The idea behind this project came from the frustration I experienced during my quest to try to live a chemical free life in Lebanon. The country, with all of its natural magnificence, lacks any local natural cosmetics brand. So, I decided to solve this problem through space in my interior design senior project. This is an experimental idea of mine called The Beauty Market.
Architects: Aly Alesber
I’m sure you didn’t think twice about the shampoo you used in the shower this morning. Why would you? It’s the same soap you’ve been using for the past 2 years. Even your mom approves of it. What could possibly be wrong?
Triclosan. Sulfates. Parabens. Formaldehyde. Do you know what these are? Most people don’t. And yet in one way or another, we use these every day without a second thought. We assume commercial products are more or less safe. We’ve only been using them our whole lives, and nothing has ever happened. Well, not directly. It is evident from increasing cancer rates – among other problems –
something is not right. We are living a chemical-laden existence. From the food we eat, to the air we breathe. To every everything we spray, slather, and smear into our skin. You have been warned.
Think of it like this. Skin, like our intestines, absorb anything it comes into contact with. The substances they absorb then enter the bloodstream. We would never put harsh chemical inside of us. So, what makes it okay to put them on our skin? What if the products we accepted to put inside our bodies were used for our skin as well?
Food. A seemingly simple, obvious solution. But how can we make food-based cosmetics popular? Become the norm rather than a hipster trend? Make them just as much a part of our lives as the food we eat?
The answer: cook and serve cosmetics like we would cook and serve food. Not just a restaurant. But a whole market. A space that would prove that you can have your makeup and eat it to.
A major commercial district in the capital of Lebanon, featuring piazzas and public spaces. The site itself is two buildings connected with an upper floor bridge, with an area of approximately 2000 m2.
For people to experience this overlap between food and cosmetics, the program of this project resembles that of a food space [ex: a cafe] to bluntly translate the idea that cosmetics should = food. The products are so natural, you can eat them.
A ‘Café’ was the initial idea, but due to the required size of the project, the idea was broadened – it became a ‘food market’ – and within it, different stands with different functions – ‘food’ stands, a ‘grocery’ stand, a ‘cafe’, and a D.I.Y. ‘cooking’ area.
The interior space reflects that of a food space, both aesthetically and functionally. Literally and metaphorically.
Food Stands – Love watching live cooking? This is the place to go. Have your orders custom made right before your eyes. There are 6 stands – skin, hair, bath, body, makeup, and fragrance.
D.I.Y. cooking space – Cooking classes are held here, featuring guest artisans from all over the country.
Café – Come in, sit, and relax. The menu features food for the skin and the stomach. Order from our ready-made products and from our snack bar. This space also features a sampling area with sinks and mirrors. On the run? Order products take-away.
Grocery stand – Shop here for trusted raw ingredients to cook cosmetics at home.
The second building adjacent to the Beauty Market to be the headquarters, including a food lab for testing new products. The aim is to open small branches all around the country, even the world.
True to market style, the space planning was based on no specific guideline, but rather inspired by Beirut Souks irregular grid layout. Functions were organized based on service, creating both main streets & small streets, and “market squares” for gatherings and exhibitions. This layout creates a community feeling, encouraging people to come inside, wander, engage with others, and with the space itself. The goal is for people to feel free like they would in any typical market.
Everything is completely open to emphasize the idea that there is nothing to hide, these are genuine organic cosmetics. No solid
partitions, (except where privacy needed i.e. the bathrooms) but rather minimal wireframe structures that serve to define the zones and create much needed shelving. The openness serves for a friendly atmosphere, inviting people to look around and see the many functions. Each volume is unique in terms of size, shape, materials, and/or graphical and lighting installation.
All materials are neutral colors, to the let the gardens and products steal the show. The entire existing space has a grungy, raw feel –
so customers can live the organic experience. All the added structures are clean cut, with cosmetic-clean finishes.
Introducing a system & collection of details unique to the Beauty Market brand. Expanding the business would mean adapting to different sites and situations, so creating a modular, ready-to-build system was key.
The volumes are made up of a bar-and-joint structure with standardized dimensions, multiples of 45 cm. Customizable attachments include: storage elements, pitched roof, counter-tops, mezzanine flooring and planters. The volumes can be adjusted length, width, and height- wise.
The storage elements, true to market style, comes in different forms of baskets and shelves, suited for different product types. Each piece hangs from the structure, making it easy to instantly change the volumes display. Display lighting is clip-on, adaptable to each new display arrangement.
Aly Alesber is a Lebanese Canadian Interior Designer with a B.A. in Interior Design, and a top student of the design faculty at Notre Dame University, Lebanon. She is also a self-taught graphic designer. Simple, obvious, and stylish design is her specialty. She is now a freelancer seeking new opportunities in a big city.