31 December 2012

SCENE Beirut at Afkart Lebanese Designers Exhibition

Jeans Beirut Bags - Good for everyday!

The Beirut Map T-shirt

Some of the products available at the exhibition

The HEART BEIRUT pendant

With The Beirut Manifesto Tote bag
With The Beirut Manifesto Tote bag

29 December 2012

The Beirut Manifesto

At the Heart of Beirut, there is its people. 
We are Beirut & its diversity. Embrace those you disagree with.  Discuss & Carry out a fair debate. How dull is a place where everybody agrees, where all noses look the same, where religion is 1 & you can't celebrate 18. 
Beirut is far from being perfect, yet, we love Beirut.
But, what is a city without its inhabitants? Work for your city, work with your city. It is where you breathe, walk, dance, play, eat, love & live. It is where you are. it is you & you are it. 
A city transforms slowly, take part in its evolution. Do what you love & do it right. Appreciate Beirut's heritage & learn from its history. Feel the chemistry between the city & the people; Nothing is gone or forgotten, our past is shaping our present ; How we live today, shapes the Beirut of tomorrow.
Get to know all of Beirut, the city of plenty is yours.

Celine K.

28 November 2012

Pop Oriental Pillows; new Scene products

scene beirut pillows
Pillows based on popular culture and traditional shapes
a lot more designs and colors available!
I've been working like crazy this last month, preparing a new collection of SCENE | س products, other than the t-shirts and the bags, also did a new collection of pillows and throws based on popular objects making traditional oriental shapes.
Designing them was fun and hand silkscreening the print on beautiful colorful fabric made the production a wonderful procedure too.

I will be showing them first at Afkart, the Christmas fair at Biel, from the 14th till the 20th of December, come by and see them first, we will be happy to see you!

04 November 2012

The return of the lost image

As I was walking in Geitawi today, enjoying the car free event, little did I know that I will see a picture I took in 2003 exhibited, on the Jesuit garden walls as part of the event.

In 2005, when I started the blog, I had posted some photos from Maaser El Chouf, check them here, this one was missing.

What is the importance of one picture in this image-saturated digital age?

This same picture was exhibited by Alba, my university at the time, in another exhibition about Maaser El Choof, and I had given them the negatives, or the film roll, to do the printing for the exhibition and I never took it back, as it was "lost". Meanwhile, someone arranged the archives I believe, and they have found and preserved the scan.

03 November 2012

BVDP "Are you talking to me?" project presentation

"Are you talking to me?"
Presentation of the Bik Van der Pol Workshop on Thursday October 18, 2012; 6pm
After a week-long intensive workshop, Bik Van der Pol and participants presented their stories, maps and documentation of their experiences. This is my contribution.
Map of the journeys according to time and cost in the Service

As a lebanese living in Beirut, loving either to walk or to drive (my car in my closed bubble) the city streets, I never take the Service.
I thought of these journeys as a reconciliation between the Service and me. Even though the sticker on the front shield says Public Transportation, making it public space by law, it seems to me every time I open the service door, as if I am going into the living room of perfect strangers, and making myself confortable there, it is the driver's car after all : he choose to put this chain decoration hanging by the mirror.

The sticker says public transportation. How public is it really?
If a Public transport system, the service, is not used to go from destinaion A to Destination B, but rather for a "Kasdoura", a wander around the city by car, it can become the destination. The public space where interactions can occur.
This happened when I took the Service in Mousaytbeh, next to the Lebanese International University, he had already three girls waiting in the car for him to go, so when I approached him and asked if he would take me to Manara, He replied : "Sorry, but I am going into Dayieh", waiting for one more passenger to fill the car before going. So I hopped in, explaining that I do not have a plan, and "car wandering" in Dahieh seemed like a nice ride.

As many lebanese who spend a lot of time on the streets, he had plenty of stories to share, all while explaining where we are, shouting out to people blocking the road, and giving hints about the area... "in the old time, taxis, used special parking spaces as Stations, and people would come and find them there, now I use the University corner on Salim Slem as my station, I was the first one there, 9 years ago",  "university students are the best costumers, before that I was a salesperson for a pharmaceutical company, I know all the pharmacists." , "here is Alhassanayn Mosque" , "I used to own a 1965 Mercedes, but with the rise of gas prices I had to exchange it with this poor car",  "This is the area rebuilt by Hizbolla after 2006", "this is where big demonstrations happen" , "this is the furniture street, but it is bad quality", ...

As he knows all the small streets, he brags saying "this car never stops,  I always know how to avoid the traffic jam" and, building on this fact, he continues telling one of the most bizarre stories that happened to him years ago, but that he will never forget, he says :
"One time, I picked a girl from Zkak el Blat and she wanted to go to the Beirut Arab University, it was her first day at the university. She had gone their once or twice before to register. The traffic Jam looked unbearable, so I went off the highway to smaller streets, trying to avoid the traffic. As I was driving, she said that this is not the way to go there, so I explain to her, that this way goes faster, and that she will be there in no time, as I was driving, she opened the door and jumped outside the car, it is good I was not going to fast, but the car was moving, ... and she never paid her fare, while ruining the door of my car"

Our ride ended right where it had started on Salim Slem highway, just above the long dark tunnel (the one that stinks and makes you close the windows). This wander around the city suburbs and back, is like a roller-coaster ride, full of happenings and banalities too. It is entertaining, as long as you are in the mood for surprises and accept the unexpected (delays/ very talkative driver or passanger/ very silent uneasy mood/...), in this "payable public seat", on a journey to see.

22 October 2012

Beirut, Its Map, the streets and the latest events.

Last week, a lot happened, some things that are not supposed to be linked together, some things that are not supposed to happen, but, because this is Lebanon, and at any given time, anything can happen, things happened.

Two weeks ago, I was working on my latest designs before silkscreening them, one being the above pictured, map of Beirut, naming the different areas of the city.
Then, I had an art workshop, last week, with Bik Van Der Pol, related to public space and public transport, so I thought to put on hold my design and pursue this art/public space project, knowing how rare they are in the city, and with my busy schedule, collaborations are the best, when doing collateral interest work.
Service Map- Part of my presentation for the Bik Van der Pol project

During the workshop, that ended on Thursday 18th of October, one day before the bombing, I was taking the shared taxi, the service, and having chats with the drivers, touring around Beirut, aimlessly, (I will blog more about that next.) So I went from Ashrafieh to Salim Slem, to Tariq El Matar and Dahieh, working on my fieldwork, sightseeing all Beirut. And, I owned my city.

Today, as I was printing the map on the t-shirts, with my "Scene" products being mostly appreciated by foreigners or expats, it occured to me that, we as Lebanese, living in Lebanon, should start to embrace all of Lebanon, and own all of our country, and what I had designed 2 weeks ago, portraying my interest in the city and its neighborhoods, was suddenly put at risk, also, the project we had done last week, was impossible to do this week. Suddenly, some people decided that some neighborhoods are not mine to go to; I refuse that, I love Beirut, all of Beirut, and politicians playing muppets with some teenagers or thugs is not something we should accept, let alone applause (or reply to similarly)

Claim your voice, your independent opinion, and think, and when you are voting next time, don't go to the same old, same old, where nothing can change. Change things, with your vote and with your acts of everyday. I won't tell you to whom to vote, I don't know, just not those same people here now, change things so you can equally appreciate having a walk from Mar Mikhael to Ras Beirut since it is a long straight line, that you can even bike, going to ABC mall for brands, shopping cheap furniture in Ouzai, sitting in Sioufi garden using the free wi-fi, shopping for crafts and sewing supplies in Dahieh, or going aimlessly in a service to an area you haven't been to lately or ever, because it is for 2000 LL and you have got the time for once, and feeling safe and welcomed, even if your hosting crowd does not look like you, dress like you or believe in the same things you believe in. Come on, give it a try, you might actually enjoy it and discover things.

I write that, and it sounds at the same time so obvious yet, not really so.

PS: I don't usually like to give advice sounding like I am telling people how they should live their lives, but extreme events call for extreme measures.

25 September 2012

Souvenir from Beirut - The Scene | س Bags and T-shirts

As I have already mentioned in a previous post, I have launched a brand inspired from Beirut, yet similar to the city itself, the brand mixes oriental and occidental pop culture and identity.
I am very excited to present you the first products that are ready with some inside scoops about the illustrations and designs!

 These tote Bags are double sided, offering more versatility in their everyday use, with one side having "Beirut" written in interlacing Arabic Kufi letters 4 times on the pocket; I love designing with Kufi letters, they are very geometrical. The bags are produced in limited editions with different colors.

copyright Celine Khairallah -
Double sided bags
souvenir from Beirut

Also, celebrating Beirut are these loose t-shirts available in red, grey, yellow and pink.
They are now at La T-shirterie shop in Ashrafieh - Tabaris, on the online shop, or contact me for a visit to my workshop.

08 July 2012

Beirut Design Week

Last week, the first Beirut Design Week took place, starting on Monday the 25th of June with the opening ceremony and an exhibition of the Desmeen projects... What is "Desmeen"? In a couple of words, Mena Design research Center, the initiator, explains it as a collaborative 3 months design for change project led by Arabs and Europeans (for more check the website here.)
Being Interested by design research, education, social change and design impact and a rather curious person, I went to see offline what I have been reading about and following online. I found the initiative straightforward ambitious and trying to achieve real change with interesting projects by people from different backgrounds and mixed knowledge. Something that is usually scarce if not missing in Lebanon: Collaborative work by artists and designers to make things better for them and the community. But, knowing what dealing with Lebanese bureaucracy is like, I will continue following on these projects to see what will actually become reality of these proposals, specially the Gemmayze MicroSystem Solution as it tackles public transport in the Gammayze area of Beirut and the group presented an out of the box solution where you don't stop the traffic, you just make it go slower and less attractive to cars, with more street life and electric microbuses... I Love it! (The designers presented their proposal at an event I was unable to attend, a fellow blogger blogged about it after a fellow tweeter asked asked about it, isn't the internet something!)
Another main event was Wednesday the 27th's conference at AUB, I attended the two afternoon talks: Transdisciplinary Design (since I do graphic, fashion, advertising, branding, interior, ... and do see this as a whole bundle of Design Solutions) and the Future of Design Education (Being a proud educator ;) ), which were interesting specially with the crowd being mostly critical about the way design is taught in Lebanon and I do understand that the programs need to be revised and updated to meet current trends but I would have liked to listen more to the key speakers and their way of seeing and thinking things, Uta Brandes and Jamer Hunt words were specially striking talking about design's impact on everything and how we have to let go of teaching skills and move into teaching ways of thinking and let every person discover their own way of doing things and not impose the educator's way or the university's way, and this of course, let the lebanese attendees, educators and students, wish for a big change in the Lebanese Educational systems, where students often arrive at the young age of 18 (whereas in Europe, at KISD for exemple, they start the program at 22 mostly) wishing to study Design, having a sense of taste maybe, but not really knowing what it is, so the dilemma between teaching basics and skills OR teaching how to learn/ unlearn/ think/ solve starts. I personally think the 3 years of the BA are not enough to grasp all what design can offer as solution for most students-- because in order for them to Unlearn, they need to Learn first, and even though the time at university is not for teaching the basics mostly, we have at least to get them interested into getting to know what was, exploring the possibilities, searching, researching and, hopefully, they will pick up the Keys of how to look at a problem and come up with a real 360 design solution. 
All in all, the week was pretty condensed, I even took part in a workshop I might blog about later on, and they showcased an array of design practices in Lebanon and a vision for improvements... I will be looking forward to a 2nd edition.

17 April 2012

The actor walked out

Saturday night, some actors were acting how they acted 
during that night time of year; 
Shouting into the dark void, out in the cold, calling onto the Lord
to take his son in, and maybe them later on, on board. 
Our main actor, however, that same night, decided 
to walk out on that part.
Tonight, he said, I will be part of another 
gathering crowd, 
play, act
The observer was observing all the dancers in the act.
Our main actor have been acting, dancing 
for a while
drinking dancing listening moving, 
that was the other act.
No one saw the observer standing
in the shadow of the concrete pole
Yet, the watcher was observed by one acting dancer on the floor,
the observer seeing plenty, did not see the seeing dancer:
our main actor.