As the driving force behind Starch, fashion professionals Rabih Kayrouz and Tala Hajjar have been guiding young Lebanese designers towards a successful launch and introduction in a highly competitive market. An integral part of the foundation’s annual programme is a presentation of the designs of these budding talents in Starch’s very own boutique in downtown Beirut. As if to mimic fashion’s seasonal cycles, the boutique setting transforms annually, and for the latest presentation, the aforementioned duo tapped architects Candice Naim, Fadi Mansour and Lea Helou of local practice Burau to create a matching retail environment. Interestingly, the architects have turned to the Lebanese capital’s urban surrounds, and its downtown area in particular, for inspiration, singling out an omnipresent element that often induces a sense of irritation with pedestrians and car drivers alike: road blocks.
Comprising of a simple construction of five steel bars, x-shaped at either end and connected horizontally, this specific object has been abundantly duplicated to construct an installation, entitled unbounded, that fully transposes its original purpose. No less than 91 steel modules have been pre-assembled and allow endless configurations. Some of the modules have been dipped in a textured, shimmering finish, adding a subtle sparkle to the intricate installation. Additionally, matching benches have been designed, inspired by the same object and its. The renewed starch boutique carries designs by 17 emerging Lebanese designers, and its current evocative incarnation will remain open until April of next year.
Images © burau / Photography: Charbel Saade