The Sensory Delight in Paris

The Lebanese-Polish sisters of the firm, T Sakhi, designs a Middle Eastern restaurant in Paris that reminds one of the unique sensory experiences inherent to every culture.

The Levantine Epicerie and Traiteur, Adar in Paris set in the 49th house of the historical Passage des Panoramas captures the culture of the Levantine without falling into clichés of Orientalism and grandiosity.  Adar is designed by T SAKHI, cofounded by Lebanese-Polish sisters Tessa and Tara Sakhi, a fluid design and architecture studio, hybridizing multiple creative disciplines to awaken all five senses.

ADAR subtly captures Levantine culture without mimicking the raw colors of the landscape in hues of browns, oranges, and off-white, with a central, corrugated mesh chandelier collecting dried spices, vegetables, and flowers to evoke the souk atmosphere. Optimizing the natural filtered light of the passage’s glass roof, T SAKHI’s warm palette integrates walnut and oak wood, oxidized brass, patina walls, Verde olive granite, hand-made ceramic plates, and inox offering rich layers of texture.

Throughout the restaurant, a bodily sense of dynamism is achieved. Stained mirrors reflect the movement of visitors, while chefs Tamir Nahmias and Aaron Rosenthal prepare fresh Levantine cuisine in a striking terra-cotta open-kitchen, framing the act of cooking as a performance. Extending the experience, organic Mediterranean food products from Greece, Lebanon, Turkey, and Italy are available to purchase at ADAR, inviting Levantine elements into Parisian homes.

Often exploring dining as a social act that centers on a shared olfactory and gustatory experience, the sisters created “Silent Echoes,” a transportable dining installation, which satirically visualizes the tendencies of individualisation, self-absorption, and virtual interaction. A repetitive seating arrangement visually bars and isolates the viewer from their dining partner, and must purely rely on video calls to communicate and interact. Grey candles, grey lavender flowers, and grey resin, alongside a sound installation by 21DB of manipulated cutlery sounds, create a juxtaposition, distorting and disorienting the perception of the space’s dimensions. While the monochromatic aesthetics may be singular and harmonious, the symphony of various smells and sounds overwhelm the non-visual senses.

In the restaurant jazz bar SAX by T SAKHI, in the heart of Beirut’s renovated souks, various physical and visual interactions between visitors and performers are mediated through vivacious architectural elements. The sisters subsequently created the film, “And Then I Was Hearing Colours,” inviting director Cyril Aris, musician Mme Chandelier, and fashion house Second St. to explore the different narratives of the space. Inspired by Blue Velvet by David Lynch, and the old jazz bars of a bygone era, the sisters draw heavily on nostalgia to heighten memory in the space.

Photography by Romain Bassenne; Courtesy T Sakhi