I have on my table a beautifully crafted candlestick made from an 18th century gate found in Lebanon. This candlestick is unique – there is none like it in the world. Far more beautiful than the candlestick, however, is the story behind the candlestick.
Disabled and marginalized people; 18th century beauty in the form of old gates, windows,wrought iron banisters; and the vision of a French designer are the ingredients of a Lebanese based company called [beyt] by 2b design. We had the privilege of meeting the creators of this design company on Sunday night over dinner at our home.
The idea is brilliant. Lebanon is full of the leftover beauty of what were once stunning homes. Years of conflict have left many destroyed, others were deserted and sit empty and neglected. The beauty left is in the form of old windows, balustrades, tiles, and gates, now discarded and left as scrap metal to be sold and used elsewhere. The French Designer, Benedicte de Blavous Mubarak, fell in love with these objects and went country-wide seeking out this beauty. As she thought about restoring the beauty of these objects, she was reminded of the need to restore the beauty of people, especially people who are considered unlovely by society and swept to the side, left without purpose, much less any concept of worth or beauty. Those people who are disabled and marginalized with limited job skills. What if you could marry the two? What if you could bring back beauty and purpose to people by creating a company that hires them to skillfully restore these pieces to beauty? A company that pays a livable wage and treats all employees with respect and dignity. The marriage began and one phrase describes the mission:
Restore the Unseen Beauty of the Broken
This company is remarkable. It’s vision is continuing to grow through the wisdom of both the designer and her husband, Raja, who helps with the business side of the company. Along with developing a workforce that includes those who are at the fringes of society, they look to hire a diverse staff that traditionally have been in conflict. In doing so they bring about a different type of restoration, that of reconciling people to each other and to peace. They are looking at expanding to the United States, keeping the same ethos and integrity for both people and designs.
[beyt] by 2b design’s work is not going unnoticed. In August of this year at a design fair in New York City the company received several awards. One was a “Best of the Best” award for social responsibility and ecological sensitivity from the American Society of Interior Designers New York chapter.
I love this inventive way of restoring the beauty and dignity of people while salvaging old objects and making them new. The candlesticks, lamps, pillow covers and more are pictures of God’s redemptive process and restoration of beauty. Even more so are the stories of people working in the company, salvaged and restored to dignity. In Him, author of all beauty, there is worth.
Our guests gave us the candlestick as a hostess gift. I am in awe of their generosity, but even more so, I am grateful that I have this daily reminder of redemption and people who live out God’s vision for restoring our world.
[beyt] by 2b design will soon be selling through abc carpet & home. If you are, or know, an interior designer, let them know about this wonderful company and the unique vision communicated through their products. Also, be sure to check out their Facebook page by clicking here. You may not be able to buy one of their products but clicking the “like” button and posting their page on your wall is an easy way to bring awareness to this company and spread their vision. They can’t do it without others coming alongside them.
Bloggers Note: Raja and Benedicte are now partnering with Habitat for Humanity to restore the homes of those who work for the company. One more step of restoration.
5 thoughts on “18th Century Gates & Candlesticks: Restoring the Broken in Lebanon”
How inspiring!!I am sharing this post! Thanks Marylin!
How awesome! I went and liked their Facebook page, such beautiful creations. I also love the idea of making something beautiful out of something broken.
Another very good one, Marilyn and a subject close to my heart. I love “making something out of nothing” and your friends and their story gives us all something to ponder. Thank you.
P.S. You and Cliff know the most incredible people! You amaze me!
It reminds me of the once beautiful homes in Shikarpur. I wish someone would do the same there. And for the people, too. Not long before we left in 1988, I met a woman who was working so hard to educate disabled children. She had a deaf child, and there were no services at all, no special education, no place in the govt. schools. She had started her own school. I regret that I didn’t stay in touch. Thanks for the reminder to look for beauty everywhere, but especially in the people around us.