Friday, December 25, 2020

Montreal, I Love you

 "Montreal, I Love You"

A series of sketches and collages of Montreal - 2020

After the August 4th Beirut Port blast, I returned to Montreal, a city that has always been kind to me in my most vulnerable times. This is how the "Montreal, I Love You" series started. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

"I Love You Urgently"

part of the collective exhibition "I Love You Urgently", curated by Maya El-Khalil, Jeddah, KSA, January 2020 

Material: local red clay, bisque fired, then fired using waste material.
2019 witnessed an international resurgence in popular movements seeking new approaches for the world. People gathered together for marches in more than 100 countries as part of the Global Week for Future, weekly climate strikes took place in Fridays for Future, and popular uprisings swept Beirut, Baghdad, Hong Kong, Barcelona, and Santiago. Though distinct, they share a common commitment to collectively rethinking attitudes towards the environment, whether climate, socio-political or economic orders. Expressing a clear message of urgency to change the world, they also articulate a shared fear for the future.
Unlike earlier generations, these movements are connected, informed and creative – they know that time is running out. One of their shared actions is the closing of roads, whether through sheer number of people gathered together or with the use of other devices such as overturned burning bins or water canisters. Both practical and symbolic, these gestures stop the ordinary day-to-day flow of life in the city. By blocking movement, they create spaces for conversation and togetherness. Though these actions are disruptive in the short term, they are intended to draw attention to the more significant long term shifts and changes that will take place if our attitudes do not evolve. They provide a stark and powerful warning: without adjustment, life as we know it will not continue.

Made of clay, the work recreates a scene of disorder, stopping unconscious movement through our ordinary, unaware day-to-day lives. By re-appropriating and overturning common and unremarkable artifacts such as bins, the work causes a re-assessment of the daily structures we take for granted. 

A natural material, clay is both an old resilient material still discovered during archaeological excavations, telling us the story of time, yet an ephemeral and fragile one as well – it can break into pieces and return to earth. By bringing together these two distinctive qualities of clay, the work depicts is both a historic and precarious moment in the story of humanity.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

World War Two Museum & Park

Client: Mercy Corps & Khiam Municipality
Location: Khiam, South Lebanon
Photo Tile: Scarecrow

I designed this riveted metal structure with architect Samar Rizkallah to scare away Israeli planes, and it was built in 2004 as part of the renovation and rehabilitation of the abandoned WWII English bunker/hospital into a WWII museum of war. It was totally ravaged and destroyed during the 2006 Israeli invasion, however, and to this day, the scarecrow still stands tall and proud.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Title: “Visible”
Materials: Red clay, waste materials firing (rusted steel dust, wood ash, wood saw dust, shredded paper)
Date: 2018

33rd Salon d'Automne
Sursock Museum

“Refuse containers are overturned in front of the Environment Ministry by Lebanese activists who demand the Environment Minister Mohammed Machnouk resign due to the ongoing rubbish crisis in Beirut, Lebanon, on 15 September 2015 (AA)”

“Visible” captures that moment when protesters took to the streets of Beirut in September 2015 and overturned the garbage bins. The “Sukleen” canisters that represent the object we have designed to hold our waste, when turned over their side, or top down, they become a sign of protest, a symbol of the unresolved garbage crisis that still lingers on since 2015 in Lebanon.
When the bins are no longer used to collect our trash, our waste becomes visible, revealed, and we are face to face with the quantity of garbage we produce daily. We got used to throwing our waste into a bin. Not asking what happens to it afterwards. As if the bin was its final destination. As if it was there that it all ended. By not dealing with our waste on a daily and individual basis, we are disconnected from it. We do not realize the amounts produced. And when it has no place to go, it starts to accumulate in front of our eyes.Beyond the protest, the crises revealed a bigger problem, triggered a new awareness: It made the trash visible. To eliminate it, fire was often used. The “Visible” canisters are burnt using a similar process: waste materials such as rusted steel dust, wood ash, wood saw dust and shredded paper become the combustibles for firing the clay canisters. “Visible” is the reminder that the waste crisis can only be solved once we truly see the problem.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Beirut Urban Ruins “save it on paper”

BEYt Amir
Plan Bey
November 2017
Many old houses in Beirut are threatened by demolition. Oftentimes owners are financially incapable of restoring them, and developers are eager to clear them out to make room for money-generating, soulless buildings. However, even in their neglected state, the importance of these houses as testaments to Beirut’s urban history remains apparent.

In Ras-Beirut, old houses are mostly abandoned urban ruins. Some are scattered, dwarfed between new high-rise buildings; others still survive in clusters. Some are on main roads, others hidden at the heart of a street block. However, all are “invisible” to the passer-by, abandoned due to their derelict state. They seem to be “turned off”. In most cases nature has taken over with overgrown trees and uninvited spontaneous plants growing out of walls and balconies.

In mid-2016, I began making watercolor sketches of these abandoned houses. These sketches were done obsessively and daily and were shared on social media with three recurring, original hashtags: #beirutyellowhouses #beiruturbanruins and #saveitonpaper

The process is first the act of “seeing” these houses; discovering them among the surrounding high buildings that overshadow them. Second, singling out each house as a distinct entity by erasing its actual urban surrounding; stressing the spectral presence of those old buildings as remainder and reminder of the old urban fabric of Beirut. It is an attempt to imagine a city that no longer exists.

The objective is to raise awareness and "save” these houses on paper. It is to engrave their memory in my mind and in our collective memory. To enforce their presence and highlight their character.

Sketching these houses is a form of meditation where concentration is total and attention is directed fully towards one subject. This is a state where, for a fleeting moment, the subject and the sketcher are one.

آثار بيروت المدينية
"لتحفظ على الورق"
هناك عدد كبير من البيوت القديمة في بيروت مرشحة للزوال. في معظم الأوقات أصحاب تلك البيوت يعجزون عن الحفاظ عليها والتجار يتوقون إلى تنحية تلك المباني كي يقيموا العمارات التجارية الشاهقة. برغم ذلك، تبقى تلك المباني شاهدا على تاريخ المدينة المعماري.
معظم المباني القديمة في رأس بيروت هي آثار مهملة . بعضها موزع، متوار بين المباني الشاهقة، و بعضها الآخر لا يزال قائما في تجمعات.  بعضها موزع على طرق عامة و سواه متوار داخل الأحياء. على كل، كل تلك البيوت متوارية عن أنظار العابرين، و مهملة لأنها لم تعدصالحة للسكن.  كأنما قد هجرتها الحياة، فحلت مكانها الأشجار البرية.
في العام ٢٠١٦ بدأت أرسم تلك البيوت المهملة. العملية التي أقوم بها تبدأ بتحديد تلك البيوت من بين المباني الطاغية بحجمها. ثانيا أستفرد هذه البيوت عن سواها من المباني المحيطة بها. و هذه محاولة لتخيل مدينة زائلة.
أما الغاية فهي لفت الإنتباه إلى ما يحدث من تحولات و حفظ هذه البيوت على الورق، حفرها في ذاكرتي و الذاكرة الجماعية لتثبيت وجودها و الإضاءة على خصوصياتها.
إن رسم تلك البيوت هو نوع من التأمل و الإنتباه مركز على حالة واحدة. إنها حالة حيث، للحظات، تلتقي المادة بمن يقوم بتسجيلها

“Alchemy: When clay turns into wood”

Earthen-wear - Ceramic Collective Exhibition
dehab jewellery gallery - Beirut - April 2018

“Alchemy"  الكيمياء
Merriam-Webster dictionary:
“ a power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way ”

Process: For the past 4 years I have been experimenting with marble pottery, mixing two types of clay to produce a single piece. The combination often creates surprises in the way the two clays come together when dry and after the first firing: merging or separating. I have also been exploring different firing techniques. Fire being at the root of alchemy, the milk firing technique used on this piece is intended to bring out the veins of the clay, magically transforming it into wood.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tanmia Headquarters

Client: Tanmia
Hazmieh - SEPT 2014 - 2016

The design deviates from the traditional corporate office by emphasizing openness yet allowing for confidentiality where needed. Within a semi-open-plan layout, and while providing the required closed offices, small sound proof “pods” travel within the space, accommodating additional closed spaces for meeting, brain storming, shouting or meditating. These “pods” can be shared by different staff members depending on their needs. Double glazed glass walls enhance the openness of the office while providing the levels of privacy.
The new Tanmia office accommodates the needs for both privacy and interaction, promoting efficiency in terms of the use of space while boosting staff productivity as well as their sense of community. Reminding the users as well as the visitors of its most important values, etched on the walls and glass partitions, it also brings us closer to nature by providing greenery in many forms.