Triggering emotions for positive action
On August 4th, 2020, in Beirut, the unimaginable sadly happened: one of the most tragic blasts in history destroying lives, hearts, hopes and historic collective heritage.
Christies, the infamous British auction house, decided to respond to that tragedy by launching “We Are All Beirut”, an online charity auction dedicated to the restoration of the arts and cultural landscape of Beirut, by partnering with AFAC, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.
We, as MFB, were given the opportunity by Christie’s to create the visual identity of this online charity auction, which presented works by regional and international artists across three spheres: art, design and jewellery.
How can we use design as a language to transmit a positive emotion through the intersection of art and damaged heritage?
Time to Recollect, Reconstruct and Preserve
We built a dialog between the collective effects of the blast and the curated auction pieces: a mosaic of jewellery, art and design revealed through parallels of close ups from damaged heritage. Our aim was to create a positive impression and a lasting emotion: a reminder of the notion of time to recollect, reconstruct and preserve the heritage of our city.
Colors & Photography as our Palette
We chose a colour palette inspired from Beirut city’s architecture. We collaborated with a selection of photographers who generously donated their work for this auction. The photographs are of post-explosion effects highlighting the damaged heritage of the city.
The Catalogue Design
A collage that brings together the destroyed heritage and the curated art within a colourful parallelism. Treating this catalogue as a narrative flow, we are creating pauses using quotes by aspiring iconic Lebanese figures, such as philanthropist Lady Yvonne Sursock Cochrane who was a strong advocate of the arts & culture in Beirut, and whom the country lost after sustaining severe injuries due to the blast. Art has a magical way of speaking without words; in an attempt to create a language that is beautiful and emotional; touching the heart through the beauty of the eye.
The auction took place early november 2020, and was able to raise £ 560,750. Sale proceeds benefited Arab Fund Arts & Culture (AFAC) a trusted NGO, to directly assist the arts community in Beirut with additional proceeds given to the Lebanese Red Cross from a section of the sale which was sourced by a trusted partnership with Arthaus Beirut.
AFAC pooled the resources towards redistributing financial support across all artistic fields, specifically targeting the arts scene in Beirut. Institutions such as the Sursock Museum and local galleries that suffered extensive damage received these proceeds, both in terms of repairing structural damages and via rehabilitation programmes that AFAC launched after the explosion.
We couldn’t have been prouder to be chosen by this world renowned institution to bring this catalogue together; it truly has been a pleasure to feel like our work enabled, for a small part at least, the reconstruction and preservation of Beirut artistic heritage.