The Paris-based, Lebanon-born architect—and designer of the forthcoming Serpentine Pavilion ‘À table’—spoke to RECORD about her nature-forward philosophy, the effect of Beirut's 2020 explosion on the city, and tracing history through archeology.
One day in 1962, Oscar Niemeyer found himself strapped into the seat of a helicopter thundering over a tract of land on the outskirts of Tripoli, Lebanon. After two circuits over the city, the nervous architect (Niemeyer hated flying) told his project manager, “OK, we can go back. I’ve decided the best location for the fair.”
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