31 December 2014

Happy New Year كل عام وانتم بخير

Wish you all the Best for the coming year!

And let us not forget,
"النهايات هي بدايات والبدايات لنا امكانيات"
Meaning :
"Endings are Beginnings, and Beginnings are for us new possibilities"

16 December 2014

Collaboration with David Hury on "The Beirut Book"

The Arabic Font - Named Rayya Kufi - next to the Latin one. Sabah quoted in The Beirut Book
Long due is this post!
"The Beirut Book" came out in Octobre during the yearly "Salon du livre".

One year ago, I met David in London during "The Arab Art and Design exhibition" at Graffik Gallery, in which we were both taking part. Apart from his long career as a writer and journalist in Lebanon, he is the creator of "Beirut Prints" presenting high quality prints to the public by a variety of talented Lebanese photographers.

Last spring, he asked me to handle both the Arabic Editing, picking sentences from songs or books, and the creation of an Arabic font to be used in the book to go well with the stencil style of the Latin Font used in the book and created by himself based on Beirut Street signage.

The result is a book made with a lot of Love for a city that doesn't leave anyone indifferent, to say the least!

Another spread from the Beirut Book using Rayya Kufi Arabic Font

Published by "Tamyras" , here is David's foreword to the Beirut Book:
The Beirut Book was born from a series of illustrations inspired by the enameled blue name plates found at the corner of Beirut streets, and created by Beirut Prints, a collective of photographers formed three years ago. Initially, these illustrations relied on a simple principle: twist the phrasing of well-known quotations to include the word "Beirut". The very first one was inspired by the U2 song "Where the Streets Have No Name". An observation that turned out to be false since the streets of Beirut actually have names even when its inhabitants are rarely aware of them. Later, this phrase spawned others, 
all drawn from the language of Shakespeare and pop culture: "Star Wars", Nirvana, "Aliens", Orwell...
A few weeks later, in fall 2013, the idea was reimagined as an interactive activity during the book fair "Salon du livre francophone de Beyrouth". (...) 
Visitors of the book fair were able to try their hand at the exercise. They wrote what they wished about the city. In ten days, more than three hundred people had taken part in the game. Lebanese visitors, foreigners, authors. Swedes, Frenchmen, Afghans and Lebanese. A Goncourt winner. A Renaudot winner, and other eminent figures. And later more "penmen" such as composers, photographers, filmmakers, a prime minister, an ambassador... In this book, everyone has been treated equally and identified with a first name and an initial. 
All these words were mixed with those of ordinary passers-by and with those that social media users put up online. And 
naturally, languages followed suit. On the wall plastered with pieces of paper and blue ink, there was English, French and 
Arabic of course, but also Armenian, Croatian, German, Swedish, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, Italian... This diversity is in Beirutís image. Difficult to faithfully reproduce.
"The Beirut Book" has neither page numbers nor chapters or theme classifications. The pages that follow reflect the way Beirutis (at heart or just stopping over, and whatever their 
origins) perceive their city: chaotic, tender, full of hatred, libertarian, fettered, amorous, sexy, nostalgic, critical, 
unbearable, cynical...

16 October 2014

Bright Living room: Beirut Inspired

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about a wedding return gift personalized project I worked on this summer as part of SCENE's approach to dealing one on one with the clients when creating personalized products.

Here I worked on this interior, starting with a daybed style couch reminiscent of the traditional Levantine common room. First we discussed the color palette we will be using having brown as our base yet moving away from the traditional. We mixed and matched bright orange, blue, pink and green with the brown to create a fresh and modern living space, of course inspired by Lebanese pop culture and using the signature Calligraphy element of SCENE

11 October 2014

SCENE products now available worldwide through Lebelik.com

I am excited to Let you know that SCENE Beirut is now available worldwide!

Lebelik is an online shopping platform specialized in getting Lebanese Designers' products  available everywhere, from fashion and accessories to home collection, and I couldn't recommend enough their good service.

"SCENE" recently joined LEBELIK website and you can check the collection on that link:

It will soon be expanding so keep coming back every once in a while, as surprises and new products await. Here are some screen shots of the SCENE Beirut page on Lebelik.

02 October 2014

Arabic Wedding Logo and Return Gifts Calligraphy

The final Logo as seen on the labels
Ralph and Edith, a young couple living in Paris and from Lebanese parents wanted an Arabic and Modern logo to use on their wedding invitation card and table tents.

Draft of logos

Final 6 options

Handprinted fabric ready to be made into bags by the skilled craftsmen
 As a return gift to their invitees and friends, we came up with the couple with a personalized choice of an Ipad bag / clutch using three shades of blue, with the sentence "Today we drink and tomorrow is serious" calligraphed in Arabic and handprinted on the front. The names logo was also printed in the lower left corner on the back of the bags.

personalized wedding bags with arabic calligraphy
The bag

While the woman version has a handle, the man's version is a handle free
ipad bag with dark tones of blue and a black print.
Three bags using 3 shades of blue

Wishing the newly weds happiness all the way!

Seems like Arabic calligraphy is finally getting the attention it deserves with George Clooney accessorizing at his wedding with cufflinks, which were a gift from Amal and had 'George' inscribed on them in Arabic.

05 August 2014

Behind the SCENE : New bags getting made!

The old radio is always on
everything is done by hand using a few simple tools.

It's been a while I did not blog, but I have always wanted to share photos of the production phase, so today I got the chance to make some photos of the craftsmen at work. Their knowledge and experience are a great asset to SCENE Beirut - my brand, and to myself.

One of the thrills (and there are many!) of creating a new product is that discussion with the craftsman and the synergy in translating designs into high quality unique pieces. And the energy of work is just wonderful.
There you can see the importance of a short chain in the production process, from the idea to the finishing, all can be amended on the spot.
The attention to details is primordial for every piece, one by one they are all made by hand with care and pride.

09 March 2014

Road trip across the USA - notebook scans

Those date from Summer of 2011, when I went the long way across the USA to finally meet my sister in Fayetteville. I just stumbled on the notebook lately, and it revived many good memories. One of the best trips I ever had.
My route, when there is no airplane illustration, means it was done by Bus : Beirut - New York - Washington DC - Pittsburg - Columbus - Chicago - Seattle - San Franscisco - Los Angeles - Fayetteville - Beirut. 

Read more, eat less: Only complimentary soft drinks when flying internal American flights

Bus travel on the highway between two states. Front seat, 2nd floor deck.

How do you go faster on train station stairs? throw the bag down instead of carrying it.

travel essentials: Map and camera.

laying comfortable in public space: something I miss in Beirut

facing the MET in NYC

17 February 2014

I love Beirut - The Rational behind the Logo

Heart Beirut Logo by Celine Khairallah
Arabic Calligraphy of "Beirut"  in a heart shape - © Celine Khairallah  
I Love Beirut. أنا بحب بيروت

You might have noticed this Beirut logo somewhere around in town with someone carrying/wearing SCENE Beirut products or here as the new header image in my blog, yet I have been really busy lately and rarely sharing behind the SCENE steps that lead to the image creation, hopefully we will catch up with that bit by bit, one visual at a time :)

First things first: BEIRUT

I love Beirut, in order to write that in English, we need the subject/ verb/ object sentence form, or the modern "I (heart) Beirut" (taken from the original "I (heart or <3) NY" logo. Yet, when it comes to Arabic, and the flexibility of the letters, options are limitless.

Thus, I drew the Arabic letter of Beirut "بيروت" in a heart shape. The simplest, most common sign to represent "love".

The letters, themselves become the signifiers of love; Mixing the love I have to the city, with the love the city radiates back. Eliminating the "Subject" actually includes everyone and the city:

I love Beirut.
We love Beirut.
They love Beirut.
Beirut is love.
Beirut loves.
بيروت حبيبتي

"Heart Beirut" logo on SCENE Beirut Products

11 February 2014