Executive Magazine - - EXECUTIVE LIFE - Words by Olga Habre

the Phoenicia Beirut is no stranger to the arts. The ho­tel it­self is a tes­ta­ment to mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture, so much so that it as fea­tured in multi le lms mostl s ic s from the s s. t as origi nall de­signed in the s a grou of ar­chi­tects led d ard urell tone the man ehind such famed uild­ings as e or s useum of odern rt o ith another ing added later e anese leg­end Joseph Philippe Karam, who fa­mously de signed own­town Beirut s The gg. The ho­tel was re­stored in the s a er the e anese i il ar y one of the world s largest ar­chi­tec­ture rms, K, whose port­fo­lio in­cludes a long list of large scale pro ects, such as the re­gional land­mar u ai arina. en to­day, a few years past its th anni er­sary, the ho­tel re­mains a magni cent uild­ing in­side and out.

The ho­tel also houses an im­pressi e col­lec­tion of art­wor y renowned in­ter­na­tional and e anese artists, in­clud­ing the sig­na­ture ud ir­cle, painted with real mud di­rectly onto a gi­ant wall at the ho­tel s en­trance y Bri­tish artist ichard ong, whose wor is fea­tured in mu­se­ums around the world. The Phoeni cia otel has al­ways een hea ily in ol ed as an art ho­tel and sup­porter of creati ity and artis­tic tal­ent, says a en alha, chair­man of oci­ete es rands otels u i an sal , par­ent com­pany of the Phoenicia.

ost re­cently the ho­tel has fo­cused its in ol e ment on a grow­ing art­form in the coun­try: pho­togra phy. The Phoenicia otel rt Photo P P com­peti tion launched a year ago, ut it was only this spring

“The arts are the best in­sur­ance pol­icy a city can take on it­self.” - Woody Du­mas

that the pu lic was a le to iew the end prod­uct, with an e hi ition fea­tur­ing im­ages, each ta en y a di er­ent photographer some pro­fes­sional, oth­ers am­a­teurs. er each month of the past year, the ho­tel has o ered a par­tic­i­pat­ing artist a night s stay in the lap of lu ury, to fuel their creati e re and help in­spire a wor of art. The re­sult was photos, each as uni ue as their cre­ators, rang­ing from a so lac and white shot of the folds in an un­made ed, to a care­fully chore­ographed photo of the Phoeni cia s grand stair­way, oc­cu­pied y men and women ump­ing and pos­ing the­atri­cally.

The e hi ition launched arch in the Phoe nicia s lo y and con­tin­ued through the end of the month. win­ner was e pected to e an­nounced at the open­ing, howe er, the panel s udges well nown e anese photographer oger ou ar el, art col­lec­tor Tare ahas, pres­i­dent of the ideoin­sight oun­da­tion e ecca usso, former gen­eral man­ager of the ho­tel eorge ein­laen­der, as well as a en alha and his son, P P found­ing udge a i alha were dead­loc ed. By co­in­ci­dence, two pho­togra phers had an iden­ti­cal score and a third pho­togra pher was only . points ehind. t was ery close for the top three the el­der alha e plains. lti­mately, two win­ners were de­clared: hady Kha­laf for ife in an­der­lust, a stri ing long e po­sure shot of the ho­tel s e terior, and amad os­sadegh, for his wor e oured, show­ing a man ump­ing into the lo y s cen­tral chan­de­lier with the ud ir­cle isi le in the ac ground . The ury as­sessed the wor s ased on their creati ity, im­age ual­ity, use of light and color as well as their a il­ity to elicit an emo­tional re sponse. The other pho­tog­ra­phers fea­tured in the ex hi it were ir­ginia Khuri, enia aalouf, ario aou, ntoine id, ou man asred­dine, ngela olomon, har el Boue , Jeroen Kramer, hale a a e and iane imos. hile there was no re uire­ment that the pieces fea­ture the Phoenicia, most par­tic­i­pants chose to, not sur­pris­ing gi en how eas­ily the ho­tel lends it­self to eing pho­tographed. alha o ser es that their in­ter­pre­ta­tions ha e een eye open­ing, e en to those of us who see the Phoenicia e ery day.

The two win­ners are split­ting ust o er , in pri e money, ut the real win­ners are ho­tel guests and em­ploy­ees who get to rel­ish e en more cul ture and eauty than usual as they wal through the premises and all the par­tic­i­pants, whose wor s were dis­played to many in uen­tial passers y. im ited edi­tions, e prints per pho­to­graph were o ered for each, with per­cent of the pro ts go­ing to a char­ity of the artists choice.

nspired y a sim­i­lar ini­tiati e in Paris, the ho­tel wanted to sup­port isual arts, namely pho­tog­ra­phy, iew­ing it as a grow­ing eld. alha adds that P P is ust one of many art ini­tiati es at the ho­tel. e sup­port many forms of creati ity and art and ha e se eral other pro ects in the pipe­line.

The ho­tel is al­ready mo ing for­ward with a call for ap­pli­cants for the next year, with the hopes of ma ing P P an an­nual com­pe­ti­tion.

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