Iconic Cities: Brilliant Beirut 1950-2015
Often overshadowed by war and destruction, Beirut has thrived as an Arab centre of architectural, industrial and graphical design innovation over the past seven decades. Mounted at Dubai Design Week, Iconic Cities: Brilliant Beirut showcases changing trends while still revealing strains of tradition. Local Beiruti practitioner in-her-own-right Rana Salam curated and designed the highly graphical exhibition through themes that address pivotal points in the city’s history, since gaining independence in 1943. The new nation’s stride is expressed in The Birth of the Republic (1950s) segment while Beirut Swings Too (1960) and Arab Modernism (1970) portions takes viewers through mid-century advertisement and high-rise building booms. Mirroring the political climate of time, Peace and Revival (1990) shows how Lebanon’s civil war effect the creative sector. Brave New City (2000) and Beirut Today: Evolution, Not Revolution (2015) highlights dynamic contemporary talents like Ghaith & Jad, Cherine Magrabi, Karim Chaya Spock Design, Nada Debs, Victor Bisharat and Bernard Khoury – shaping this Mediterranean city’s experimental nature. The show balances product design with gilt vases, lighting – indicative of Beirut today – graphics, textiles, hospitality, interiors and new planning.