Sunday, December 2, 2012

FAUCHON in Beirut

Posh French Fauchon in Gemmayzé (image source)

Fauchon, French gourmet food company, opened in Beirut, at the beginning of Gemmayzé street... But guess what, there is also Fauchon [فوشون] in Geitawi since the 70s

Small neighborhood Lebanese Fauchon. Beautiful calligraphy - arabic old hand written signage

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tayyouneh Roundabout - Hope inspiring Colors...

Sunlight reflecting on war-torn building and open sky at Tayyouneh Roundabout
Hope inspiring Sky and Peaceful Sunset Colors or War Nostagia effect? 

Also on the green line, Beirut is set to have a war museum at Sodeco, The Barakat building or Beit Beirut is being restored to house the Museum and a cultural center.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Urban digital Communication: Share Beirut Conferences

found that on their facebook page explaining the stickers.

Here is a story and some observations from a usual night out in Beirut:

On the 3rd of September, to my joy, since I am not a smoker, the smoking ban started in Lebanon; since most of my friends (and Lebanese) smoke, they are really annoyed with this new law.
Thus, all the people who usually go out (to drink and smoke, since both come always together for smokers), were suddenly obliged to have smoking-outside-breaks on the sidewalk. Some places like the Crew Express Bar, pour the cocktail drinks in plastic cups, if you wish to take your drinks outside on the sidewalk with you.
Since the weather is still pleasant, the other option is to find the bars, that have a few tables outside, where you can enjoy smoking while having the drinks and friends around.
That is why few days ago, I was sitting with a few friends outside at Radio Beirut,  even though the music inside was much better then the hoovering sound of the dripping AC just above our table...

Also, Above our table, on the wall, was a small sticker with the words "Share Data", and a memory stick hidden in a small hole below it.

My cynical friend was repeating "you want to take that and use it on your computer, Share Virus, I say", but I was in my nice love-the-universe mood -- that she found obnoxiously hippie-like for her taste -- that though her fears sounded like a very possible bad joke, I decided to see what is on that memory stick.
 ... *Drum beats*... turns out it is ambient music by Klaus Wiese, whom I had to google to get some info on :"Wiese is considered by some as one of the great ambient or space music artists".

That (Sharing and researching knowledge from one individual to another), I think, is part of the "Share Beirut" aim after all, thus their promotion techniques; ... so here I am introducing you to these 3 days of conferences by also including this video about the Share Beirut Conference, and all through the blog entry creating random web links for all to discover, like I discovered the memory stick. Share Beirut seems like a really big event, focused on promoting young and entrepreneurial talents, we rarely hear about, in addition to workshops, music, concerts.

It is on the 5th, 6th and 7th of October at Solea V, See you there!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

MK3D - Bench on the Vendome Stairs

Here is a cool street intervention I just learned about.

As a part of Nehna wel Amar wel Jiran event, in Mar Mikhael, starting today and till Saturday, comes this  new project by SH+CZ landscaping architecture: MK3D Vendome.
As they describe it on their Facebook page:
"The intervention involves placing, in the middle of the stairs, on a flight of steps, the most representative element of a public space: a bench. This allows users, certainly the elderly amongst of which, to stop and rest in the shade of a tree. Such a unique layout offers a different perception of this public space, with a better understanding of the topography of the place.
This public bench, in its apparent playfulness, is a reaction to the mounting sterility, privatization and rarity of public spaces in Beirut."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Scene | س : a brand coming out of Beirut

Original Calligraphy or Illustration silkscreened on the T-shirts or bags

Came to my mind, that I presented my new business venture/ Brand on my other design blog, but not in here, My-I-Love-Beirut-Even-though-I-rant-Blog, so here it is, ladies and gentlemen, my baby brand, joining together my love for design and my addiction to Beirut on a t-shirt or on a timeless bag : Scene | س

The Facebook group:

The online shop:

The website:

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Souraty Stop - An Urbanism/ Design proposal comes out of video documentation

Frame from the video at the exhibition of
 the Projects at Laboratoire d'Art Galery - Gemmayze

While you can stop any bus anywhere you stand, It seems that in Hamra we have three self emerging Bus Stops: One near Barbar Hamra, One facing the Tourism Ministry and one on Souraty Street corner with Cairo street, with each serving different bus routes.

Taking The Souraty Street as exemple, where van number 4 and bus number 8 stop and servees taxi cars are plenty, we filmed the activity there for a couple of hours:

Analyzing the footage, we found that indeed people gather there to take public transport: there is the usuals who hop on directly knowing bus numbers and destinations, and those who stand there gazing and asking questions and directions if the driver is kind enough to answer. Crossing on red lights is very common and laying back on the concrete stones helps during the waiting time.

Thus, the mini-proposal we came to. On Souraty Street, just after the crossroad with Cairo street, there is a small parking lot, that could very well become a branded Hamra Bus Stop, with benches for the old or tired, navigational maps and bus numbers panels with routes for better efficiency and less hassle, giving the people more confidence in using the public transport system.

Exhibition of the Projects at Laboratoire d'Art - Gemmayze
Frame from the video at the exhibition of the
Projects at Laboratoire d'Art Galery - Gemmayze

Exhibition of the Projects at
Laboratoire d'Art - Gemmayze

The proposal by Lynn Zarif and myself

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Round Up: Phoenicien Port of Minet El Hosn gone

Picture taken on year ago, Phoenician plot in the foreground, war torn old holiday inn hotel in the background.

Round-up of what is going on after the destruction of the port:

Destruction du Port Phénicien de Minet el-Hosn 26-06-20: MTV reporting:

L'Orient le Jour article:

Liban News reporting:

Al-akhbar newspaper reporting:

The Daily Star

Now Lebanon:

Resignation letter of Hisham Sayegh, archeologist of the site:

Keep following up on the subject on Save Beirut Heritage facebook group:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Are these Flying Buttress* (arc-boutant) stairs in Beirut?

the yellow light in this alley (that one might think to be dark first) caught my attention, perfect to highlight the arched entrance and stairs.

A few meters away, there is another. Beautiful.

Soon, to be gone.

*flying buttress: a buttress that stands apart from the main structure and connected to it by an arch mostly associated with Gothic church architecture

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spotted in Beirut: timeless architecture

I love how the Upper floor looks like a Cube resting on thinner longer shape.
the balconies detail, the stairs leading to posters display area (wondering if there is a door blocked under all those posters, the windows with different sizes all add to its simple/complex charm
Old stairs getting sunlight: one of the best thing about old architecture in Beirut. Blogpost about it here
There are beautiful old buildings and big elaborate houses, usually with three arcades, dating from the beginning of the 20th century, that get all the attention when it comes to architecture in Beirut. Of course, they are worthy of attention, but, it is those small buildings with little interesting details that I find unique and somehow accidental beauties in a city full of characterless housing. This is one of them. It is in a bad shape, but try to see beyond that, I find it truly one of a kind.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Billboards Cluster is not helping your brand at all

Visual Pollution in Lebanon is not new, yet, it has gone out of proportions. Billboard ads are visuals displayed in the public space for all to see. That is a big responsibility, that I feel, is sometimes taken lightly in Lebanon. While there is so many talented designers and art directors, we still submit to the eyes of the people on the road anything we have (+ a brand name), pay the money to rent that "display" and that's it.
I might sound like an idealist, but I think that since the viewer is granting us a bit of his attention, and space within his "framed sight", we at least owe him something interesting or beautiful if not both together.

Billboards Cluster is not helping your brand at all, the viewer is actually getting immune to these rectangles with images and words inside of them. Specially if it is a street where he goes everyday, after a while he knows how to dismiss certain parts of the view in front on him. So, what he actually ends up seeing is something like that:
In this corner, coming down from Yerevan bridge into Dekwaneh, there is at least 15 billboards.

Another epidemy, is that advertiser got the idea of mixing the "more is more" phenomenon with the "bigger is better" strategy and... apply that to the same campaign and you get something like this:
Same ad on 5 close billboards so close all seen in the same view.
This actually makes the product look so desperate to be noticed and shouting so much for attention, that it looses its "sex appeal" making it look like small movie/ plays posters only with a big budget.

Repetition of (small) posters in comparison with repetition of billboards.
Small budgets would wish for a few billboards distributed in the city, not having that, they repeat the posters that pedestrian see, hoping people in their cars, stuck in traffic, will notice their ads. While "big budgets with no creativity", let's call them the BBWNC bunch, are doing the same with billboards filling every corner with the same visual repetitively, for lack of a better way to spend the money and get the brand noticed.
Yeah, we saw the ad. Yeah, we read it. Yet, these ads are rarely engaging us (positively). Most of the times, we continue driving, thinking how suffocating that is the first time we see these, and the next days, these ads  just look like (ugly) decoration of the city or, on better days, like the lighting poles of the street (since it is the only night light we have with the electricity rationing on some nights in Beirut).
An Ad the size of a building you can not miss, yet so meaningless, lame and visually dull. Oh, How the view is nicer without it!

Also when mixing "really really bigger is really really better" with "meaningless" you get a counter reaction like: "I am never buying from that place, if that is the ad, imagine the product".
Of course, the relief you get from crossing past the advertisement and finally having an open view on the Mountain adds up to you regretting seeing that piece of  ____"Art".

Monday, March 12, 2012

Almost a year later, The Blues Collection intervention in the street, part of the rePLACE Beirut workshop.

 Almost a year after the rePLACE Beirut Workshop, The Blues Collection intervention is still visible on the corner of the street between Fassouh and Charles Malek avenue.
No one removed the framing tape, unlike on this post, or pasted a new poster above it. is this not a premium poster spot, though on the avenue?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Please give us Kahraba (Electricity)

Please give us Kahraba, "Moteur" doesn't stand the AC
The generator can not stand the water heating system and the AC (working on heating mode of course) working together, and it is so freaking cold this winter! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

An odd appearance on the Mar Mitr (St Dimitrios) Wall

Click on the image for a larger view - copyrighted ©

While stuck in traffic on the street between Sassine and Spinneys there is this huge wall, very inviting for graffiti, I would say, but maybe the church kept an eye on the "vandalism" till now?
Anyways, there, next to Elie Hobeika's posters, there is a stencil of Marc Riboud's photo, from the demonstration in 1967 in Washington, by the American youth against the war in Vietnam.

The stencil is dated 21/01/2012 but I can't see a signature. Why is this (image sending these messages) here (on that wall, in Beirut, in 2012)? How long will this flower power message last?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Walking tour for Visual Artists from Hamburg, rethinking Beirut's public space

Since my posting last time, a lot has happened (in the world, Beirut & my life), giving me less time to post, but more things to think about. Anyways, when I got an interesting request to walk on an evening, I walked...and we talked.

An Early evening walk
On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., a group of 10 students from The University of Fine Arts in Hamburg and their professors; Friedrich von Borries, professor for design-theory and curatorial studies and Daniel Kerber, artist and scientific collaborator of a research group "urban intervention" arrived to Beirut. They are going to see Beirut, talk to artists, curators, and architect, and observe how things work (or not) here and present their own projects and point of views.

Also on Wednesday, two hours post their landing in Beirut, we were ready to go on a walking tour from Rue Pasteur, Gemmayzé to Downtown Beirut Going through Saifi Village and Martyrs' square. What sometimes seems as an evidence for us living here everyday, is questioned by the new observers:
- "Why don't young or poor people squat the old buildings? Isn't there poor people in Beirut"
- "We are in downtown or in Solidere?, is it normal to refer to the area as Solidere?" (after I said "Uruguay Street is also part of Solidere")
- "There is no one on Martyrs' square"(at 8:00pm)
- "Short and tall buildings, old and new buildings, is everything mixed in Beirut?" (or somethings and some people don't mix?) 
- "There is a 30 years urban plan of Berlin" (is there a 2 year plan for Beirut??)

Is Public space in Beirut bringing the people together or separating and segregating the crowds? the case of Martyr's Square was recently discussed in a series of Articles by Tanya Gallo here and here and here
Also, Horsh Beirut, the pine forest of Beirut is kept closed for sociopolitical reasons and opened only on special occasion or events, Nahnoo NGO opens a debate on the subject to discuss the challenges.

With the group at the latest Marwan Rechmawi exhibition at Sfeir-Semler .
Very Interesting, catch it if you are in Beirut.

Lunch in Jesuit Garden
The Beirut Green Project, whom I joined for Lunch in Jesuit garden in Geitawi in October, is holding a 2 days project with the German students and 10 lebanese students this weekend. The outcome will be presented at Altcity, Tomorrow Sunday at 5pm, you can check the Facebook Event here. I will be looking forward for that!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Going Out to the Mall

When you want to get a coffee with a friend, where do you go? to a café in the street or to the Mall.
When you want to get a gift, where do you go? Shops on the Street or to the Mall.
When you want to have a walk, where do you go? to the weather-stable (24 degrees) ambient temperature mall or to the street with unexpected weather surprises?
Going up the hill? the stairs? the escalators? or the lifts? Wallpapers or graffiti? Skies with clouds or ceiling with smart light design?

Mall Comfort or  Street Adventure Jungle? or is it both and there is a certain rule or a pattern?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A walk in Downtown Beirut (or Solidere)

Last month, I went on a walking tour of Downtown Beirut.

Trio: Riad El Solh, the tourists and the protesters' tent.

The Best of Downtown, that olive tree is in the "Roman Bath" public Garden

Super-sized everything buildings, clearance, snakes,woman and vulgarity

The Bride was in a Taxi Service, and came for a shooting in the square (place de l'Etoile) creating a buzz for the guards of the Parliament.

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