Beyrouth, les temps du design
A city at the crossroads of East and West, said to have been destroyed and rebuilt seven times since antiquity, Beirut continues to nourish the imagination of many creative artists. It was with all its paradoxes, that a design scene rapidly developed from 2000 onwards, swiftly garnering acclaim from critics, design fairs and the entire industry. The vibrance of design from Lebanon stands out as an exception in the region and needs to be understood via the country’s long-standing cultural relations with Europe, especially France, but also with the Emirates and their ancient craft traditions, which play a part in the originality of products by Lebanese designers. Beirut is building its own design culture, transforming its multiculturalism into creative energy.
This publication analyzes Lebanon’s unique situation—a convergence of economic and architectural reconstruction, social awareness and international development. It also testifies to the designers’ determination to take ownership of their destiny and image by presenting objects and forms that are simultaneously aware of their diverse heritage and are deeply rooted in a complex reality. Prior to the development of this exhibition and publication project, no extensive research has been undertaken on the history of design in Lebanon. This book aims to fill that gap, presenting the state of design based on extensive documentation. It is the first retrospective on design in Lebanon, from the 1920s until today, includes works by over 50 designers, uncovering this major design scene in the Middle-East.