How did you come up with the idea of creating a traveling gallery with your partner Nancy Gabriel ?

I met Nancy Gabriel in 2013. She traveled a lot and when she discovered my store in Paris she really liked the style. I was already mixing contemporary and vintage pieces. So we started working together on her apartment in Paris. She wanted a different decoration from her very contemporary house in Beirut, she wanted something much more Parisian. That’s how we started working together in Paris and quickly she suggested that I should set up my own shop in Beirut. We started like that, like an event, and as it went very well, we continued organizing events together but with much more significant pieces like what we do now. Compared to the contemporary world, it is much more modern than a permanent gallery. If you’re just creating a gallery that is not moving you will not get the attention of people. So the idea is to present these pieces in different spaces, mainly in apartments as it is much more personal, to allow people to project themselves.

Beyond the ephemeral nature, how do you differentiate your gallery from the other ones?

We also differentiate ourselves by the presentation of our exhibition as we’ve always presented our pieces in a “live interior setting » as if you are entering into a collector’s house. We also differentiate ourselves with the choice of pieces. For instance, we insist a lot on Brazilian pieces but not on what is most obvious when one thinks of Brazilian designers. We are mainly presenting pieces by Jose Zanine Caldas, a very great Brazilian designer who works mainly with plywood. We also insist on unique and rare furniture from the 80s and 90s like the sofa designed by Zaha Hadid, furniture designed by Garouste and Bonetti, by Martin Szekely for the Neotu Gallery, etc.

Can you tell us more about your current exhibition at the Steinway Building?

Initially we wanted to meet American collectors so we participated at the Salon Art + Design that is great but quite short. We wanted to exhibit more pieces, always in the same atmosphere, and thanks to Guillaume Coutheillas from French California we found this fabulous penthouse in the old Steinway building which almost looks like a French house. It is a 5000 square-feet duplex that we entirely decorated with a very large part of our collection, from 1900 to 2017. For instance, there is a fireplace designed by Carlo Bugatti, furniture from the 1980s, but also pieces designed by contemporary designers and especially Lebanese designers like MariaGroup + SpockDesign or Ranya Sarakbi and Niko Koronis.

What would be your dream project ?

I have always dreamed of designing a hotel or a restaurant. We are working on collector’s pieces but it doesn’t mean we are presenting them on a podium. On the contrary, we definitely prefer to create spaces where we simply feel good. Creating an atmosphere has always been at the heart of our activity and creating an atmosphere for a hotel or restaurant would be awesome.

Do you think of a particular city where you would like to do this project?

No, anywhere! Every city is interesting! Whether you go to Mexico City, NY, London, Paris or Beirut, they all have their unique and personal universe. And what is interesting is that a hotel or a restaurant is already a kind of world apart within a city.

Finally, according to you, what place do artisans occupy in the world of interior design?

Craftsmen are really the central part of the interior design world and they are more and more important because they are more and more rare. For instance, today very few people now have this incredible opportunity of having an upholsterer. And personally, this is precisely the importance of craftsmanship that I’m looking for in my profession. This is the same for the designers we are working with. There is absolutely no piece that is not the result of a true symbiosis between the designer and the artisan.