The Beirut-based studio unveils a new Mediterranean restaurant, the latest work in a diverse series of architectural projects reflecting on the nuances of dining.
July 2, 2019 (Paris) - T SAKHI is a fluid design and architecture studio, hybridizing multiple creative disciplines to awaken all five senses, and provoke diverse modes of human interaction. Cofounded by Lebanese-Polish sisters Tessa and Tara Sakhi, the studio’s diverse projects include commercial and residential architecture, product design, art objects, installations and films that are playfully subversive. In July, the sisters unveil their latest venture, the Levantine Épicerie and Traiteur “ADAR” in Paris, set in the 49th house of the historical Passage des Panoramas of Paris’ 2nd arrondissement. Demonstrating new and evolved ways of expressing culture, the sister’s rendition of the Middle Eastern restaurant reminds one of the unique sensory experience inherent to a culture.
ADAR subtly captures Levantine culture without falling into clichés of orientalism and grandiosity. Instead, the sisters mimic the raw colors of the landscape in hues of browns, oranges, and off-white, with a central, corrugated mesh chandelier collecting dried spices, vegetables, and flowers to evoke the souk. Optimising the natural filtered light of the Passage’s glass roof, T SAKHI’s warm palette integrates walnut and oak wood, oxidized brass, patina walls, verde olive granite, hand-made ceramic plates, and inox offering rich layers of texture.
Throughout the restaurant, a bodily sense of dynamism is achieved. Stained mirrors reflect the movement of visitors, while chefs Tamir Nahmias and Aaron Rosenthal prepare fresh Levantine cuisine in a striking terra-cotta open-kitchen, framing the act of cooking as a performance. Extending the experience, organic Mediterranean food products from Greece, Lebanon, Turkey, and Italy will be available to purchase at ADAR, inviting Levantine elements into Parisian homes.
Often exploring dining as a social act that centers on a shared olfactory and gustatory experience, the sisters created “Silent Echoes,” a transportable dining installation, which satirically visualizes the tendencies of individualization, self-absorption, and virtual interaction. A repetitive seating arrangement visually bars and isolates the viewer from their dining partner, and must purely rely on video calls to communicate and interact. Grey candles, grey lavender flowers, and grey resin, alongside a sound installation by 21DB of manipulated cutlery sounds, create a juxtaposition, distorting and disorienting the perception of the space’s dimensions. While the monochromatic aesthetics may be singular and harmonious, the symphony of various smells and sounds overwhelm the non-visual senses.
In the restaurant jazz bar SAX by T SAKHI, in the heart of Beirut’s renovated souks,various physical and visual interactions between visitors and performers are mediated through vivacious architectural elements. The sisters subsequently created the film, “And Then I Was Hearing Colors,” inviting director Cyril Aris, musician Mme Chandelier, and fashion house Second St. to explore the different narratives of the space. Inspired by Blue Velvet by David Lynch, and the old jazz bars of a bygone era, the sisters draw heavily on nostalgia to heighten memory’s activity in the space.