As part of London Design Biennale, designer Nathalie Harb represents Lebanon with The Silent Room, an urban intervention that proposes public shelters where citizens can freely rest, insulated from the noises of the city and other sensorial aggressions.
Inspired by Nathalie Harb’s hometown Beirut, where silence has become a commodity for the privileged, the Silent Room responds to this context, providing a cocoon-like space isolated from the city’s noise. It offers the luxury of silence to everyone, regardless of background or status. Visitors enter a perforated brick and timber tower and ascend a staircase to the wooden upper level, which houses the Silent Room.
The light inside is very dim, providing the absolute minimum of visual information, the walls and floor are lined with fabric, who is also in a very subdued tone and eight speakers gently broadcast a field recording of the city at its quietest moments. This is all that the visitor will see and hear. “It’s not a space that’s designed to be seen, so much as sensed,” says Nathalie Harb.