Situated in the heart of Beirut and designed by award-winning architecture firm Rabih Geha Architects, the second We Are The People concept store is Lebanese luxury brand Aïshti’s newest project. The boutique, launched April 2019 in Antelias in Lebanon’s bustling shopping mall aptly called Aïshti by the Sea, reflects the stylistic vision of the first We Are The People on Al-Moutran street.
The concept behind the animated, interactive store is to promote contemporary culture and showcase the latest, exclusive pieces from luxury designer brands through an eclectic and contemporary décor. The clothes, accessories and cultural objects on display are selected to follow themes of current design trends, changing once every month.
A stool made from pink-and-black painted tubular wood cylinders, with green, velvet upholstered seat cushions at We Are The People. Courtesy of Rabih Geha Architects
Led by husband-and-wife duo Rabih Geha and Ghida Geha, the Beirut-based architecture firm believes in storytelling through design. “Each design, prompted by the environment in which it resides, absorbs the surrounding physical, social and aesthetic elements to result in spaces that are never dictated by trend or style, but rather built with meaning, relevance and most importantly, passion,” says Ghida Geha, Managing Partner of Rabih Geha Architects.
“Each context tells a different story that goes beyond the strictly functional concerns. We tried to create a space where we can enliven the experience of being there.” Brimming with candy-striped pink that is complemented by black cylinders, the store has been designed to resemble a “living magazine.”
The boutique was curated by Fashion Director Mouna Harati, who chose the clothing, accessories, decorative items and art books on display to combine the experience of a retail store with elements of an art gallery. “Walking into an art gallery can be very unpredictable, it’s a place where you move around freely and at your own pace while discovering the beauty of everything around you and that’s exactly what roaming around We Are The People feels like,” adds Geha.
The new We Are The People concept store in Beirut designed by Rabih Geha Architects. Courtesy of Rabih Geha Architects
Display items are made from wide-ranging materials such as brass, steel, epoxy, vinyl and coloured wood. Through the use of these materials and whimsical themes, Rabih Geha Architects have masterfully crafted the setting of an adult playground.
“The geographical, historical and the socio-economic details form a compelling visual collage, which we then transform into a sensorial experience, capturing the mood and ambience to blend in with the spirit of the space,” says Geha. The table tops have solid-wood edges and the stools are made from pink-and-black painted tubular wood cylinders, with green, velvet upholstered seat cushions. The walls of the dressing rooms are adorned with a black-and-pink striped vinyl covering, while another is covered in an arresting green velvet.
A view of the We Are The People concept store in Beirut designed by Rabih Geha Architects. Courtesy of Rabih Geha Architects
The overarching theme of pink represents femininity. “It created a glamorous contrast and delimited the space without breaking the continuity of the already existing mall,” says Geha. “Pink is commonly expressed as something ultra-girly, and since We Are The People displays a selection of exclusive pieces for females, it was the perfect choice.”
Through the meticulously designed architecture and dynamic concept, Rabih Geha Architects have transformed Aïshti’s latest store into a sensorial escape with an artistically exuberant ambience. As Geha states, “We Are The People is a dreamy space enticing femininity, designed to be unpredictable. In there, imagination takes you places where everything and anything can happen.”
From the Summer 2019 issue of Harper's Bazaar Interiors