Johnnie Walker has always been a champion of progress, creativity, and hope for a better tomorrow, and Keep Walking Lebanon has celebrated the resilience of the Lebanese at large and their positive spirit for years now.
This year, Johnnie Walker gave ambitious and passionate university students from different artistic disciplines – film, graphic design, architecture, interior design and fashion design – the chance to envision a different Lebanon. With the objective of providing these groups of creative minds a platform to bring their progressive visions to life, this creative process gave birth to this year’s Johnnie Walker campaign: The Keep Walking Lebanon Expo.
It all started with the #KeepCreatingLebanon competition, which called for contestants to come up with an idea that reflects their own interpretation of Keep Walking Lebanon. Working individually or in a group, and coming from different artistic backgrounds, their ideas varied and ranged from installations, to projections, to innovative product designs.
After months of preparation and under the mentorship of respective industry experts Bernard Khoury, Azzi & Osta, Nada Debs, Wissam Smayra, and Bechara Mouzannar, 200 projects were submitted. Fourteen of them were then selected to be showcased at the Keep Walking Lebanon Expo on February 7, 8 and 9 at KED, Karantina.
“It is an honor to be a part of this initiative and to help the talented millennials and creative minds speak out their progressive ideas and transform them into finished projects that could keep Lebanon walking,” says Bechara Mouzannar, member of the jury and chief creative officer of Leo Burnett MENA. “They are truly an example of how millennials could support a nation with ideas that disrupt the mainstream and could re-invent their lives and opportunities in this country.”
Visitors of The Expo were also given the opportunity to vote for their favorite project helping them reach the top three for a cash prize award.
“We were interested in the concept of the exhibition and thought that architecture could also make a social statement – that it’s not just about walls, floors and spaces,” says Charbel Abou Chakra, member of the winning team. “We hoped that, through the exposure this competition would bring us, we would someday see this project executed – at least to some extent – so Beirut can improve without compromising its identity.”
Their project was a giant, exposed translucent tube that runs along the Beirut river, carrying all the drainage water from different districts, transforming the river into a public park that hosts multiple activities; a place where people can be happy while witnessing all of their concerns flow by.
“Until today, this is how the Lebanese people have found their way out of their misery, only this time the tube goes into a vertical green tower that houses a filtering system, and the water inside will keep the tower alive,” adds Abou Chakra.
This was our philosophy: making something useful out of our problems no matter the circumstances; facing reality and learning to live with it.