Burj el Murr, also known as the tower of bitterness, has stood a haunting reminder of the Civil War where it was used as a key sniper hideout. Since then it has been left abandoned and uninhabited. And then along came Jad Khoury, with his innovative idea to revitalise the building, and transform it into an uplifting work of art! Here he tells Selections more about it:
Tell us, what was your motivation behind the project?
To make the tower alive again. This tower has only bad history and bad memories attached to it – I wanted to change this and make it something happy. I got the fabrics from the poorer areas of Beirut – in these areas there is a lot of colour and you really get the feeling of people living together, and helping each other. So this was the idea – to get this kind of colour and feeling of life and transpose it onto a dull building in a more lifeless part of town. The curtains are all placed on one side which allow it to move with the wind – and actually now when you look at it – you feel that the whole building is moving in the wind!
What did the process involve?
I had this idea about two years ago. The actual preparation took about two weeks, and installing it took 5 days. I did it alone, but now on seeing the reception I have some sponsors – Letitia Gallery, Basel Dalloul, Antonios Rizik and the Minister of Culture.
What has the reaction been?
I’m really happy – it’s been a very positive reaction, even more than what I expected. We’ve had 35 years of black windows, I think people were very excited to see the colours!