Nadim Karam has worn many hats over the years, from architect to sculptor and painter. But when he combines these roles to create urban dreamscapes, the effects are magical–and utterly unexpected.
His urban interventions embody whimsy on a vast scale, and seek to return a sense of play to the living fabric of cities, from Melbourne and London to Beirut and most fantastically, Dubai, where he has envisioned a 300-meter structure called “The Cloud“. Made of gleaming steel, it resembles a traveling rainstorm suspended over the city, on which it drops long silver rays of rain.
Karam says the design is an homage to the nomads who wandered the area, a free-floating nemesis to the fixed ranks of skyscrapers it hovers above. As planned, it would contain floating gardens, a lake and an open museum. The same image of a cloud–fleeting, malleable, and replenishing as dreams–also recurs in Karam’s smaller-scale work, from sculptures to painting. Most recently, it graced the cover of his new book “Stretching Thoughts“, which surveys his myriad brainstorms.
The common ground between all of them is his productive blurring of the edges between one genre and another, and between fantasy and reality. Karam continues to pioneer this hybrid imagination through Atelier Hapsitus, a collective of young Lebanese architects and designers whose work likewise fuses art, architecture and urban design.