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The Beirut Cellar, a modern and conservative restaurant at the same time

The Beirut Cellar, a modern and conservative restaurant at the same time


Located in Achrafieh, on a street that houses the charming and well-preserved old buildings of the Lebanese capital, The Beirut Cellar is a neighborhood restaurant where authenticity and a good atmosphere combine to make it a popular spot, without worrying about seeing and being seen. It was with this in mind that the renovation project was conceived. Above all, it was necessary to preserve the memory and soul of the place, while giving it a modern touch. A challenge taken up by interior designer Maia Aoun Sayad.

Le Corbusier said it so well: “Architecture is the skilful, correct and magnificent interplay of volumes under light”. And to naturally light The Beirut Cellar, dimly lit, it was necessary to widen the existing windows and raise the roof of the terrace, the new composition of which is designed to integrate accordion windows that can be opened in good weather. Then there were the technical requirements of air-conditioning the partitioned terrace and the restaurant interior, without lowering the ceiling, and consolidating the building so that the ten water tanks could be placed on its roof, without detracting from the visual impact… The work involved enlarging the original pillars. An inspiring constraint! The result is an architectural design based on wood as cladding, creating a structure reminiscent of the volume above the bar. Maia Aoun Sayad placed great importance on the choice of materials. Here, black metal, synonymous with solidity, is used to cover the wall of the interior façade. The checkerboard floor is replaced by a geometrically patterned black-and-white one, while the lighting is provided by pendant and wall lamps, with no indirect light in the ceiling, to maintain the 70s spirit. The mustard-colored bar lamps by Verner Panton (1968), coupled with the green bar, form the basis of the palette adopted by Maia, to which were added touches of petrol blue, rust and bronze. The furniture is made in Lebanon by Kann Design, while other pieces have been found on the market. According to the designer, this mix of things, sometimes incompatible, ensures that the interior remains both refined and relaxed.

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