From June 13 to June 15, an event called Hours Beirut, and self-described as an “intimate conference” on circular business, will be taking place at Antwork. The event will focus on “exploring how maintenance and the act of maintaining can be understood in the context of innovation and creativity. At its core, Hours Beirut is about the fact that all things need additional energy to be sustained. Expect conversations about urban development, sustainability, death, feminism, internet, the relevance of culture and art and self-care,” says the conference’s website.
The first day of the conference will be all about city exploration (tours and popup talks), covering history, architecture, food, art and Beirut’s contemporary life.
The second day, a seminar on designing for maintenance and circularity, will feature three main speakers: global design company Ideo’s Circular Business design lead Arianne Orillac; Lebanon’s hunger relief initiative Foodblessed’s co-founder and executive director Maya Terro; and Sweden’s sustainable sportswear company Houdini’s head of design and product Jesper Danielsson.
On the last day, Hours Beirut will be hosting a 12-hour sound and light festival, Beirut Drone, organized by Stockholm’s Lumen Project, American film music composer Nathan Larson and local music authority Ziad Nawfal.
“I’ve been active in the design and entrepreneurship scene in Beirut for the past eight years and learnt a lot by founding and running Beirut Design Week. I came to understand the importance of maintenance, sustainability and balance between work and life. Now that I am on to new ventures, I would like to have the chance to meet again with like-minded people to discuss and learn from each other’s experiences,” Doreen Toutikian, co-founder and director of MENA Design Research Center, founding director of Beirut Design Week (Beirut & Athens), tells Communicate Levant.
As Hours Beirut plans to go point by point through the ways to maintain and sustain all that has been built and created to sustain societies’ livelihood and mankind, the Lebanese capital seems to offer the ideal settings.
Why Hours Beirut loves Beirut
Sara Johannesson, co-organizer and design firm Doberman’s design director
“Beirut is a city full of stories, new, old, made up, all kinds of stories. The houses, the streets, the neighborhoods, and the people tell the stories just by being there – that’s why I love Beirut. Stories maintain the culture, the know-how, and the social bonds between us. As a designer, I want to design and create things that make a difference and to get to learn and get new insights from the stories, together with others is what I’m looking forward to the most.”
Martin Thörnkvist, curator, context maker and advisor (Malmö, Sweden)
“The great energy of the people and the rich history of Beirut, in combination with visible and under the surface problems, make up a for a complexity that is comparable with life itself. It’s easy to fall in love with this city and you always want to keep looking and asking questions. When you think you understand it, another layer appears, and you realize that we shouldn’t fool ourselves that what you see is what you get. To talk about what maintenance is and how it can be used as an engine for innovation and a more humane world in this place makes so much sense to me.”
Aisha Habli, programs lead at Antwork (Beirut)
“Living in Beirut for seven years now, the city continues to fascinate me. I love the streets, the music and art explorations that creatives present to the city, whether they are passing by or Beirut locals make every day a race to see the ever-changing city. While the city is gorgeous, it is also old, and naturally requires constant maintenance. Many take on that as a responsibility in their work, whether it’s in building architecture, preserving history, nurturing community, or sustaining trust in governance and the Internet. Hours narrates the story of Beirut today.”
What about you? Why do you love Beirut?