David Adjaye creates $100m-Ashti Foundation in Beirut

by Kim Megson | 03 Nov 2015

Art collector and luxury retailer Tony Salamé has opened his own private museum – the Aishti Foundation – in a new mall on the Mediterranean, twenty minutes from downtown Beirut.

The dramatic terracotta-red building, by British architect David Adjaye, cost an eye-watering US$100m (€90.7m, £64.8m) and contains a spa, restaurants, cafes, luxury boutiques, a curated bookshop and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the Lebanese capital. It covers 40,000sq m (430,500sq ft).

Waterfront jetties incorporate an outdoor sculpture park, with exhibits curated by Cecilia Alemani, director of public art for the High Line in New York City.

Salamé founded the Aïshti as a small boutique in 1989. It's grown to be one of the largest luxury department stores in the Middle East. The new building contains 37 high-end stores, including Gucci, Cartier and Yves Saint Laurent.

Commenting on the opening, Adjaye said: “Having spent time in Beirut as a child, it's a pleasure to return to work on this project. I've been excited to explore a new typology, by juxtaposing culture with art, retail and wellbeing.”

The distinctive façade used by Adjaye is inspired by traditional Arabic architecture. Its red aluminium tubular structure protects the building’s exoskeleton and provides shade to visitors. Large windows open onto both the sea and the city to generate a visual dialogue between Beirut’s skyline and the interior galleries.

Salamé's next project will be a 20,000sq m (215,000sq ft) department store designed by Zaha Hadid Architects in the Beirut Souks leisure complex, while Adjaye Associates has submitted plans for the proposed US$122m (€110m, £79.1m) five-storey Studio Museum in Harlem – an institute promoting the work of artists of African descent.

Art collector and luxury retailer Tony Salamé has opened his own private museum – the Aishti Foundation – in a new mall on the Mediterranean, twenty minutes from downtown Beirut. The dramatic terracotta-red building, by British architect David Adjaye, cost an eye-watering US$100m (€90.7m, £64.8m) and contains a spa, restaurants, cafes, luxury boutiques, a curated bookshop and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the Lebanese capital. It covers 40,000sq
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The complex – dubbed the first of its kind in the region – contains luxury fashion boutiques, a curated bookshop, restaurants, cafes, a spa and a rooftop bar / Guillaume Ziccarelli/Aïshti Foundation
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Company profile: SPARCSTUDIO
Sparcstudio always looks to create a unique product that has a real sense of place. Dramatic lighting design is always a key / integral element of Sparcstudio design.
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