Beirut Bombastic!

Rana Salam (Lebanon)

Galata Greek Primary School

“I want to change the perception of the Middle East through the power of design… There is a need to change the world’s perception of the Middle East, and to reflect it in a fresh and engagingly positive light. What better medium to use than design? … Beirut is very much a crossroads, and it has a history of liberalism that you don’t get elsewhere, in Dubai or Syria, for example… Everything in Beirut is all about pattern. It has a European twist to design. Here, you’re exposed to everything: from terrible poverty to extreme wealth. I love the madness. It’s all totally unexpected. Beirut is the most imperfect place and I love it, our imbalance, our schizophrenia. We have been afraid to say that we are imperfect.” –RS


Beirut Bombastic! is a site-specific installation for the pop-up café of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial at the Galata Greek Primary School. Designed by Lebanese artist Rana Salam, it is a printed interior that envelops the visitors to create an immersive experience. The “dream-like” wallpaper seeks to transpose the café patrons to Beirut. Inspired by the pop culture of the Middle East, Salam’s work mixes the fragmented bodies of cultural icons with color and pattern.