Posted in Projects on 5 January, 2017

HBA designers infuse Lebanese culture, history and landscape into the design narrative; historic ruins, a cedar tree forest and Mediterranean Sea were among the inspirations for the luxury hotel…

Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) once again defines luxury with its signature interior design and the opening of the Kempinski Beirut, located in the heart of the historic city. The mesmerising waterfront resort features 153 modern, warmly-decorated guestrooms, a dining area bathed in natural sunlight, event spaces and a collection of locally-produced art that is both forward-thinking and rooted in the country’s heritage.

“We took inspiration from natural elements such as the cedar tree forest, the endless sunshine and blues of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as places of cultural significance, like Mount Lebanon and the Byblos ruins, when we began the project,” said lead HBA designer and partner David T’Kint. “Various aspects of the Lebanese culture are reinterpreted through the design to create a continuous thread throughout the property.”


At the hotel’s entrance, beige flooring has been cut to include a Rub el Hizb pattern, the eight-pointed stars, derived from the traditional Muslim symbol. From the top of the nearly 33-foot high ceiling, a shimmering water wall flows, capturing the essence of ancient ruins and symbolising the mountains and the water that flow through them.

On the right side of the lobby, the walls are fully clad with grey wood celebrating the majestic cedar tree forest. Wood planks of various widths capture the texture and natural form of the celebratory tree in Lebanese history, and intricate arabesque motifs are carefully etched into several wood planks adorning the vast walls.

The hotel also features an original, contemporary art collection by Lebanese artists living in the country or abroad, creating an emotional link between the interiors, the location, and the culture. A 23-foot-tall chandelier constructed of clear and amber-toned glass spheres reminiscent of the Lebanese Diaspora hangs in the lobby, its spectacular transient light patterns reflecting the movement of people in and out of Lebanon over the years. The interior façade features dozens of figures perched on the guard rails supporting this same concept. The soft edges on which they sit have a profile inspired by the architectural detailing of the Byblos ruins. As a final touch, area rugs in arabesque patterns and bright tones reflect the sun and sea, bringing the warm Mediterranean outdoors inside.

Lobby lounge

The lobby lounge celebrates the warmth and comfort of a traditional Lebanese home. The interior space embraces sunshine and light, with both subtle and vivid colors, harnessing the simplicity of form with the elegance of proportion. Low beamed ceilings with insets of woven textures are reminiscent of the country’s architecture and fishing culture. Carefully carved screens between seating areas create semi-private retreats and pay homage to traditional practice. Grand arches are raised above individual seating arrangements, embracing guests and creating a secondary layer within the space. A terrace with a spectacular view of the sea and private beach creates an additional destination in the lounge.

The lobby bar is wrapped in an intricate Mashrabiya-inspired screen, modernising a traditional Arabic architectural element. Surrounding the bar is a casual area with small seating arrangements accented by scattered rugs in warm teals and browns, also reminiscent of the cedar tree and Lebanese sky.

A staircase that leads guests below to the bar and all day dining is adorned with a handrail inspired by the branch of the cedar tree. Each landing represents a body of water with an infinity edge detail to create the sense of walking through the water between spaces.


Rich colours of burgundy and teal throughout the bar reflect the country’s vineyards and winemaking culture, while reflective finishes push the boundaries of volume within the small space. The ceiling features insets of oval mirrors creating a sense of lightness and continuity and walls are sculpted with two types of carved screens backed by light and mirror to support this effect. Metal and wood screens with arabesque patterns create layers within the bar and delight the senses. The cigar lounge housing an expansive library of high-end cigars and accessories also resides within the space.

All day dining

Inspired by mint – a key ingredient in Lebanese cuisine – the interiors embrace the freshness and lightness of the herb, engaging the colours of green and teal amidst a beige background. The ceiling is wood-planked in white and grey while upholstered wall panels are rhythmed by carved white architectural screens in decorative patterns. A variety of buffet counters, including a Saj, are arranged within the space to display an array of local traditional dishes. The room is bathed in an abundance of natural light from the terrace and houses a tall green wall on the outer side of the ballroom.

Ballroom and function rooms

In essence, the ballroom is designed as a beautiful white box adorned with arabesque patterns engraved into the walls and ceiling – the ballroom is a celebration of the beloved detailing in local architecture. Hues of white and warm colours are juxtaposed by cool grey tones, giving it a neutral backdrop for various event types. The carpet is heavily patterned in grey biomorphic designs and is complimented by elegant draping chandeliers in similar shapes overhead, made of crystal and laser cut metal. Reflective of the cedar tree forest, the wood clad walls in the function rooms feature various widths of light and medium grey planks. The doors are engraved with cedar leaf patterns, and the carpet designs are a reinterpretation of the needles and blossoms of the cedar trees in tones of grey and green.

Guestrooms and suites

Guestrooms and suites are decorated with a combination of strong lines and geometric patterns, with architectural lighting highlighting the feature wall above the headboard – a direct reinterpretation of the cedar tree flower. Furniture handles are derived from the seed of the cedar tree, and are a continuous element throughout each room. The bathroom has a combined shower and tub in carved beige stone, another reflection of the location. Light slots are adorned with a glass Mashrabiya pattern recalling the screen design located at the bed.

Presidential suite

The presidential suite, a celebration of luxury living within the destination, includes a spectacular feature within the ceiling: a reclaimed piece of architecture retrieved from the old Summerland building and integrated into a contemporary new design. All of the walls in the dining area and lounge are fully clad in wood and sculpted with both small and oversized patterns. The doors of the lounge open into a study, creating a serene private retreat. Beautiful hand woven carpets inspired by the texture of cedar tree bark are a backdrop to elegant arabesque patterns. Mother of pearl inlays appear in small details of archways and furniture. The bedroom and bathroom are a key feature of this suite giving it a level of ultra-luxury and comfort, with a freestanding tub and oversized bathroom increasing the sense of grandeur.

Bridal suite

The bridal suite, a unique feature of the hotel driven by the bridal market, is neutral with gold and burgundy accents, and features an exquisite lounge inspired by the Majlis to create a truly special place for gathering and celebration. A triptych mirror in the bedroom is ideal for dress viewing, and the wall behind the bed with mother of pearl and engraving is reminiscent of lace and a wedding gown itself.

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