Urban Interventions In The Streets Of Beirut By Architecture And Design Studio T Sakhi

BY Ayesha Sohail Shehmir Shaikh / Oct 14 2019 / 12:15 PM

The Sakhi sisters have crafted interactive structures that place urban disruption and social harmony side by side in the streets of Beirut

Urban Interventions In The Streets Of Beirut By Architecture And Design Studio T Sakhi
Courtesy of Alain Sauma
Tessa and Tara Sakhi

Based in Milan and Beirut, multidisciplinary architecture and design studio T Sakhi exhibits contemporary art objects, installations, product designs and most recently, films, with a special focus on identity and interactive craftsmanship. Co-founded by Lebanese-Polish sister duo Tessa and Tara Sakhi in 2016, human connection is at the core of their practice.

In June this year, the studio unveiled two new urban interventions in the streets of Beirut, Lebanon. Powder coated pale blue, both installations refer to the city’s lack of greenery and the need for more public spaces. Employing existing security barriers that are seen around the city, the sisters built Holidays in the Sun in 2019, an installation which seeks to transform the barriers into a resting place where citizens can embrace the beauty of nature. “The daily life of the local citizens are affected by the security and military invasion in the city center,” Tessa and Tara Sakhi share. “Since it is prohibited to remove or use the barricades, we wanted to improve the urban environment by transforming them into hybrid usable structures for them.”

Lost in Transition installation (2019)
Courtesy of Tony Elieh

Entitled Lost in Transition, the second installation seeks to nurture human relations through two metal seats that are intertwined by an arch. “The chair is versatile and the numerous spatial configurations allow for multiple uses - whether eating lunch with colleagues or reading a book alone,” the sisters share. “The work is a design that can adapt to any context, to any situation and to any culture.” The urban installation was originally exhibited in Milan Design Week 2019 for Alcova and is now housed by the Piazza of Saint Elias Church.

Growing up in a challenging environment, the sisters have mastered the art of transforming obstacles - in this case, congestion, security barriers and construction sites - into opportunities for positive change. “We have encountered various difficulties while implementing these installations in the city center, but growing up in a country in constant resilience, we learned to acknowledge any obstacle and transform it into our advantage,” they say. “We are fascinated by imperfections, traces of time on materials, embracing accidents and any encountered obstacle as a benefit.”

Holidays in the Sun installation (2019) by T Sakhi

The pair hope to influence positive communal growth through the innovative social structures, embracing the shared belief in the power of design as a universal language that, as they say, “can influence people, engage them with others and their surroundings in their day-to-day life, encouraging awareness, happiness, freedom, change and positivity.”

Today, the couple is working on transforming an old factory in Milan into a residential space, designing a new residential loft in Beirut’s Jisr el Wateh and creating a collection of customized product furniture for a residential apartment in Beirut Terraces by Herzog & De Meuron. In November, they will design the Lebanese pavilion for the Abwab exhibition during Dubai Design Week.

“At the beginning, people often asked us whether we were architects, designers or artists,” they share. “Our response? Perhaps we are a combination of all three - we simply do what we love and what moves us.” tsakhi.com

From the fall 2019 issue of Harper's Bazaar Interiors