”Beirut" is not a conventional image, it portraits darkness and somehow avoids any pop content. Demands time to be understood and almost intimacy before revealing its secrets.
Date - 2020
Software - 3Ds max, Forestpack, Railclone, VRay and Adobe Photoshop
Worktime - 4 days
Beirut is a narrative artwork, a full CGI image produced by the founder, which was selected as finalist in the Architizer one rendering challenge.
Its main goal was to showcase our artistic style and work philosophy: to present a story through an artwork, offering emotional and dreamlike experience in a realistic and cinematic frame.
The story line was inspired by our latest short architectural movie “Coming Back to Life”, taking “Burj El Murr” or so-called Tower of Bitterness as the main subject and giving the original script a twist:
“Between the sullen days of clouds and dust, and the stormy nights of rain and darkness, stretching across the east, all the way to the west, a soaring monument stands tall. The tower of bitterness rests unfinished; its construction interrupted by the war. Yet, it still stands as a reminder of the horrors and cruelty the nation has overcome. In spite of it all, the day has finally come to bring the tower back from the dead. On that day, the sunset didn’t look like anything else. Out of nowhere, fireflies filled the streets, emerging from the city trees, and stormed into the monument. Hijacking the interior spaces, the tower somehow became a beacon of light, a lantern in the middle of the darkness. The tower was my obsession, so I hastened to the scene to inspect this marvel.”
The visual took us four days; modeling the whole scene, searching for inspiration content and finalizing each small detail. We used 3Ds max, Forestpack, Railclone, VRay and Adobe Photoshop.
The study was on Beirut’s neighborhoods, examining its architecture and alleys, capturing the significant features of the authentic city buildings: staircase’s concrete skin, fer forgé handrails and wooden window shutters, vis-à-vis balconies, sanitary pipes climbing the old existing structure, graffiti walls, antennas, planted passages, etc.
We chose to work on a sunset scene so we can illustrate the warmth of the Mediterranean afternoon: the neighborhood is still not lit but we can see all the details in the present architecture, the abandoned tower breaks the darkness with fireflies emerging and sun rays passing through, all the way from the coast, shedding light on the street at the end of the alley where we can spot the obsessed architect (main character) arriving at the scene.
We are JPAG atelier, a Lebanese based group of creative minds, architects, and artists operating within the field of architecture and digital art. We believe in a storytelling artwork, mixing the pragmatic with the utopian, crafting volumes and pixels into something more than a boring block of material, but a sensational piece of art. JPAG was founded in 2014 by Jean-Paul El Hachem; Architect, visual artist and faculty member at the Lebanese American University( LAU). The atelier has been designing and portraying architecture passionately ever since.