Beirut’s creatives have a lot to celebrate with the launch of Khan Al Joukh at the Beirut Souks. We spoke to the new residents to hear what they had to say about their brands.
Dedicated to fashion and creative concepts, Khan Al Joukh is an initiative by Solidere for young designers and craftspeople to meet and create an alternative experience in Beirut Souks. The six new spaces were opened on 24 November, bringing together the capital’s design community and supporters.
1. Creative Space Beirut
The free school for fashion design offers education to young, talented students who lack the resources to pursue an education in design. Two spaces were created: the first atelier bursts with rolls of colored materials and the second is a work space for the designers.
“We offer a three-year program. The students each design and produce one collection per year and display them during an annual fashion show which takes place in November,” says Karina Goulordava, the outreach manager for Creative Space Beirut.
Visit creativespacebeirut.com for more information.
2. The Starch Foundation
Starch Foundation has now opened its second boutique in Beirut Souks named “Starched.” The foundation is a famous non-profit organization that helps launch Lebanese designers by guiding them through the process of developing their own collections as well as promoting them.
Now, at the new location, they have introduced 12 prominent designers including Bashar Assaf, Charbel Saade, Das Rings, Diane Ferjane, Elie Metni, Lara Khoury, Margherita, Mira Hayek, Nour Najem, Perverse Label, Roni Helou and Timi Hayek.
Sevag Dilsizian, founder of DAS rings, says, “We all belong to the Starch Foundation. It’s a one-year program where each year, four to six designers are chosen.”
Visit starchfoundation.org for more information.
3. Salim Azzam
Salim Azzam, the embroidery designer and storyteller, proudly talks about the soft, white clothes on display in his new shop, each embroidered with a unique design. “It’s a small shop that brings talent from different villages around Lebanon to one place. The embroidery brings the pieces to life,” says Azzam.
Visit salimazzam.com for more information.
4. Studio 2 – Fabric Textile Studio and Sahar’s Paper Objects
Studio 2 brings together textile and paper, each run by an independent designer. Sahar Hafda manages Sahar’s Paper Objects and Stephanie Nehme handles the Fabric Textile Studio.
“My collections here are examples of my early patterns printed on 100% natural fabrics using eco-conscious inks and dyes. These patterns are printed in Europe then brought back here. I am invested in Fabric Textile Studio in the hopes of starting a print-on-demand service in Lebanon, where the customers can order samples of the available textiles or customize their own ideas,” says Nehme.
Sahar Hafda is known for her unique crafts of handmade jewelry and out-of-the-box home decor. She creates timeless pieces out of recycled paper, old magazines, newspapers and glue.
For more information visit fabrictextilestudio.com
5. Blocksfinj (Creative Foam Design)
Bringing a new concept to modern furniture, Blocksfinj sets itself apart with a collection of furniture and decorative objects made from foam yet look like marble. The foam matures organically and reacts to light around it. It also ages with time, transforming into a deep yellow color.
Chrystel Karam, the creator of Blocksinj experimented with foam at the family-owned foam factory, Nasri Karam and Sons, in order to better understand its properties. She says, “What we do here is design in foam. We create furniture and decorative items. Some items become playful elements for kids where they can learn basic shapes.”
Visit blocksfinj.co for more information.
6. Gray Gardens
Gray Gardens introduces nature into homes in a simple yet stylish way. Danya Ahmed, who runs the nursery, says, “I have been working on this project for about three years now, but this will be my first shop in which I can display my plants. I design plants that are custom made. The pots are handmade to suit the plant they contain, varying in material and size to give something a little different to liven up the home.”
Visit graygardens.co for more information.