SAMER CHAMOUN INTERVIEW
Samer Chamoun has good taste. That's basically my intro and why I've asked him to do this interview. The talented Lebanese architect is lead designer at Zaha Hadid and is currently based in London,(I'll just let him tell you the rest.....)
I was born in Lebanon in the deadliest period of the war, and escaped with my family to Canada at the end of the 80’s where I became fat after discovering fast food and popsicles (colored , flavored Ice bars). In the mid 90’s I returned to Lebanon and did my French Baccalaureate au Lycee Francais. At 17 I ran away from the decadence of Beirut and returned to Montreal where I studied architecture and all other life lessons that have made me what I am now. After 6 years of sleepless nights at school and in the craziest underground clubs, I moved to London to pursue my studies at the Architectural Association; 2 years of 3d/ digital architecture masochism .
5 min after my final project presentation at the AA, I was approached by Patrik Schumacher ( Zaha Hadid Architects's Director), asking me to join their office in London. I have been since working at ZHA ( Zaha Hadid Architects) office, on various competitions and projects in Europe and Middle East. The highlight of my experience here is the day I raised interest in going to China with ZHA to set up the office in Beijing. A turning point in my life. During my 2 years in Beijing I managed to travel around Asia to discover the craziest buildings, landscapes and people.
Most challenging/interesting projects you have worked on so far?
Design of a 13 cm long pen and a 13 km long city masterplan .
What would be a dream project or collaboration?
The project I presented as my final thesis in Canada. I called it the Pleasure Dome, a micro city designed by creative minds of all fields, in which physical and social morals are redefined. It started as an ironic criticism of the post war social status of Beirut, I would love to have time to develop it more one day.
Favorite websites, blogs, publications?
- I love reading the Lebanese news websites in the morning, the only thing that makes me laugh and cry at the same time.
- I follow lots of design blogs and websites such as CPLUV, Dezeen, NOTCOT.
- and mainly music sites; Beatport of course for releases and Resident Advisor for events and gigs.
What are your greatest inspirations or influences?
Beauty and Elegance in all its form.
How does music play into your work or creativity?
There are so many geniuses in electronic music production, I try to be as creative in designing objects and buildings… we’re in competition at a different level though, very challenging.
Creatives you think we should check out?
- In the music industry, I would definitely recommend Nicolas Jaar, Guti, Solomun , Kollektiv Trumstrasse... so many more that I can’t think of now.
- I recently discovered a great artist from Germany recently, Eno Henze , he does art with plotters he programs himself … crazy stuff.
Anything else you'd like to share with our audience?
I take questions. Anyone?
Soho Galaxy Beijing