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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Engaging with the past

By Leah Linhares
Read Time: 2 Mins

renovated garden restaurant Villa Badaro

Rabih Geha Architects’ Villa Badaro Restaurant transports you from present-day contemporary into the serene early 20th century days...

The good-old-days are always a cherished memory that lingers at the back of the mind and it comes as no surprise that everyone loves to hear about them. Ar. Rabih Geha of Rabih Geha Architects revives the same memory in the form of Villa Badaro.

pre-war early 20th century building
homely ambience
illumination by night
Villa Badaro by night

Located on a quiet street away from the traffic and chaos of the city, the villa is one of the few pre-war buildings that stand tall with beauty and elegance in Badaro, Beirut. Nostalgia tickles you as you step into the garden restaurant-cum-bar setting. Adorned with terrazzo top tables and chairs, the place exudes a homely feel with light-toned colourful seating, luscious greenery and a steel-glass roof that illuminates the night sky. The warm hospitality of this place extends from the entrance of the villa right up to the garden fountain, providing ample space that encourages casual lounging.

pre-war early 20th century building
interiors of pre-war early 20th century building

Walking inside the restaurant, unlike the modern Beirut around Villa Badaro, Ar. Rabih Geha brings the restaurant back to life by striking a balance between classic and contemporary. The dining area within this traditional structure does not feature any kind of renovation. In fact, the architect retains the original construction as is, only exposing the original walls and a modern stainless steel bar, therefore preserving its former lifetime.

modern stainless steel bar
Modern stainless steel bar

If you were to venture further inside, you discover the restaurant’s only hidden secret. Splashed in brilliant red and animal print, the restrooms are striking with a playful and vibrant touch. These are the only details that revitalize the otherwise mature space.

steel and glass roof
Steel and glass canopy

Using a combination of intervention and preservation, Rabih Geha Architects successfully transport the villa into the new millennium by adding subtle contrasting contemporary details, making it the perfect symbol of past and present.

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