Ramzi Abu Fadel, a university professor and specialist in architectural restoration, crafted metal ornaments of the traditional buildings that can be found on any of the streets of Beirut.
“Every country has its own heritage,” Abu Fadel told Arab News. “In Beirut, architecture is very special. Because we are on the Mediterranean Sea and open to trade, we were influenced by many neighboring civilizations, whether Islamic or European. We adapt and we develop.”
The August 4th tragedy shook the entire capital of Lebanon, severely damaging thousands of buildings. According to Unesco, 600 historic buildings are now in extremely vulnerable conditions due to the massive blast.
“We were all heartbroken, you cannot not cry,” says Abu Fadel, “I wanted to help with what I know best.”
And he did…
The Lebanese architect initially designed a line of delicate candle houses, featuring, for example, triple arches, an iconic element of Lebanese architecture that has a history of Italian origin.
His work was mostly inspired by the architecture of the Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael neighborhoods, which were severely affected.
As Lebanon celebrates Christmas, Abu Fadel managed to locally produce carved ornaments painted in red and white and hand-finished by people with special needs, to make this Christmas season just a little better.
“It’s a sad Christmas in Lebanon. So I thought that this initiative will allow people to show their love for Beirut by decorating their trees with these ornaments,” he said.
The ornaments had proved popular, as Abu Fadel states that so far about 2,000 of them had been sold.
Not only do people like the product, but they are also contributing to rebuilding Beirut, as all the profits from this project went directly to the Beirut Heritage Initiative, which is rehabilitating damaged buildings constructed between 1860 and 1930.
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