Stepping out of the elevator Thursday evening, we found ourselves in the middle of a veritable construction site, but the final destination—a top floor penthouse suite—was fully furnished and decorated for the chic soirée ahead. Once outside on the rooftop, guests took in breathtaking views of Beirut and the Mohammad Al-Amin mosque, and the intimate crowd filled the air with laughter. Tables were decorated with leaves and lemons, and a musician took up a seat to perform classic Arabic songs while guests dined on an exquisite menu of traditional Lebanese food.
The evening fete, which also drew couturier Rami Kadi out from his atelier, was held to celebrate Gabriel & Guillaume’s collaboration with Nour al Nimer—the designer behind Nimerology, a London-based, high-end tableware brand. Gabriel & Guillaume is a pop-up decorative arts gallery founded by Nancy Gabriel and Guillaume Excoffier. Having met at Excoffier’s namesake store in Paris, the two soon discovered they shared a passion for art and design. Together, they came up with the concept of a traveling gallery—one that would enable them to showcase their passion for decorative arts. Enter Gabriel & Guillaume. The pop-up gallery featured its curated collection in Beirut in 2013 and 2014, and in Paris in 2015 at the historical Salons Christofle. Now, the duo is back in Beirut for another exhibition.
Outside on the rooftop and high above the chaos the city is known for, Style.com/Arabia caught up with Excoffier. “It’s mostly vintage,” he replied when asked about the curated décor. Gabriel piped in, “Now, in Beirut, people are mixing contemporary pieces with traditional ones inherited from their parents.” She continued, “In Paris, design aficionados are not easily influenced when it comes to decorating their homes. They trust what they like and Beirut is heading in the same direction.” Gabriel is a mother-of-three, so Excoffier occasionally travels alone when looking for pieces to expand their collection. However, they always stay in touch and do not select anything without each other’s approval. “We have to consider who the piece is from, the collection, the edition, the quality, and the authenticity,” Gabriel explained.
Born in Beirut to a Palestinian father and a Turkish mother, al Nimer is the founder and designer behind luxury home décor brand, Nimerology. Having grown up in Beirut, studied in London, and recently relocated to Istanbul, al Nimer credits her adventures across the globe when it comes to the story behind her collection. “My inspiration comes from my personal journeys and travels,” she revealed. Named, “I left my heart in Mexico,” the elegant line of gold-plated, bone china tableware features deep colors and intricate illustrations; carefully drawn flowers and animals; and is limited to 200 pieces created for Gabriel & Guillaume.
Gabriel commented on the line of tableware, saying “We did a lot of working sessions, which was a difficult exercise as there are so many layers of color, and then the drawings. This required a lot of maturity to make sure the final result was well executed.” Gabriel applauded the young talent. “She’s having a lot of success,” she praised.
The Gabriel & Guillaume pop-up exhibition is located at District //S, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon and will run until June 18th (Monday to Saturday) from 10:30am until 8:00pm.