Dezeen Magazine

We Design Beirut

We Design Beirut postponed due to Israel-Gaza conflict

Lebanon's first design week for five years, We Design Beirut, will be postponed until March as a result of fresh violence in the region.

We Design Beirut was intended to take place in the Lebanese capital from 27 to 30 October 2023, but is now due to run from 4 to 7 March 2024.

"We cannot fathom putting anyone at risk"

"Due to the recent tragic events in Gaza and Israel, we cannot fathom putting anyone at risk, in any way shape or form," We Design Beirut founder Mariana Wehbe told Dezeen.

"We also cannot consider celebrating our city at such a dark moment in time, when so many lives have been taken in such a brutal and unjust way, on all sides," she added.

Israel declared war on Hamas this weekend after the Gazan militant group, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by many Western governments, launched a major assault that killed at least 1,300 people.

More than 1,300 people have been killed in retaliatory attacks on Gaza since Saturday, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The violence spilled over the border into Lebanon on Monday, with deadly clashes reported between Israeli forces and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Preparations for We Design Beirut have been underway for nearly a year.

The festival has been touted as a moment of revival for the city following the discontinuation of Beirut Design Week in 2019 amid a severe economic crisis, the coronavirus pandemic and the devastating explosion that rocked the city in August 2020.

"So much love, hard work, hope, perseverance and dedication has gone into this project," said Wehbe.

"We had hoped that We Design Beirut would revive our country, and demonstrate the immense creativity of Beirut."

"We do not despair"

"This project is not cancelled, it will never be cancelled, and we now have great assurance of its need and certain success," she continued.

"We do not despair and continue to have hope, and what we know and promise you is a beautiful spring with many of the flowers and trees, and everything we know in the city coming back to life, like it always does and will continue to do."

Wehbe, who is also the founder of Mariana Wehbe Public Relations, established We Design Beirut in partnership with industrial designer Samer Alameen and branding agency Bananamonkey.

The event was planned to feature multidisciplinary workshops, showrooms, installations and talks in various venues around the city, including the PSLab lighting design house that was badly damaged in the 2020 blast and the unfinished and long-abandoned Joseph Philippe Karam cinema The Egg.

We Design Beirut is now scheduled to take place from 4 to 7 March 2024 in locations across Beirut, Lebanon. See Dezeen Events Guide for more architecture and design events around the world.

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