Date: 2007 Size: 5000sf Services: Architecture, Decorating, Art Curatorial Services, Accessories Package Awards: 2010 IIDA Residential project of the Year
Located at the edge of the Mediterrenean Sea, this jewel-like interior began with the client's desire to bring a fresh perspective and optimistic point of view toward living in the Middle East. Joe Serrins Studio created a comfortable yet sophisticated modern space that celebrates the beautiful city of Beirut. In the main salon, we reinterpreted traditional Islamic plaster decoration to create abstract maps of Paris and Beirut on the ceiling and wall respectively. The work was hand-carved by local craftsmen, and links this traditional craft with the contemporary interior. At 38 feet in length, it is a spectacular piece, and makes these two cultures that define the region physically present in the space.
The colors throughout the house are also site specific, taking the pinks and golds from the surrounding cityscape for the salon furnishings, and using greens, browns and grays from the mountains in the bedrooms. The majority of the furniture pieces were custom designed by Joe Serrins Studio, and were fabricated in New York, Miami, and Beirut.
The project took us five years to complete, spanning the assassination of the country's former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, the birth of the Cedar Revolution, the war in 2006, and the brink of a civil war in 2008. The political upheaval was the defining challenge, though sometimes communication, cultural expectations, and the extraordinary amount of construction in the region which drained the local talent pool played their part as well. It was a remarkable journey for us as American designers.