Gemmayzeh, Beirut, Lebanon
© Joe Kesrouani
Situated in the heart of Gemmayzeh, a neighborhood heavily frequented for its range of bars and restaurants, “Ginette” stands as an elegant understatement. Interior architecture is kept to a subtle minimum, with the intention of supporting the concept and contents of “Ginette,” rather than overwhelming them. The project is motivated by the inspiration to merge all components of the space in a natural flow—including the restaurant, terrace, retail area, art gallery, and USM furniture show-space. Products on offer in the store include a refined selection of apparel, accessories, shoes, cosmetics, books, specialty candles, and a variety of small gift items. By creating a relatively transparent interior, the focus of “Ginette” is placed on the products and gallery space, as well as the offerings of the bistro-style restaurant and terrace. Details are kept light, functional and simple. For example, the glass-walled handrail of the staircase, which leads up to the gallery and USM furniture space, is directly embedded in the concrete steps. Old-fashioned reflector-plate lamps, custom made for the shop, light the interior restaurant space, while a delicately folded, white paper chandelier, designed by an origami artist, graces the entry area. The design for “Ginette” was realized through the use of pure, straightforward materials, including: fair-faced concrete for flooring and staircase, marble counters, simple painted white walls, and white-tiled kitchen. The façade comprises a large bay window, constructed with an industrial-era system of small glass panels set into a steel framework. In the retail area, three panels of metal coil-mesh are stretched over the technical area, covering air conditioning, lighting, and wiring systems. On the far back wall of the retail space, a multi-purpose exhibition unit of shelved lacquered steel holds cosmetic products. This steel wall opens on an axel hinge to reveal storage area behind, as well as a washbasin for the cosmetic shop.