While normally we run a week’s worth of images from design notables in our colour diary strand, this month’s subject designer Rana Salam wowed us with her exotic snaps from her hometown of Beirut so much that we couldn’t bring ourselves to edit them to seven. Beirut-born Rana is the founder and art director at Rana Salam Design Studio, which works on various projects in the design industry from interiors to products. The pop culture – or ‘shabby culture’ – of the Middle East is an influencing factor behind Rana’s distinctive style, and whatever they are working on, colour is a major part of it.
When she was growing up in Beirut – and as the daughter of one of Lebanon’s notable modernist architects, Assem Salam – Rana would hit the streets on her scooter to take in visual memories that have continued to shape her work today. She opened her first design studio in London in 2002 with clients including Harvey Nichols and Liberty of London and after eight years returned to her roots in bustling and ever-changing Beirut. Here are her colour snaps from a week in her vibrant city.
“I love lemons and anything yellow. Tourmous is a local snack eaten by the sea. Served with a sprinkle of lemon juice.”
“Hijab in window outside a ribbon shop.”
“The studio wall for staff.”
“Kitchen Clutter at the studio, where I feel most at home…vintage books found in London live now in Beirut.”
“Glass Pepsi bottles are still sold in many local shops around Beirut.”
“Scenes from the ribbon shop.”
“Cushion accessories stacked high inside our medicine cabinet.”
“Sample corner of the studio, ready for many ideas to come.”
“This morning it’s Lemon Labneh at the studio, with lemon oil and zaatar.”
“Vintage School bus steering wheel found at the kids’ school.”
“Vintage school bus graphics also found at the school.”
“It’s artichoke’s season: freshly prepared at home for friends on Sunday during Beirut Design Week.”
“Wooden chair’s rental sign found in Basta…”
“…along with this vintage chair spotted on the way.”
“This for holy water and I found it inside the church next to the studio. It’s the month of the Virgin in Lebanon so I went to church this week and came across this beautiful object.”
“Back to the studio collecting our digital prints for our Monday launch during Design Week.”
“Studio filing is a key Friday activity!”
For more colour in Beirut, follow Rana’s Instagram.