once again demonstrates its extraordinary creativity.

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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 Product design 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 69 In Beirut 70 71 72 73 74 75 Fashion 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 Art & Culture 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 Travel & Events 100 101 102 103 104

Facing page: Clouds take shape in designer textiles.

Above: Ronan and Erwan, the Bouroullec brothers.

nce in a while I flip through a design or architecture magazine, and I am often scared by all of the cold rooms,” says Ronan Bouroullec, the younger of the French Bouroullec brothers. The increase in recent years of glass, stone, concrete and wood being the main focus in interior design appears to have prompted such a statement. However, interiors are about to change. And to help them on their way, brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have created a design solution that is both soft and welcoming, yet retains an aesthetic beauty. Kvadat, a leading European supplier of designer textiles established in Denmark in 1968, has now introduced a new and innovative design that successfully builds upon its textile wall, North Tile concept. The internationally acclaimed Bouroullec brothers, in collaboration

with Kvadat, have introduced Clouds, an interlocking tile fabric created especially for the home. Incorporating the simple click system found on North Tiles, Clouds are able to be assembled effortlessly and then evolved into three-dimensional unique shapes, just as they would while floating in the sky itself. Used as art installations, they can be hung from the wall or ceiling and the flexibility of the concept allows for total freedom of expression. “We aimed to design a solution that was so simple and well thought out that it didn’t require expensive workmen. But could be set up by everyday people without having to be polished, adjusted or given additional treatment,” says Ronan Bouroullec. Spanning over a decade, the Bouroullec brothers have made their name in the design world at record speed, and have already won numerous international awards for their solutions. Discovered by Giulio

The fabric tiles can make a statement piece for the home or installation art.

Cappellini in 1997 for their ‘Disintegrated Kitchen’ at Salon du Meuble in Paris, in 2000 Issey Miyake asked them to design the room for his new A-Poc clothing collection in Paris. Since 2004, the Bouroullecs have also worked with Magis producing two complete furniture collections, Striped and Steelwood. The year 2006 saw the creation of North Tiles, whose extension saw the introduction of Clouds to the world of design. Clouds are presented in two fabrics, Divina and Tempo, which between them both have seven different colour combinations ranging from zesty orange to deep purple. Packed in either boxes of 8 or 24 tiles, the elements are fairly simple to assemble. Patterns can be decided upon and laid out on the floor before being secured with specialised rubber bands. The clouds, unlike their natural counterparts, can be displayed on the floor or add a colourful liveliness to stairs or railings. Speaking about the brothers, Kvadrat CEO Anders Byriel said: “They are already among the greatest modern designers and remind me of Charles and Ray Eames, who shared the same unconcerned, playful approach to design and function with a unique sense of space and colours.” For more information, go to

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Table by Karen Chekerdjian

"Round & Square� is a table made of a combined structure in lacquered wood and lacquered aluminium. It also combines two opposite aesthetics, the decorative drawings of Arabic culture and the lightness of straight, fine lines inspired by oriental furniture. The tabletop is hand-made by craftsmen from north Lebanon who possess the ancestral know-how of working with brass. Instead of only using brass, we experimented with the same technique on aluminium sheets that are then industrially lacquered. The result is a strange mix between hand-made and industrial finishing. The table is produced in three different sizes for three different uses; the high, small side table, the normal side table and the coffee table. When grouped together they can become a very functional large coffee table. Karen Chekerdjian

Copyright Š Tribudesign

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reserving traditions initially appears to be at odds with the ethos of a hip and dynamic team of designers. Yet, it is exactly what Beirut based Tribudesign have done. And in the process they have managed to scoop Europe’s most prestigious design accolade - the red dot award, earning a place for their product in the Red Dot Museum in Germany. Living up to Tribudesign’s very own slogan – ‘‘to preserve it: love it, evoke it, evolve it” - the design team have created White, a line in which to recreate traditional products in a non conventional way. White’s first design product is entitled ‘A’. Not because it is a first for the newly created design brand. It is, in fact,

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 Product design 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 In Beirut 71 72 73 74 75 76 Fashion 77 78 the initial letter of a solely Lebanese word for a very 79 80 Middle Eastern tradition: arguileh. Taking this stalwart 81 of traditions, Tribudesign has arrived at a product that 82 83 is sleek, portable and functional. Yet above all, ‘A’ is 84 85 totally accessible. “We have created a product that is 86 user friendly, even for a novice water pipe smoker,” 87 88 says design director Zareh Sarabian. 89 The arguileh has been totally 90 Art & Culture 91 streamlined and its excesses, or loose ends, appear 92 to have been either disengaged, or at the very 93 94 least, reduced in size. However, this is not done 95 96 arbitrarily. Originally designed in 2007, ‘A’ has 97 taken baby steps, and has been thoughtfully 98 99 developed over a two-year period. Roundtable 100 Travel & Events discussions have produced a myriad of ideas 101 102 on how ‘A’ should ultimately be. “The design 103 team all works together for one vision,” says 104

Copyright © Tribudesign

Sarabian. “We asked the question, ‘What are the problems in the existing project?’.” Too many pieces to put together was the response. The result is a complete transformation and a totally cutting-edge look for an old friend. The once vertical glass water vessel has been replaced by a cool, white – and vertical – capsule-shape, acrylic stone 40cm by 11cm water holder. Positioned on its surface at one end is a shallow well in which the stainless steel charcoal holder sits. Wrapping around the main body is a slender pipe in white leather that neatly tucks into a recess, or groove which has been fashioned around the edge of the vessel. Product ‘A’ is all about being functional. “The original arguileh took up too much time and space. Its usage within the home was becoming minimal. ‘A’ matches our busy modern lives. It is quicker and easier to use,” says Sarabian. Packed into a sleeve-style, white rectangular box, even the well– thought-out streamlined packaging looks as if it could easily win an award. “I love the thought of surprises. The thought of discovery as the packaging slowly reveals its contents,” concludes Sarabian. For more information go to

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Give your living space a design upgrade with this season's hottest creations

newproductdesign p58 Scandinavianicons p62

asa Above: Set of Arc vases and plates Below: Fine handcrafted craquelĂŠ Rika vases

lsa Above: Set of four Coro berry wine glasses. Below left: Zofia glass vase in cased red with clear spiral.

EGIZIA Paola Navone's Lace collection

BAOBAB COLLECTION Handmade decorative candles whose colours and scents evoke a sensory journey to the African heartland.

Words by: Helen Assaf

Copyright©Alvar Aalto Museum/Artek, Markku Alatalo

Stool 1933 & Chair 1932 Alvar Aalto, Artek Born in 1898, Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto is regarded as the father of modernism in Scandinavia. Together with joiner Otto Korhonen he invented a way to bend chair legs from solid wood, making it possible for the Aalto stool to be conceived and heralding a new era of mass production of furniture. The stool was originally produced by Huonekalu-ja Rakennustyötehdas Oy Ab, which changed its name to Huonekalutehdas Korhonen Oy in 1966 but today it is manufactured as No 60 by Artek, which holds the sole rights to the sale of furniture designed by Alvar Alto. The legs are solid wood bent by sawing and laminating plies while the seat is birch veneer. The basic Aalto stool is three-legged, which enables large numbers of them to be stacked and stored in very little space. The Alvar Aalto chair also embraces the innovation of solid wood bent into shape, using laminated solid birch for the legs and birch plywood on the seat. It is sometimes referred to as the Paimio chair as it was originally designed for the tuberculosis sanatorium in Finland’s Paimio, for which Alto also acted as architect. Today the chair is still in production as Artek N° 41.

Copyright©Fritz Hansen.

THE EGG™ Arne Jacobsen 1958, Fritz Hansen Both an architect and a designer, it is the latter for which Danish Arne Jacobsen is most celebrated thanks to iconic designs such as The Egg. It was in the late 1950s when Jacobsen was asked to design every element of the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen - both its structure as well as its interior furniture. This gave him a golden opportunity to combine his two fields of talent in one project. The Egg was designed for the lobby and reception areas of the hotel and provided a sculptural contrast to the building’s vertical and horizontal surfaces. The chair incorporated a strong foam inner shell beneath the upholstery – the first time such a technique had been used. The Egg is still produced today by Fritz Hansen, the Danish production company with whom Arne Jacobsen first began a successful partnership in 1934.

Mademoiselle chair Ilmari Tapiovaara 1956, Aero Design Furniture Originally produced by Asko Ltd in Finland and Edsbyverken in Sweden, Ilmari Tapiovaara’s Mademoiselle Chair is one of the most iconic symbols of 1950s Finland. Spindle and rocking chairs feature heavily in rustic Finnish culture and with Mademoiselle, Tapiovaara sought to create a modern interpretation. While exuding a contemporary 50s feel, the chair also retained a familiar and cosy charm. Tapiovaara was fascinated by traditional furniture and designed a number of modern variations on the theme with the Mademoiselle remaining the most successful. It was reintroduced to production in its lounge chair form in 2005 by Aero Design Furniture and in its rocking chair version in 2007.

Copyright Š 2009 Marimekko Corporation. All rights reserved

Unikko fabric Maija Isola 1964 Marimekko Maija Isola first began designing printed textiles in 1949 and went on to produce a body of work of over 500 prints. Although she started designing for Printex Oy, it was as head designer at Finnish textile and clothing company Marimekko that she spent the majority of her career and lifetime working as head designer. In 1964, Marimekko’s female founder Armi Ratia made a statement that no floral fabrics were designed at the company, prompting a rebellious Isola to decide to contradict the status quo. The result was Unikko, a collection of bold, floral patterns whose popularity has never waned but increased with the years. In addition to the large range of Unikko colors and products available, Maija’s daughter Kristina Isola has designed a Mini-Unikko family of products for children.

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 n the Madame Rêve 34 workshop a vintage 35 36 earring is reworked into 37 the centerpiece of a 38 39 beautiful bracelet, a brooch is 40 41 welded into a modern setting 42 and dangles from a striking 43 Product design 44 necklace and custom made 45 pieces for clients incorporate 46 47 their own heirlooms in these 48 hand-crafted accessories that 49 50 are both unique and simply 51 52 fabulous. 53 Created by 54 55 vivacious duo Hala Mouzannar 56 and Lina Chamaa, Madame Rêve 57 58 specializes in vintage jewelry pieces 59 that are reworked with modern 60 61 settings and embellishments – a 62 63 perfectly executed concept that 64 has proved both beautiful and 65 66 popular. 67 The vintage 68 69 pieces the duo uses are sourced In Beirut 70 mainly in New York and London, 71 72 but their reworked accessories 73 74 are sold at several high-end 75 locations across the world from Fashion 76 77 Madame Bugali in Valencia, 78 Spain to 10 Corso Como in 79 80 Seoul, Korea and the house of 81 all things fabulous that is Holt 82 83 Renfrew in Toronto, Canada. 84 85 And as of December 9th 86 the design house will have 87 88 a permanent location in 89 Beirut with the opening of Art & Culture 90 91 a namesake atelier at the 92 end of Gouraud Street in 93 94 Gemmayzeh. 95 96 The idea 97 that crystallized into 98 99 Madame Rêve began Travel & Events 100 with a trip to London 101 102 five years ago, where 103 104



Rêve Mouzannar and Chamaa perused 30 or 40 vintage stores and brought a meticulously selected collection of vintage beaded evening gowns, accessories and bags back to Beirut. They reshaped a few pieces, reworked others and kept a handful exactly as they were, launching the collection with a dramatic affair at BO 18. “Our idea was to add value to the Middle Eastern woman’s wardrobe by introducing the concept of vintage as an item of value. A lot had no idea what it was, only very few had been exposed to vintage items,” said Chamaa. “Our role was to educate them by telling them that although this product had been used, it is of great value because it is vintage, because it is a hand-made item, because it is unique, because it is irreplaceable. People were hesitant and a bit apprehensive.” As the country’s fashionistas slowly developed a taste for vintage, the Madame Rêve creators simultaneously re-developed their concept, moving from clothing to jewelry, accessories and most recently, bags. As Chamaa explains it, “vintage clothing has size and fit limitations. Although the fabrics are now being reproduced among most designers, as well as the style, for us to alter a nice piece was heartbreaking. So we decided to get into accessories where we get a vintage brooch or bag or button and use it along with modern material and create a unique piece with an authentic vintage piece.” While the end products are certainly unique, they are also undoubtedly fabulous.

Yasmina T

his November a new addition to Beirut’s food scene opened in the ever-trendy Gemmayzeh area, intent on bringing the city ethnic cuisine with a twist. Created by the same mother-son duo behind the immensely popular La Parilla Argentinean steak house, Mireille and Nabil Hayek venture into Indian-fusion cuisine for their second restaurant. The concept is a lighter and upscale take on traditional Indian style and this idea is reflected throughout the locale, from the menu to the décor and even the name. Eschewing the clichéd names often given to ethnic eateries, the duo chose to call the locale Yasmina, as it sounded young and fresh – embodying the theme they sought and effectively created. Truly a family affair, the name is also a tribute to the youngest Hayek family member, whose image adorns one of the walls. The refreshing mural, embossed stark-white walls, matching fabric chairs and strategically placed decorative accents, create a look that blends classic with ethnic and is altogether impeccably chic. Open as of lunchtime and up until late-night diners are satiated, Yasmina accommodates around 55 people in its indoor space, in addition to 70 or so on the terrace, weather-permitting.

tawlet souk el-tayeb


ouk el-Tayeb has tirelessly promoted indigenous food, culinary traditions and local producers since its inception in 2004. Across the past five years this effort has diversified into regional food festivals and weekly farmer’s markets, held every Saturday in Beirut’s Saifi district as well as several other locations, where customers can buy and sample specialties from across the country. As of this month, the concept further expanded into a permanent location where diners can enjoy the country’s fresh produce, products at Tawlet Souk el-Tayeb’s ideal Mar Mikhael location. The concept is simple, yet lacking in Beirut’s culinary landscape; bringing local fresh produce cooked into traditional dishes and pastries into the mainstream. Tawlet Souk al-Tayyeb opens at 9am with a breakfast selection that features fresh organic eggs

cupcake I

n recent years cupcakes have gone from being a treat to youngsters to a full on adult cult and according to aficionados this trend all began at the iconic Magnolias in New York. As the popularity of these

miniature delicacies replete with mouthwatering frosting spreads to Beirut, those on the Northern outskirts will soon be able to indulge at the Cupcake Boutique in Antelias. While central Beirut may have Sugar Daddy’s, Kitsch and the Cupcake coffee shop, residents of the Northern suburbs were lacking anything similar, said Leslie Achkouti, who pioneered the outlet alongside partners specialized in marketing, management and hospitality. Achkouti and her team were happy to oblige, bringing Antelias a boutique café that will open just before Christmas near the St. Elie Center. “We offer a big variety of sumptuous cupcakes that will tease the senses and wake up the imagination. They’re just perfect for a morning treat or afternoon tea,” said Achkouti. “Needless to say, we’re going to have a large choice of cupcakes, anywhere where your imagination can go. Each cupcake will be a world of its own.” From light, to fruity, to chocolate-loaded or sweet n’ spicy, Cupcake Boutique plans to offer a cupcake

and closes at 6pm with a selection of equally fresh afternoon snacks. But it is in between that the concept gets particularly interesting. Come lunchtime aside from ordering a la carte, patrons are offered a daily fresh buffet of specialties from different regions. As fresh seasonal produce is the key and Tawlet Souk el-Tayeb varies its offerings with market availability, there is no set menu and no two buffets are alike. Managed by Swiss-trained Jad el-Hage, creativity rules the kitchen and special emphasis is placed on local dishes that have become a rarity in contemporary Lebanese cuisine. Drinks are not excluded in this effort to re-establish all things local. An admirable range of local wines and araks are on the menu, as well as a selection of home-brewed beers that includes the increasingly hip brand 961 Beer. Located in the emerging Mar Mikhael district, just off the already established Gemmayzeh, the space exudes simple elegance as both the concept and the decor blend traditional values with modern sensibilities.

to suit each individual taste and a special designer is on board to ensure that they will not only taste exceptional, but look it as well. “Each cupcake is like a tiny world of taste, color, design and look of its own. Every single one is an elegant surprise package, a little piece of ‘home-baked’ goodness in our otherwise stressed daily routine. Cupcakes simply make our world a better place and add soul to our lives. Their message is one of sharing and enjoyment, and we’re here to spread this joy,” Achkouti explained. The outlet follows the cozy boutique concept that the name implies, with a small waiting lounge inside that seats five or six people where patrons can wait for their order in a relaxed ambiance complete with hot chocolate or champagne, which will be served to complement the elegantly trendy deserts. As the store opens there will be cupcakes-to-go, and as the concept expands the services will include special-order deliveries for tailor-made cupcakes for special occasions such as weddings, baby showers and birthdays. “Our clients will be able to communicate with our cupcakes, to say ‘I love you’ or ‘Merry Christmas’ through the Cupcake Boutique. I won’t reveal everything right now, but the surprises are many,” Achkouti hinted.



s the winter season approaches, there is little that could be as fashionably appropriate as the offerings of Y.Knot. The cozy boutique nestled in the renovated Saifi district differentiates its space as the original stone wall interior remains intact, an ideal backdrop for the colorful hand knitted items for women and children sold. Handcrafted home décor pieces are also on display. With throws, cushions, candle holders, placemats, hot water bottle covers, napkin rings, coasters, baby blankets, rugs and stools for children’s rooms, there is quite a wide selection. And as the pieces are all knitted from luxurious yarns, there is quite a bit of sophistication as well. Several years ago, hipsters across Europe and North America reclaimed the art of knitting and crochet, shifting the craft from outdated to avant-garde. In line with this worldwide fashion phenomenon,

the store’s mandate is to revive the tradition of crocheting and hand knitting, by modernizing the look and incorporating the skill into items used by trendy women who want something different. Alongside the prêt-a-porter items on display, Y.Knot offers a local creative outlet for this now fashionable craft. Pieces can be custom knitted upon request but for the hands-on types, classes for both adults and children are offered. For those already in the knitting know-how, the store provides a high-quality selection of yarns, buttons, beads, needlepoint kits and imported knitting accessories, perfect for high-style creations. Pushing the handwork renaissance further, the boutique held the first Knitting

starch A s one of the country’s most renowned designers, if anyone should be entitled to their opinion on Lebanon’s contemporary design scene it is Rabih Kayrouz and the way he sees it is that in for the local design industry to develop and strengthen, it must constantly be revived and renewed by the introduction of new and fresh talent. This idea crystallized into the Starch boutique that opened in the elite Saifi district a year ago, as a collaboration between Kayrouz and Solidere. Named after the most basic form of carbohydrates, the designers showcased at Starch reflect this compound’s quality; to Kayrouz, they are the building blocks of the Lebanese fashion and design industry. Every season four to six designers are selected by the Maison Rabih Kayrouz team and then guided through the process of developing their collections, before they are displayed and sold at Starch for six months to a year.

and Crochet Competition in the country this June. If Lebanese fashionistas had any doubts that these seemingly retro crafts are now du moment, then the competition's panel of judges surely provides reassurance. The soon to be annual event was judged by several high-profile names in the local fashion and arts scene, including designer extraordinaire Rabih Kayrouz.

Aside from possessing marked skill and creativity, each candidate selected must be Lebanese and reside in the country – as the entire concept of Starch is built on cultivating the country’s designers and its design scene. While age is not a criterion, the designers are all nascent on the scene and at the beginning of their careers. “It does not have to be immediately after their graduation as sometimes people need time to realize what they want. It does not matter in which specialization, as long as they have the skill and creativity. And mostly, they need to have a clear vision of what they want and a drive to go after it,” explained Tala Hajjar, the Public Relations and Marketing Manager for Starch. On the 24th of September, Starch unveiled its new crop of young designers. On display now are the collections of three fashion designers, Ronald Abdala, Diana Ferjane, Bird on a Wire, and architect Rizkallah Charaoui, who designed the boutique’s interior. Despite the collections being overseen and mentored by the much sought after Kayrouz, Starch is a non-profit concept and collects no commission on the designer’s sales - all the more reason to splurge a little in the name of the burgeoning Lebanese design scene. Words by: Maya Khourchid

From Diamonds toDeath The Queen of Diamonds resurfaces in the most unlikely of locations W o r d s

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A replica of the ‘Necklace of History’ on display at Kemi Gemstone Gallery, Finland

legendary 2800 carat diamond necklace set in motion French Queen Marie-Antoinette’s ill-fated journey. Now, the emphatically renowned ‘necklace of history’ has seemingly resurfaced in the most unlikely location. Set to a sheer and awe-inspiring backdrop of ice and snow is Kemi Gemstone Gallery in Finnish Lapland. Displayed within the gallery showrooms is one of Europe’s largest and most versatile collections of precious gemstones sourced the world over. One of the highlights is the mammoth collection of crown jewels of the European royal court, including the world’s most mysterious piece of jewellery, a necklace once connected to the then queen of France, MarieAntoinette. The necklace, though, and in keeping with the other royal displays, except for the royal crown of the King of Finland, is none other than a faithful replica of the original. The original necklace consisted of 647 diamond stones and was, 200 years ago, one of the most expensive in the world. 1.6 million Livres back then, its equivalent value in today’s currency would be around that of $100 million. Unfortunately, nothing remains of the original which was presented by Parisian jewellers Boehmer & Bassenge. A decade’s worth of labour created a choker of seventeen diamonds, five to eight carats each and from which were suspended a three-wreathed festoon and pendant. A further four knotted tassels hung from a double row of diamonds that culminated in an eleven-carat stone. The piece was fit for a king. Unfortunately the king for which it was intended passed away before purchasing it for his mistress Madame du Barry. The jewellers hopes of selling the royal piece to Queen Marie-Antoinette, wife of newly crowned King Louis XVI, were dashed when Marie-Antoinette informed them of her preference to use currency to arm France with frigates in the war against neighbouring England. The Kemi Gemstone Gallery’s replica necklace, regally displayed upon a backdrop of pure black silk, reflects the sheer beauty of the

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 original. Though the plans of the original 37 necklace exist, the replica yields only the 38 39 royal fashions of the 18th century. The 40 41 shine that emits from the present display 42 in fact stems from the seemingly priceless 43 44 Product design diamond replacements of rock crystals. 45 The diamonds of the original have long 46 47 since disappeared, dashing any hopes of 48 a reincarnation to its former royal glory. 49 50 Ironically, some of the necklace’s largest 51 52 diamonds reached the shores of France’s 53 then enemy, England, and are said to now 54 55 form part of the Duke of Sutherland’s fine 56 collection. 57 58 The original necklace, like 59 the French queen herself, was doomed 60 61 to history and circumstance. In a series of 62 63 scandals that rocked France and toppled 64 the royal rulers, the mystery surrounding 65 66 the precious necklace has yet to be 67 equaled. Unable to sell it, the jewellers’ 68 69 prayers were answered when enterprising 70 In Beirut swindler, Comtess de LaMotte, duped 71 72 nobleman Louis René Édouard de Rohan 73 74 the Cardinal of France. Through a series 75 of forged letters purportedly written and 76 Fashion 77 sent by the queen, Comtess de LaMotte 78 persuaded the cardinal to purchase 79 80 the necklace on the queen’s behalf 81 The scheme soon unravelled when 82 83 the royal couple were presented 84 85 with a bill by Boehmer & Bassenge. 86 King Louis XVI insisted upon a 87 88 public court case to try Louis René 89 Édouard de Rohan. But the case 90 Art & Culture 91 backfired and ultimately cost 92 Marie-Antoinette her head and 93 94 the demise of France’s royal 95 96 rulerule, while giving rise to 97 one of the world’s greatest 98 99 jewellery mysteries. 100 Travel & Events For more information on the 101 102 Kemi Gemstone Gallery, go to: 103 104

A clean-cut silhouette belies the complexity of design W o r d s

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D e r e k

I s s a c s

aris remains the very hub of couture in the real sense of the word,” says Maison Rabih Kayrouz‘s PR and Marketing Manger, Tala Hajjar Khalaf. “It is where you find true artisanal couture work.” It is to such a hub of distinctive ateliers, such as the Chanel owned atelier La Mare, that for the first time a large part of Maison Rabih Kayrouz’s designs have been sent for production. One such collection whose very backbone is formed from such renowned techniques is Nour, or, in English, Light. When the collection is initially viewed, it is not too difficult to imagine how Nour, or Light, came into being. Halos are created from the clever and skillful use of feathers while layers and transparencies accentuate form and beauty and permit light to filter through the silhouettes created by sculptured forms of gentle shades of white and grey. The starting point for the collection was based on the way light poured through gigantic window panes of Kayrouz’s latest Parisian showroom, a transformed 1930s Parisian theatre. The concept was added to until finally the collection was brought forth. One such piece from the Nour collection, a wedding gown, appears to defy gravity and design. Its sculptured

form slowly yet deliberately floats away from the body. “The dress is intriguing,” says Khalaf. “You wonder how it is holding.” Knitted from mohair, one would expect the garment to completely grasp the form of the body. And in some parts, such as the upper torso, it does. Yet, it miraculously fails to do so in other parts of the gown’s structure. Utilising a unique technique at specialized Parisian knitwear ateliers, artisans recreate a dress that was initially conceived by a weaving technique, chaine et trame, or weft and warp. Interpreting the piece through knitwear, the skilled artisans create a totally new approach which has been adopted uniquely for Maison Rabih Kayrouz. “This is where the complexity is,” explained designer, Rayya Morcos. “It is sculptured as one piece with no stitches. Yet it retains volume.” Possessing fine finishes that portray lace-like effects, achieved through the painstaking needlework skills, the almost transparent finishings allow the flesh to discreetly seep through the mohair, creating a completely modern look. The gown itself transcends beauty when worn, as it comes into a heaven-like world of its own. “The gown is very soft, comfortable,” says Morcos. “And when worn, it simply mesmerises.” For more information go to

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Chanel Behind the Scenes  Ready t o We a r A u tu m n/ W in te r 2 0 0 9 - 2 0 1 0

The inside view Facing page: The book cover from Roxanne Lowit Backstage Dior, published by teNeues, featuring foreword and fashion by John Galliano.

Renowned photographer Roxanne Lowit was so fascinated with John Galliano’s creations for Dior that she focused her lens on his designs. For over a decade Galliano has re-invented Dior’s roots and orchestrated stunning fashion shows. Since then Lowit has chronicled these shows using a strong and exciting, up-close approach to delve into the fascinating details behind the scenes. Her collection of candid photographs conveys the buzz of fashion’s consistently most inspiring spectacle. A bold mixture of colour and black-and-white, these images are by turns whimsical and awe-inspiring. As an integral part of the fashion world for many years now, Lowit brings an insider perspective to this world of high glamour.

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AMoomins Tale Words by: Dan Bratman

s the sun peeks out over the horizon in Moomin Valley, a tall, round blue house emerges from the winter’s wind and snow. Inside, Moomintroll, a doe-eyed, hippopotamus-like creature awakens from his seasonal hibernation. Spring has come to Moomin Valley and Moomintroll can’t wait to wake his friends and family. First up is Little My, a tiny girl, small enough to fit in your pocket. She is an irascible child, cranky and fiercely independent. She grumbles begrudgingly while Moomintroll gently encourages her to join him in the new adventures awaiting them. Soon, Moominmamma wakes from her winter slumber wishing them a “Good Spring”. She grabs her ever-present purse and takes them downstairs to make the first breakfast of spring. But before Moomintroll has the chance to eat, he is lured by the faraway sounds of his good friend Snufkin playing the harmonica. Almost immediately they set off on their first adventure into the beautiful hills of Moomin Valley. For more than 50 years, Moomin Valley and its citizens have played an essential part in the lives of children around the world. Since 1945, when the first Moomin book was published, author and illustrator Tove Janssen has brought these delightful characters of surprising depth and realism to children and adults in 40 languages. They have become cultural icons… and an industry. Thirteen novels and picture books, countless cartoon strips, television shows and yes, even “Moominworld” a theme park in the model of Disney World. Last year, Moomin Characters, Inc., founded by Tove and her brother and co-illustrator Lars Jansson, collected $6.7 million in license income and sales from its three brand shops in Helsinki. These numbers suggest more than savvy business

decisions. The Moomins have tapped into something that resonates. Deeply. The world of Moomin Valley is a place of community where a loving family of eccentric characters face adventures with a moral code. Yet the characters and the situations they find themselves in are surprisingly real. Unlike the Disney franchise, there is often an edgy and dark side to the events in Moomin Valley. There is a sense of pending danger, almost doom. Anger, self doubt, dishonesty, theft and fear are defining traits of some characters. Stories of Moominpappa’s dreamy adventures are sprinkled in with tales of brigands, deceit and thievery. Perhaps this is the reason for their broad and long lasting appeal. They are tales combining a gentle and doe-eyed naïveté with a ponderous human reality in the tradition of many Nordic fables. Clearly this has struck a chord in the hearts and minds of the collective imagination. For example, Snufkin, the wandering dreamer, is as likely to play a practical joke as he is a beautiful tune on his harmonica. Moominpappa (Moomintroll’s father) is a writer and thinker, fond of whiskey and the company of dubious characters. Snorkmaiden, kind hearted yet vain and flirtatious, is Moomintroll’s girlfriend. Her brother, Snork, is a sometimes tortured inventor, brilliant but plagued with self-doubt. These characters and others confront the travails and adventures of life in Moomin Valley. They are not the common characters one encounters in children’s stories. They are complex; loving, dark, real. They show the full range of human experience, beyond the saccharine idealism or gratuitous violence of today’s entertainment. Perhaps the Moomins have gone deeper than the typical children’s story and into the archetypes that transcend age and time. It is these qualities also found in classic literature that awaken the slumbering humanity hibernating in us all.

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a passion for

design,, art & life Words by:

D a n

B r a t m a n

rt is a celebration of life — an attempt to evoke in the viewer a moment in the artist’s experience — the intent to share and pay tribute to that experience. Good art can have the effect of enriching the life of the viewer, of offering a new experience, a deeper perspective. At its best, truly great art moves us, inspires us to see greatness in ourselves, and sometimes, to reciprocate with acts of humanity. So, it would seem appropriate that the esteemed automaker Bentley Motors has commissioned their Styling and Design team to stage a charity art auction. The team came together recently to create works expressing their passion for art, design and, of course, Bentley. The purpose of the auction is to raise money for The Christie, a specialist cancer

centre in Manchester, England which treats 40,000 patients a year and is an international leader in cancer research. The auction, staged at Bonhams, London concluded Tuesday, 1st December with an exclusive, invitation only event. The Bentley organisation comes from a long-standing tradition of outstanding design. Six-time winner of the prestigious LeMans race and automaker to the Queen of England, Bentley bears the standard of excellence. The name evokes luxury and performance for sports cars, private cars and limousines. Exquisitely appointed with handmade silk, cashmere, the finest leather and lovingly crafted exotic woods, Bentley brings to its automobiles the best materials and craftsmanship the world has to offer.

The experience of riding in a Bentley is less like transportation and more like a luxurious repose in the library of a fine English manor — its passenger silently whisked on a velvet cloud of opulence to their destination. So, it would come as no surprise that Bentley’s Styling and Design team would also produce art of the highest caliber. Utilising their design skills to create sculpture, digital art, paintings and works of multiple mediums, the items that were auctioned are of an impressive diversity and stunning quality. One of the works that perfectly captures the Bentley aesthetic and experience is Frederic Dams’ Layered Portrayal, a multi-medium work made of aluminium, wood veneer, engine turned metal, automotive paint, etched Perspex and other materials. Centred on a stunning photo

Dominic Najafi, Meet The Family (Lot 24) Acrylics on canvas 200 cm x 70 cm

of a vintage Bentley speeding on a track, it comes almost as a surprise to see the work is bolted to the wall. The impression of speed is visceral, tactile. Based on black and white with a shock of red and blue trailing in its wake, the Bentley seems alive, a predator in the act of pouncing. It is speed and elegance shot from a cannon, captured in a frame of time. Richard Gilmartin’s The Flowing B, a radiator mascot which can be fitted to a Muslanne radiator shell, is crafted of chrome and Perspex. Much like the Muslanne, its feminine curves seem to be carved by the wind itself. Its form reminiscent of the letter “B”, it is a celebration of speed, supplicant to the power of the engine that lies beneath.

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Simon Cooksey, Bentley 8 Litre (Lot 28) Acrylic on canvas 150 cm x 50 cm

Timothy Potts’ Birkin137, a bronze casting of “Bentley Boy” Tim Birkin, captures the intensity of Birkin’s record-breaking 137.96 mph lap at the famous Brooklands track in 1932. Potts deftly captures the feeling of the teeth gritting push of Birkin’s unyielding ambition and grace under pressure. These and the many other extraordinary works of art that went under the gavel represent the extensive talents of the Bentley Styling and Design Team. But, as their art celebrates the life and lifestyle of the Bentley experience, the cause, The Christie Cancer Centre, celebrates hope — the possibility of treatment and cure. Their common cause seems like the perfect combination. The Bentley Charity Art Auction brings us a visually stunning meld of celebration and hope through art.

soyez Ă la mode

Jnah 01/820 338 Hamra 01/343 335 Corniche an-Nahr 01/584 222


J o s i a n e

R i a c h i

Helsinki, considered the Daughter of the Baltic Sea with its calm yet avant-garde ambiance, brings together a mĂŠlange of influences from European and Scandinavian to Russian, representing a true city of contrasts. Wander through historic neighbourhoods with perfectly preserved historic buildings and monuments, in addition to amazingly ultra-modern architecture and funky design complexes.


KLAUS K Situated on the esplanade that houses most of the showrooms with Finnish furniture, the Klaus K Hotel, a recent transformation of the once upscale Klaus Kurki hotel, is now a boutique property at the cutting-edge of design. Naturally, its design is inspired by Nordic modernism combined with a spirit of Finnish Kalevala literary tradition for good measure. The rooms are sophisticated in their uncluttered finesse, featuring the latest in high-tech equipment. Contrasts abound with the Sali ballroom inspired by the renaissance, while one of the hotel’s three striking restaurants (Filmitahi) borrows from Finnish movies from the 1940s for dÊcor inspiration.

MUSEUM Worthy of attention is the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by American architect Steven Holl. Kiasma features a large collection of Finnish and international modern art spanning between 1960 and 1990. It also houses temporary exhibitions dedicated to visual arts and multimedia, as well as a theatre that features works related to contemporary art.

DESIGNRESTAURANT Grotest This is one of the latest restaurants on the Helsinki scene, established by the two founders of the one-star Michelin restaurant Demo. The owners have invested in an old printing press in downtown, complete with Corinthian columns, red tables and black chairs. The décor plays on eccentric notes inspired by black humour, while the kitchen has a French influence based on quality Finnish products. 30 Euros per person.

DESIGNCLUB A21 Cocktail Lounge A true phenomenon as far as clubs go, you have to ring a doorbell to be allowed in before you get to enjoy the evening. Great black and white décor and comfy booths provide the perfect setting for wellprepared cocktails.

SHOPPING The main shopping thoroughfare is Pohjoisesplanadi, or long esplanade. The Kamp Galleria on the street houses upscale boutiques and the flagship store of Marimekko, representing the Finnish brand of design and fashionable items for the home. In addition, there’s nowhere better to discover the best of Finnish design than in Helsinki of course. You’ll love the antique shops, fashion stores and businesses that specialise in interior design, as well as a variety of galleries that grace the city. Here are our picks, design wise:

Aarikka Pohjoisesplanadi 27, 00100 Helsinki

Artek Eteläesplanadi 18, 00130 Helsinki

Esplanade store Adress: Eteläesplanadi 12, 00130 Helsinki

TheChristmasmarketsofHelsinki Starting from November 22, the main shopping street of Aleksonterinkotu switches on its Christmas lights and the shops boast their best Christmas decorations. Numerous Christmas concerts are organised by the city’s churches.

Women’s Christmas Market Even women have their own Christmas market in Helsinki. Needless to say, everything featured here is for women, and there’s a wide variety of products to choose from. (

HELSINKIIN2DAYS Start your first day with breakfast at Café Esplanade or at Strindberg before wandering around Kauppatori, the market square, then climb back up to Senate Square and head to the Upensky Cathedral on Katajanokka island. After breakfast, visit the Kiasma museum, the Kansallismuseo or the Ateneum. Have a drink on the terrace at Kappeli or – for a more panoramic view of the city – the Ateljee Bar. On day two grab a bike and jump on a tramway to admire the Sibelius monument, then head to Hietaniemi beach and the Temppeliauko church. Get your picnic gear and provisions at Vanha Kauppahalli (Old Market Hall) before taking the ferry to Suomenlinna island in the afternoon. In the evening, treat yourself to a sauna session at the Saunabar or at Kotiharjun Sauna in Kallio.

Extraordinary man.

Extraordinary life.



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Le Cercle # 2  

Le Cercle magazine is for those that ooze unique, world-class style and design.

Le Cercle # 2  

Le Cercle magazine is for those that ooze unique, world-class style and design.