Our practice is devoted to the creation of pure, powerful outdoor spaces. We are firm believers that some of the most significant moments of our lives take place outdoors, while the classic “return to nature” recharges the batteries, restoring a sense of proportion to our frantic modern world.
Our philosophy as landscape architects is to ensure this happens in the most memorable way possible: simplicity and harmony underpin our design philosophy, whether for private retreat or public venue. The four projects reflect this philosophy through spaces that resonate with their magnificent natural surrounds.
Three of these, private residences at the exclusive Faqra Ski Club, are located high in the mountains overlooking Beirut, its bay and the Mediterranean Sea. The fourth is an open-air restaurant created in a renovated old style house with special attention to the environmental features. Our mission is always to create environments that integrate seamlessly with their surroundings, awakening our often blunted senses: sight, smell, touch and hearing. In addition to adapting to extreme climatic conditions, including harsh winters, the projects also had to maintain standards of comfort and distinction demanded by private owner and patron, providing the ideal setting for a weekend retreat as well as the exclusive backdrop for select, official functions.
In all three residence projects, the sitting areas are in local, hard-wearing natural stone able to withstand the harsh mountain winters at 2000 m. The water features, accompanied by soothing splashing sounds, create a mystical atmosphere. The level views give the illusion of shimmering water merging with the mountains beyond. Clean, unencumbered lines are preserved throughout by concealing all lighting and drainage hardware in grooves carved in the stone blocks.
The Seykoun Restaurant - Our brief was to blend the construction with its charming natural setting, providing guests with a memorable dining experience. The central feature of the terrace is a large pool overflowing on all sides. It forms a solid block that seems to float on a weightless plane.
The restful sound of falling water combines with warm wood flooring and local stone to create a welcoming, homely ambience. At night, recessed sodium lighting reflects in the water, mimicking the lights glittering in the surrounding hills. The accent is more on penumbra and cosiness than light. Other primary lighting features are the concealed, dimmable overhead lights in the pergola structure and custom-made corten steel luminaries on the columns.
Private Residence - This project represents a concept devoted completely to capturing the remarkable view. Our program was to develop a cantilevered swimming pool and sitting area with shade structure and fireplace. A small contemplation room was also incorporated as part of the program, tucked into the hillside, capturing the heart of the view and the disappearing edge of the pool.
Saab Residence - This private house is an ideal space for both private communion and important receptions. The focus of the project is the lower terrace made up of two simple rectangles: a raised swimming pool and a terrace with two recessed sitting areas.
The deliberately low balustrades have been turned into planted border strips so that the seated observer has an unimpeded view across the stretch of water to the splendid mountain range beyond, all on the same level. Remote-control fires set in the middle of the tables warm guests on cool evenings.
Bassil Residence - This private chalet was built around the concept of entertainment. The challenge was to provide numerous spaces catering for diverse events on an extremely narrow site while respecting a construction setback of 4.5 m around the house. Everything is geared to giving a sense of space. Features on the upper level include sitting areas, a raised water mirror with negative-edge jacuzzi cantilevered over a lower level with an outdoor bar area, swimming pool, large terrace, fire place and BBQ areas.
The recessed sitting area, raised pool and cantilevered jacuzzi on the upper level are all aligned so as to provide uninterrupted views of the breathtaking surrounds. Below, floating stepping stones lead down to a solid stone and red cedar-wood bar area. The line of the negative-edge swimming pool carries the eye to the wide views, framing the panorama from all points, be it from the interior, outdoor terrace or sitting area.
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