As in any great film, Beirut’s illuminated downtown reveals no unintended harsh shadows, no light sources or fixtures. Its Ottoman-style and French-mandate buildings and their Arabesque, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco details subtly emerge with strokes and washes of what might be moonlight. It’s all an illusion, except the illusion hasn’t been created for the ephemeral moment of the shot. Lighting Beirut Architecture, an ambitious project designed by the French lighting-design firm Light Cibles, was a first step in an ongoing transformation of the city’s downtown nightscape. The initiative, directed by Solidère, the real-estate developer responsible for the Beirut Central
Like the village wise man, Hashim Sarkis has a knack for making the counterintuitive intuitive, which accounts for some of his success meeting the needs of his buildings’ users—among them farmers, fishermen, and child workers—who often depend less on formal education than on their keen observation, close relationship to the environment, and common sense in their daily lives.