Category Archives: Design

Piper-Heidsieck Champagne And Food Pairing At Les Caves de Taillevent

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Every time I go to Les Caves de Taillevent, I fall in love with that place once again. I love the setup, the caves, the staff and more importantly the food and alcohol pairing sessions that take place there.


I was invited along with 8 or 9 other people last Friday for a session of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and food pairing. To be honest, I am not a big Champagne fan but I’ve never had Piper-Heidsieck before, and given that it’s one of the oldest Maison de Champagne around the world and has an excellent reputation, I thought I’d give it a try and get to know more about Champagne tasting. Moreover, my good friend and the super talented Nicole Maftoum was the chef for the evening, so I didn’t want to miss out on her dishes.


Before we started the tasting, we were served hot freshly baked bread with a delicious herb butter. Afterwards, we got to try out Piper-Heidsieck’s finest champagne, the Rare Vintage 2002 bottle which is a blend of 17 crus which matured for over seven years in the House’s cellars. This was one of the best champagnes I’ve ever tasted and it was different from all champagnes I’ve had before. In fact we all agreed that they should have kept it for last as the bottles that followed weren’t as good as this one.


The dishes we got along with this bottle consisted of 1 oyster with Salmon sashimi in a pea puree with fish roe, followed by an organic salad greens with tuna sashimi, quail eggs, edamame and a parmesan champagne vinaigrette. I loved the raw fish but what I enjoyed most was the salad dressing.



We got to taste the 2006 vintage brut and the cuvée brut afterwards with a Porcini Rigatoni with Saffron dish and a Quinoa Paella with shrimps and a creamy thai-base sauce. Both bottles were good but I’d rather have the 2002 with both dishes. Speaking of which, I loved the Porcini and the Quinoa Paella that followed was fresh and tasty.




Moving on to the best part of the evening, we were served four different desserts along with a glass of Rosé Sauvage. The Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage has a hint of red fruits and is elaborated with a majority of Pinoits Noir, which matched perfectly with the Red Beans Dark Chocolate brownie, The Labneh Red fruits cake with nuts and dried berries, the Chickpeas fruit tart with vanilla pudding and the Rose sauvage Champagne ice cream.

I was anxiously waiting for the Labneh, yup Labneh, Red Fruits cake and it was very light and delicious! The chickpeas fruit tart was surprisingly good and the ice cream was amazing. It was the perfect ending to a thrilling and enriching experience.

All in all, I got to appreciate champagne a bit more with this tasting and I would gladly have a glass of that Rare Vintage 2002 bottle with fish and seafood.




Jounieh Floating Island or Cedar Island?

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I was reading an article in Al-Akhbar about a floating Cedar Island in the bay of Jounieh, then I saw that Lebanondebate posted about this as well with a picture that reminded me of a very old project (Cedar Island) I had heard of years ago and that was planned to be built off the Damour coast. I don’t know how Al-Akhbar managed to mix up both projects but it looks like they are talking about the Jounieh Floating Island project, which is basically a Self Propelled Floating Resort done by a company called Beirut International.

The website doesn’t say much about the project and whether it will be done anytime soon. The company’s Facebook page says it should be done by 2015 and I have to admit that it’s an interesting concept if it doesn’t cost much but I don’t know how sustainable it is. As for the Cedar Island project, the website no longer exists and the project itself is a very ambitious plan that emerged more than 5 years ago if I am not mistaken and that I doubt will ever take place.


Bernard Khoury’s Penthouse in Beirut

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That’s a pretty cool penthouse that the majority of Lebanese probably will never be able to buy. Check out more awesome pictures [Here].

This spacious penthouse in Beirut is owned by 45-year-old Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury. He chose a home with its hodgepodge city view over the more sought-after romantic sea view. It happened by circumstance, when his friend, Marc Doumit, a developer, bought the land on Damascus Road at a low price in the late 1990s after it had been sitting deserted for nearly a decade following the end of the 15-year civil war. Mr. Khoury’s family moved in last year. [WallStreetJournal]



PS: All pictures are taken by Roger Moukarzel for The Wall Street Journal

Lebanese Designers Marc Dibeh and Marc Baroud’s Wires Series Among The Best of Design Miami 2013

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The Wall Street Journal named Marc Dibeh and Marc Baroud’s Wires Series as one of five standout attractions from the annual exhibition of contemporary design, which is taking place in Miami between December 4 and 8.

Marc Baroud and Marc Dibeh, two well established Lebanese designers, are bringing forth a display of household items in a series titled ‘Wires’, where, quite literally, an industrial metal pipe is used to create each item; from a mirror, to a tray, to a series of differently designed shelves, this single tube of pipe is cut, bent, and melded into intricately curved shapes, thus cre- ating a minimalistic design that rids the eye of any excess aesthetic additions.

My favorite object by Marc Dibeh is the Love Bird. It’s a table-top lamp that has a sexy toy (Dildo) stowed in its side.

marc-dibeh_love-the-bird (1)

marc-dibeh_love-the-bird (4)

You can read the full article [Here] and check out their works [Here].

Beirut 2090

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Beirut Design Week is organizing a competition where graphic designers and creative people have to design a poster from the future that envisions Beirut in the year 2090. I don’t know why they chose a date 77 years from now but it would be interesting to see what the participants will come up with. One thing is for sure is that if we keep going at this current rate, we’d barely become another Dubai by 2090.

Read more about it [Here].

We are asking graphic designers and creative people of Lebanon to design a poster from the future that envisions Beirut in the year 2090.

Imagine the world in 77 years from now. What has Beirut become:

A haven of cultural renaissance and a high-tech hub in the Arab World?

A city of polluted decay enforced by war and destruction?

Another Dubai, with a dense gridlock of high-rises and cars?

Or an entirely new concept of city life and culture that is yet unimaginable by the citizens of today?

This is your chance to explore your imagination of your city’s future with no constraints, and show the public your creative design and conception skills. You will design a poster that acts as a personal visualization and interpretation of Beirut in the year 2090, while depicting a scene or showing an essential side of the city’s future character. You may use any media such as illustration, photography, typography, or computer generated graphics as long as it can be sent as a digital file and printed on a poster. [Link]

TIME’s Top 10 of Everything 2012

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Goran coverage From Azaz August 15
Top 10 pictures of 2012. Picture taken by Goran Tomasevic. Azaz, Syria. Aug. 15, 2012.

I always enjoy reading Time’s Top 10 lists from year to year. Check out the 55 wide-ranging lists [Here].


The HuffingtonPost has a bigger album of 2012’s best pictures that you can check [Here].

“Geek the Artist!” by Vick Vanlian

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Whenever I am looking for an original and unusual gift for a birthday or any occasion, Galerie Vanlian is where I would go. Once you go in that gallery, you get lost in the wide selection of unique, fashionable, classic and sometimes way too eccentric accessories and home furniture. My favorite items were the Ritzenhoff beer glasses, mugs and shots and I would always tell myself that I’d buy the whole collection one day if I had the money. For some reason though, I always thought that the items displayed are all imported from abroad and never imagined they’d be created by Lebanese designers.

However, and as it turns out, a large number of Vanlian’s furniture and accessories are developed and created by in-house Lebanese designers and there’s an International Interior Design Department located in the heart of Beirut and headed by Vick Vanlian “who supervises and oversees the work of a team of professional designers catering the design of any project regardless of size and location.” [Website]

I am sure many of the blog’s readers already knew about that but I had no clue until recently and this is one of the reasons that pushed me to post about it, to let more people know about talented Lebanese such as Vick and his team. Another reason is the Vick Vanlian event that I got invited to this upcoming Friday, which I am looking forward to attending even though I am as far from being artistic as they can be.

The reason why I am attending is because I’ve always been intrigued to know how artists and interior architects come up with ideas and concepts, and also because I get to have a say “as a Geek” in developing one item design direction for 2013 (If I manage to come up with something interesting lol!).

Fore more info about Vick Vanlian or Galerie Vanlian, click [Here] and [Here].

PS: The event is by invite only but I will be tweeting updates [@LeNajib] and posting pictures on Instagram [LeNajib] the whole time.

Inflation in Lebanon

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This production is part of the Lebanese Economic Association project (TheLEAproject): Upgrading Lebanon’s Economic Analytical Capacity; a project funded by the International Development Research Centre, Canada. It is a short animation explaining what is Inflation, what is the CPI, how it is calculated and how Inflation should be measured more accurately in Lebanon.

Illustration and Animation are done by the one and only Maya Zankoul.