launched in 2010 by architects pascale wakim and nicolas bellavance-lecompte, carwan gallery ambitiously set out to be a directional platform for contemporary design in the region by exhibiting bespoke and limited edition designs of renowned architects and designers. after a year-long stay in modern building in beirut's hamra neighbourhood, the gallery has just relocated to the historic villa paradiso across town. originally built as a residence in several stages, from the late 1800s to the late 1920s as a residence, the structure fell into disrepair when the civil war started in 1975. rich in ornaments, the mansion features a beautiful, triple-arched window on the first floor, lofty ceilings and classic tiled floors in the style of beirut’s late ottoman era, while other sections bear the distinct hallmarks of the french mandate style.
restoration of villa paradiso luckily is well underway, and the opening of carwan gallery on the premises seems an ironic counter move in a neighbourbood that has seen a large number of heritage buildings make way for bold new, and often disputed, urban redevelopment projects. the venue's inaugural show, entitled 0.91 cubic meter, presents a new commission of architects rana haddad and pascal hachem a.k.a. 200grs.. the lebanese design duo have explored the balance between handwork and basic machinery in producing functional, sober, candid, and sometimes bold architectural items, including tables, consoles and objects, all exclusively designed for carwan gallery. location: villa paradiso, rue mar antonios [gemmayzeh].