Stereo Kitchen restaurant and bar is an addition to a 1960's building, located on the topmost floor of an office building in central Beirut, Lebanon. Designed by architect Paul Kaloustian it uses a simple design strategy to create complex spatial possibilities and perceptual effects. The restaurant bar is a simple glass pavilion that enjoys views of the city from one side and the Mediterranean sea with Beirut’s Port from the other. Internally the use of materials such as cast concrete, timber furniture and a metal ceiling creating a sense of continuity from the inside space to the outside. Paul has taken the buildings constraints and made them into beautiful features, stunning space.
In my experimental architecture I like to challenge the idea of "scale". Here I challenged the low ceiling perception but pushing it to an ambiguous point:
To some degree it is very low (the highest point is 215cm on the last step where people can touch the ceiling, it is a point where one might think he will be feeling of tension or maybe the opposite it's a feeling of domination), but creating an "endless roof" that projects the interior space to the outside thus a sense of lightness overwhelms the visitor.
The top of the pavilion is constituted partly by the existing concrete slab and partly by an added metal structure cantilevering to cover the whole area below. The edge of the cantilever becomes very thin (2cm) and runs along the whole length of the façade (25meters) and the corner on both sides.
The terrace "wrapping" the rounded glass volume celebrates the two opposite conditions of the crowded urbanity and the stretched wide horizon while creating ambiguous relations with the inside: one engages and perceives the “glass pavilion” in multiple ways depending on the light and time of the day or night, it could appear as a solid volume peeling open, revealing its interior or maintaining a certain amount of “opacity” and intrigue while the glass becomes once a window of display case of the people inside or a display case of the facing city.
Stereo Kitchen’s appeal might not only lie in its array of effects but also in its program and utility. Within its limited footprint, its uses and possibilities are unlimited.
Paul Kaloustian is an award-winning architect based in Beirut. He graduated from the GSD Harvard (2001) and worked at Herzog & de Meuron before opening his own office in 2002.
Floor + added circular steps are cast concrete
Bar's top in steel painted grey
Stools: custom designed by Paul Kaloustian Architect solid walnut wood (bar and weekend set-up)
Dining chairs: Plank - blocco by Naoto Fukasawa
Dining tables: custom designed by Paul Kaloustian Architect, removable top
Concrete "benches": custom designed by Paul Kaloustian Architect - light weight concrete fixed on floor with movable table in between
Glass: 56mm double glazing 20mm air gap - K glass (Roland Khoury)
False ceiling: custom made V shaped perforated metal pieces by .PSLAB + spots
Sound system: ALCONS