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Villa Badaro by Rabih Geha Architects - Descroll | Descroll

Villa Badaro by Rabih Geha Architects

July 1, 2016

Villa Badaro – Located on a quiet side street of Badaro, distanced from the traffic and chaos of the city and veiled by trees older than the house itself, is the grand Villa Badaro. Standing side by side with its modern counterparts, this stunning restaurant property is an icon of an era that the city has all but forgotten.

One of the few remaining early twentieth century buildings to survive the pre-war years, Villa Badaro is a place with history rooted in its foundations. Unique to its surroundings, the restaurant displays cracks and rough edges as evidence of a life well lived. The combination of intervention and preservation makes Villa Badaro a rare gem in the middle of this bar and restaurant saturated area.

Unlike much of the renovations across Beirut, the restaurant was not given a makeover to look like a shinier, newer version of its former self. Instead, Rabih Geha Architects brought the restaurant back to life, respecting its heritage and celebrating its age by highlighting its flaws and expounding upon its existing magic.

As you walk through the gates, you are immediately struck by a sense of nostalgia. The garden is adorned with terrazzo top tables surrounded by chairs, with a touch of fresh, lighter colors that furnishes the space with a natural glow. The design features no excess, or frills, effortlessly preserving a way of life in a previous century. Rabih Geha Architects widened the stairs towards the villa, to encourage casual lounging and surrounding trees and bushes seem to have developed naturally over time.

Steel and glass frames that canopy the garden, draws attention upwards to a lighting display that competes with the sky above. The main dining area exists as a perfect contrast between classical and contemporary, with seven layers of paint removed to expose the original walls and a stainless steel bar proudly that is unashamedly modern.

Venture further inside and discover the restaurant’s only hidden secret. The restrooms, bright red and striking, are a playful, vibrant touch to an otherwise serene environment. Subtle contemporary details such as these revive the property.

When it comes to renovating one of the few survivors of Beirut’s early 20th century buildings, one can either attempt to mimic what is lost, or boldly invite elements of modernity into the realm of the past. Rabih Geha Architects has successfully transported 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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