We’re always on the lookout for design specialists and love to bring the latest experts to Forward Features. When a copy of the newest Andrew Martin Interior Design Review landed on our laps, we were overwhelmed at the amount of architect & design talent across the globe. One of which is Beirut based architect, Rabih Geha and we’re thrilled that he’s joined us for our latest 5 Minutes With. Let’s have a chat with Rabih…
Hi Rabih! Tell us about yourself and your practice, RG/A (Rabih Geha Architects)…
Of course. So, I’m Rabih and I’m currently living in Beirut with my wife and two children. I founded Rabih Geha Architects in 2006 right after I moved back from Paris.
The practice is all about storytelling – understanding and conveying the context, values and ethos from each project and client. Working closely with a client is absolutely my main priority and I think that shows in each of our projects. I always want to create a sensorial experience, capturing the mood and ambience to blend the spirit of the space.
What inspires you about Beirut and how does this translate into your work?
As much as Beirut could be perceived as an unstable city, the truth is, it has the greatest dynamic of creativity and is a gem of opportunities. It is a city of contradictions; it is violent and gentle at the same time, and for me these ambiguities are very inspiring.
I think context and authenticity in a project, like in a city, are always key. A lot of the spaces we design have history and a sense of legitimacy that we cannot discard. We try to build on it and bring it to the contemporary world without compromising its past. I believe that helps us find the right balance between the history of the space and its future, much like our beloved Beirut.
You’ve worked on an array of incredible projects, from clubs & restaurants through to the Four Seasons Hotel, what has been your proudest project to date and why?
It’s tough to single out one particular project, because each one is unique in a certain way. I believe all the spaces I create have exciting stories to tell, they’re just different stories. Each one is as stimulating as the other – be it the speakeasy like ‘Off & On’, a club like ‘2 weeks’, a restaurant, a rooftop lounge bar like the Four Seasons Hotel, or a fine jewellery boutique like Mukhi Sisters – I have immensely enjoyed designing them all. We’ve started the year on a high-note with an interesting line-up of projects and we are looking forward to more versatile architectural projects coming our way.
You’ve been shortlisted in the Andrew Martin Design Review (huge congrats). Out of your fellow designers, whose work do you find inspiring and are there any up and coming architects/designers we should look out for?
Thank you. We were very delighted to be shortlisted. You should look out for Gregory Gatserelia whose work is also featured in the book, he is a fellow Lebanese Designer and someone I respect and admire. His work is very inspiring.
Beirut for past few years has been booming in the art and design scene and it has become a hub for fostering and generating incredible talent. I have been part of the faculty in the architecture and design school at ALBA since 2006 teaching an experiment-driven and research-oriented workshop and I have had the pleasure of mentoring generations of brilliant designers and architects.
What does the future of architect hold? Are there any trends or innovations we should look out for?
I personally do not believe in trends nor do I follow them as I think each project should relate back to its own narrative. Trends come and go every few years and I try to create spaces and buildings that the client will love always.
The only aspect I do believe comes into play every year is the advancement in technology that impacts our interiors and architecture. Technology is becoming more elaborate and reaching a new level every year – it definitely impacts design.
Personally, I am more about inventing and reinterpreting and impacting people’s lives positively. Architects are participating in shaping a cohesive vision on both macro and micro levels taking stock of the object, furniture, interior, the building, neighbourhood, area and city.
A huge thanks to Rabih for taking the time to speak to us! Check out Rabih Geha Architects to see more fantastic projects and grab yourself a copy of Volume 21 of the Andrew Martin Interior Design Review for a whole host of other incredible designers.
David & Mark x