Sharjah, United Arab Emirates – ‘Nature was his mentor,’ Lebanese chef Maroun Chedid’s website states proudly. Known for his personal philosophy that values a connection with nature and respects its role in cooking, the renowned chef and television personality’s new restaurant Shababeek is informed by the Mediterranean landscape in both its menu and its bright, open interior.
Collaborating closely with Chedid, founder Pallavi Dean unites eclectic details of local and international origin and subtle Islamic patterns by drawing on the regional nature. The contemporary concept infuses organic images through geometric forms. Pendant lights by Vibia and standing floor lamps by Mooi in the shape of perching birds are situated among leaf-patterned textiles, rattan furniture, and of course, large living plants. An entire olive tree stands in the foyer as an ode to a staple ingredient in Lebanese food. Furniture from iconic brands such as Vitra and Thonet are placed alongside custom-made benches and tables by local artisans, while exotic birds fly across the ceiling in a custom-designed wallpaper.
The multilayered concept references Lebanon’s myriad historical influences over the past 2,000 years: reviving ancient Roman arches to form the windows, and taking inspiration from ornate Islamic details for the moulding. A floor-to-ceiling bevelled mirror and locally sourced terrazzo also add subtle interpretations of not-so-subtle 1920s Parisian glamour.
Such disparate influences could easily be lost or confused in the 550-sq-m space, but the natural motif and consistent materiality elegantly merge Roman ruins and modern Islamic art within Chef Chedid’s vision – making the ornithology-themed restaurant a crossroads of culture.