New Beirut design store offers a twist on Mediterranean maximalism
Images D’Orient presents a contemporary take on Mediterranean form and pattern, that, when applied to coasters and trivets, tableware and tray tables, has earned it a spot in design stores and museums in over 50 countries. For its first bricks-and-mortar store, the brand has returned to its roots, choosing a spot on Rue du Liban in the historic neighbourhood of Achrafieh in Beirut, where it first began almost 20 years ago.
Founding brother-and-sister duo Peggy Raphaël Dabar and Charbel Raphaël selected Beirut-based Rabih Geha Architects (RG/A) to design the flagship, which like their brand, evokes a sense of the Mediterranean with a twist, taking traditional archetypes and applying them with fresh eyes.
A tryptic of glass arches cut through the deep-blue facade frame a showroom bound by a colonnade of crisp white and blue display niches, and paved in grey terrazzo – a ‘lost in translation approach’ to traditional reference points.
‘The creative process of crafting a space that houses traditional/oriental products was inspired by the brand’s ethos and is somewhat a metaphor representing the complexity of the city of Beirut, reflecting the mix between the oriental traditions and occidental influences,’ says managing partner Ghida Geha and Rabih Geha, who founded his eponymous practice in 2006.
Block colours and textures, and repeated forms and details help to lend a uniform appearance to the store while also offering a suitable backdrop for the brand’s maximalist designs. The vibrancy of a blood-red ceiling with gridded lights emphasises the low height of the space, bringing the eye down to rest on an oblong display island with chunky cylindrical legs. An undulating screen of white perforated-steel mesh drawn across the rear of the space veils a workshop behind the shop floor, while the terrazzo flooring extends up onto the point of sale. In front of this, Images D’Orient’s richly patterned pieces are displayed on brushed stainless-steel like precious jewels. §