Welcome to our first blog post! The Lighthouse, to our minds, stands for lifestyle, food, design and community, – ideally in a constellation that renders the space well curated, timeless yet experimental.
Another passion that is central to The Lighthouse’s raison d’être (so to speak) that is shared among its partners and customers alike, is the love of the written word. Alas, we could not think of a more appropriate way of inaugurating our monthly blog than by quoting Nobel Prize Laureate and German-born writer extraordinaire Herman Hesse. In his 1930 essay titled The Magic of the Book, Hesse reminds us that no matter how much technology may evolve, “reading will remain an elemental human hunger” (as elegantly re-stated by one of our blog idols, Maria Popova, in her brilliant blog Brain Pickings).
“We need not fear a future elimination of the book. On the contrary, the more that certain needs for entertainment and education are satisfied through other inventions, the more the book will win back in dignity and authority.”
And what a perfect gift his books would make! Speaking of gifts, a topic which will feature prominently in our future blog entries, please allow us to share a few pearls of wisdom with you when it comes to the art of gifting. The ideal gift, according to The Lighthouse Team, should be timeless yet edgy. Sophisticated but functional. Price point and provenance are relevant factors but not the main drivers. Most importantly, it needs to tell a story. And you, dear gift giver, need to tell that story as eloquently as humanly possible, then share it with the gift taker for heightened pleasure. Voilà tout !
Finding this perfect, “box-ticking” gift may feel daunting, maybe even inaccessible at times, but fear not for there is precedence. The Lighthouse founders, Hashem Montasser and Hany Bassiouny, found themselves in this precise predicament a few years ago as they set out to find the perfect gift for a friend’s 35th birthday. Unable to find the right gift in Dubai, they decided to scour the globe in search for unique products and designs, researching and visiting their favorite concept stores including Corso Como in Milan and the — since retired– iconic Colette in Paris. It was during this period H&H concluded that a communal space where food and design shared a common language not only was missing from Dubai, but much needed. And the idea of the Lighthouse was born. They promptly teamed up with renowned chef and food supremo Izu Ani who shared their passion and conviction. And the rest is history as they say…
I Was In Rome And I Thought of You
Incidentally, this brings back memories of how Chez Dédé, a design brand from Milano, fell into our lap to become one of the first brands The Lighthouse featured on its shelves when it opened in d3. Layla Aldabbagh, who, post-launch, joined our team as Creative Director, gifted Hashem a Chez Dédé notebook in the winter of 2015. Layla stumbled upon the notebook, aptly titled L’Armageddon Arrive et je n’ai rien à Mettre, during a shopping spree in Rome with a friend. A firm believer in not limiting gifts to occasions, Layla had Hashem in mind, thinking that the facetious French title suited his personality. Of course, upon receiving his gift from Layla, Hashem gave an approving chuckle.
Looking back, it must have been a charming compliment to Layla seeing Chez Dédé featured at The Lighthouse — or the sign of a perfect gift.