Shaken and stirred: Studio Caramel brings back the bar cart in Beirut
One of the many midcentury modern wonders to make its way back into contemporary furniture vernacular is the bar cart. A conversation piece, some might say, but with a rather spirited purpose. Taking a far more functional view on the classic furniture piece is Beirut-based Studio Caramel and interior designer Marwan Kmeid.
Elegant and refined, the 'Baron' cart was created for the namesake restaurant in the Lebanese capital and proves Studio Caramel founders Rami Boushdid and Karl Chucri’s knack for reviving retro trends with a current twist.
'We were immediately seduced by the idea,’ explains Boushdid of the project when approached by FaR architects, the practice behind the restaurant design. A balancing act between form and function, the brief was simple: make it beautiful, make it practical.
'The design had to consider having all the bartender’s requirements within easy reach without jeopardising the sleekness of the design,’ says Boushdid. ‘Three important characteristics informed our thinking. First, the chef and owner’s vision of the space (where everything – food or drink preparation included – can be seen by guests). Secondly, the architecture of the restaurant and finally, the restaurant’s particular location, in Mar Mikhaël, one of the most fashionable neighbourhoods of Beirut.’
True to the vernacular of the space created by FaR architects, the designers chose walnut wood, brass and black painted steel as their materials for the polished piece.
Making it easy – and more importantly, smooth – to manoeuvre was a more delicate affair, but one that the principles of the penny farthing helped overcome.
Now an integral part of the restaurant, the bar cart can be found winding around the Thonet-inspired bistro chairs, dispensing drinks in its wake.