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Annabel Karim Kassar: a French-Lebanese Architect and Designer

Annabel Karim Kassar is a French-Lebanese architect with years of invaluable expertise in international architecture and interior design. Providing her services in both Europe and the Middle East, she is credited for helping to bring new life to the Lebanese capital, Beirut, following the end of Lebanon's civil war in the 1990s. She is also the founder of the Beirut-based AKK architectural firm, which is currently working on projects in Beirut, Dubai, and London, as well as taking part in exhibitions.

Born and raised in France, Kassar would go on to establish her architecture firm in Beirut, in 1994. She is known for her efforts in rebuilding the Lebanese capital, in addition to designing some of the cities iconic venues, old and current, such as Momo at the Souks with Mourad Mazouz, Strange Fruit, and Balima. Currently, she specializes in residential, commercial, industrial, and hospitality projects.

In addition, Kassar also launched branches to her architecture firm in London (in the United Kingdom (UK)), and Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)). In fact, she is credited for the construction of both Al Zorah pavilion and a local golf club in Ajman, in the UAE.

In 2016, London held its first design biennale, at Somerset House, where Kassar would design the Lebanese pavilion. In terms of design, her aim was to create a streetscape similar to those found in Beirut, with the inclusion of a small cinema, a barber shop, a backgammon spot, a social spot for visitors, and more. In fact, the pavilion would earn Kassar top prize at the biennale.

In August 2020, an explosion caused by ammonium nitrate blew up the storage facility, in Beirut's port, where it was kept, but also devastated several more buildings in the northern parts of the city. Since then, there had been efforts to restore many affected structures, especially those with classic Lebanese architecture. In fact, Kassar and her team worked on restoring structures such as the iconic Bayt K façade. In June 2022, she would also curate an exhibition at London's V&A Museum, aimed at bringing awareness to Beirut's efforts in saving its Ottoman-Venetian architecture.

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