38m - Demo is a very relaxed place on Lebanon street just off Gouraud. Dimly lit,...
Maze of colours and Middle Eastern Popular Culture
It is indeed impossible to miss Rana Salam’s shop on Abdel Wahab Inglizi close to the Albergo Hotel, near Sodeco. The façade is colourful and inside, Middle Eastern political and cultural icons rule: Abdel Gamal Nasser’s profile features on a retro tabletop and Oum Khoultoum adorns button pins. What to Warhol was Campbell’s tomato soup are ‘chiclets’ chewing gums to Salam, a great fan of pop art who masterfully celebrates and elevates Lebanese and Arab cult brands and paraphernalia. Warhol would, no doubt, have shopped here.
Since starting out in London where she obtained degrees from Central St. Martins and the Royal College of Art, Salam is considered one of the most celebrated designers who use Middle Eastern popular art and culture in their designs.
She is as passionate as she is determined to change perceptions of the Middle East and uses design and humour to do so. Salam specializes in art direction, design and consultation for retail, product, print, hospitality and exhibitions, besides other commercial activities. She frequently undertakes collaborations - she has created Nostalgie d’Orient by Bassam Fattouh - and has worked on a great variety of projects, counts a bank among her clients, as well as museums in London and in Beirut, a musician, a fine chocolatier and created and executed the theme for gala events. She furthermore has designed various cafes (Laziz in Hamra), created textile designs for Nada Debs, worked for Lebanese furniture designers Bokja Design, and designed invitations and books, her most famous one with Malu Halasa, The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie – Intimacy and Design.
In her shop you will find cushions, place boards, cutting boards, paper cups, button pins, puffs, iPhone 4 covers and more. She also stocks a fair bit of kitchen stuff like aprons and kitchen towels. Her bestsellers are the 'cushion for pop stars' and ‘shaher al assal’ honeymoon cushions for Valentine’s.
For all those hunting for unique designer souvenirs from Beirut, Rana Salam Design undoubtedly is among the best options.