|Design, Food Design / Gastronomy, Interior Design
Dr. Fawzi Daouk street, 24 avenue du Park building, Mina el hosn
|+961 1 985 807
Many deplore Beirut’s rampant downtown development, but the local scene is quickly adapting to the shifting architectural landscape. The bright corner of a new building in downtown Beirut, not far from the waterfront and the city’s historic centre, has been transformed into a riot of colour and playfulness by local design duo david/nicolas to host the equally tongue-in-cheek fine dining spot Kaléo. Eccentric and exuberant, Kaléo is managed by Found’d Group, a venture that began as a skateboard startup in 1979 which today owns seven restaurants, a boutique and a wine bar & tapas joint.
The restaurant’s design edges on the quirky and dreamlike, in response to a concept of philosophical contemplation and cosmological mystery. Here, pale pink and blue are the main colours, accentuated by green chairs and white details to create a well-balanced interior that creatively packs a lot of information in its relatively small space. The use of textures and patterns is key, seen in the velvet fabrics on the furniture asking to be touched, and a “pop-corn” finish on the walls adding variety to their surface whilst creating an interesting zig-zag pattern. While the patterns inside the restaurant are inspired by the old churches of Byblos, they also seem to reference the nearby 12th century architecture of the Al Omari Mosque.
The designers apparently gave into a creative typhoon before achieving the sense of controlled chaos now found inside the restaurant. Elements that appear unrelated at first glance soon reveal that they are connected, such as the elegant four-meter-long chandelier over the bar that imitates the zig-zag teeth on the walls and mirrors. Strong diagonals and colour contrasts have also been used, perhaps in a reference to Memphis, to which this interior seems to owe much of its inspiration. Downstairs, the lavatories have been rendered in total black with grey stone on the walls, in direct contrast to the cheerful space upstairs. Behind the bar, a carpet from the Dreamstatic collection david/nicolas designed for Moooi in 2016 has been used to cover the wall—as a final act of eccentricity and whim, that nevertheless perfectly captures the restaurant’s theme of dream-like exploration and epicurean reflection.