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issue 21 - August/September 2014
CURVE magazine cover August/September 2014
    

THE GREAT SIR RENDER

Tapping into the Otherworldly Vision of Galal Mahmoud

The architecture of Galal Mahmoud is the spitting image of its deft creator, refined yet not conceited, striking but not ostentatious, effortlessly connecting with their milieu all the while emanating an undeniable aura. Immediately commanding respect without having to shout for your attention, both man and his projects are lucidly and eloquently expressive, not at the expense of being too wordy, however.

Luxury hotels and upscale resorts are Mahmoud's forte. Seafront destinations are his favorite playground. His blueprints generally draw on the dreamy, having built far and wide across the globe 'architecture that is infused with a sense of wellbeing, emotion and mystery,' as the seasoned French- Lebanese architect puts it. Relocating from France to Lebanon in 1996, Mahmoud has since been steering the ship at his eponymous GM Architects firm, which in addition to its offices in Beirut and Abu Dhabi, is heavily active worldwide. It is among the few architecture and design companies in the Middle East to be listed with brands as big as Accor, Rotana, Starwood and Rezidor.

Mahmoud credits this success to being consistent, thoroughly convinced by the work he presents and not allowing for certain temptations to cloud his judgments or to make any concessions. 'I think in 25 years, not a single client has told me 'I don't like what you've done, show me something else,'' says Mahmoud, in a non- 'blow-my-own-trumpet' tone.

It is generally love at first sketch for Mahmoud's clients given the architect's winning formula of contextual immersion and cohesion of vision across all steps of the project. It is a principle he unwaveringly applied in his latest undertaking, the spellbinding 'Museum of Civilizations' unveiled at the 'Time Space Existence' Exhibition at the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture. The concept design has made headlines in international architecture journals and emphasized the bold and progressive layers of Mahmoud's imagination. Curve talks to the man of the moment.

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