Interior Design - Identity in Lebanon
by Victor A. Khoueiry
"My house is practical. I thank you as I thank the railway engineer or a telephone service... but you have not touched my heart. You apply stone, wood and concrete, that is construction... ingenuity is at work.
"But suddenly you have touched my heart, you have done me good, and I am happy... this is beautiful... this is architecture... art enters in."
Interior design and architecture are two complementary professions which, in my opinion, should not be separated into two different jobs. Otherwise the result will be two different ways of thinking about the space in the same project.
One Lebanese designer goes so far as to assert: "interior design is a recent profession that was born when the architects stopped doing their job completely."
The relationship between architects and interior designers is mediated by an architectural object or interior space. A piece of furniture or artwork reveals itself differently in each time we move it. A group of pieces gives us a different but diverse content. With each move it takes on a new identity, a new feeling, and this makes it interesting.
The object make a network in depth (history) and breadth (geography). This network evolves and materializes through a process of inspiration, image, and historic precedent. From this evolution emerges the designer's identity.
Some interior designers and architects consider themselves distanced from the social, political, and cultural terrain, and not tied (by blood) to any particular nationality, tradition, or history. Others recognize that they are anchored in their origins, namely their ethnicity and non-Western roots. How are these factors manifest in their design work?
To answer this question I have looked at the work of three designers. The first describes himself as "modernist"; the second considers himself as "conserving" the Lebanese identity and heritage; and the third deals with each subject and each program differently.