Invited to the Energy For Creativity exhibition organized by the Italian magazine Interni, Annabel Karim Kassar Architects chose to display a monumental architectural structure in the Cortile 700 and a vision of everyday life in a Lebanese room.
Through the bellows of old cameras, Kassar symbolizes stills of Lebanese lifestyles brought to life here by the actor-spectators entering, wandering through, contemplating and leaving the space.
Two telescopic structures, named Liwan and Obscura respectively, made of raw metal and burnt dark and rough wooden planks face one another not far from Kengo Kuma’s paper structure and Alessandro Medini’s giant red lips. Annabel Karim Kassar not only highlights savoir-faire but also French and Lebanese savoir-vivre. Attracted by the diffuse light from Saint-Gobain’s hand-blown glass, one is in for a rare experience – a piece of interior and a kind of cinema installation.
Why this idea of the Liwan ? It is a tradition passed down from Ottoman constructions. The great Roman and prehistoric excavations – as well as the bombings – have left the city of Beirut pockmarked, exposing its insides. Many people live precariously here on mounds of soil with a bit of flooring. I decided to carry with me a “chunk” with its thickness and layers of ground to try to show the complexity of the city.
What will the visitor find there ?
The visitor will find a cosy place. The wood floor was hand painted by craftspeople in the same patterns found on Lebanese ceramics. A sofa and vintage armchairs invite the visitor to sit. A vintage damask silk fabric covers the main couch. It’s also a noisy place… Lebanon is quite noisy. The noise from outside always comes inside. To show this, I wanted to play a recording of the hubbub of the city mixed with the traditional Arab music playing on a vintage gramophone and the singing of a bird comfortably perched on its cage. This place is like my place. There’s a selection of objects I chose or designed. And there will be a toilet in the shape of a phosphorescent throne.
Design: Annabel Karim Kassar / Annabel Karim Kassar architect, creative director/ Rabih Zeidan architect, project manager / Violaine Jeantet interior architect /
Christophe Hascoet lighting designer / Caï light lighting designer / Alain Pin lighting designer terra cruda
Project: Sergio Sabbadini architect
Photography: Nicoló Lanfranchi