Heaven Above Beirut is a book designed by Berlin-based designer Olena Smetanina created in collaboration between two universities in Beirut and Berlin. The photography throughout the book showcases the struggle that the city faces today. Although the photos were taken before the destructive explosion in 2020, the book is truly a contemporary historical piece. The layout of each page is minimalistic, allowing for the photographs to shine through. The implementation of the Kraft paper cover and neon pink lettering is declaring for the contents to be digested and interpreted.
The art book Heaven above Beirut traces the secrets of the city of Beirut and shows in photographs and texts what makes this city so fascinating. For centuries Beirut was considered a place of longing and it still is, despite all the challenges in which Lebanon and its capital Beirut are facing today.
The photographs and texts in this book show the struggle of a city: for its existence and for its identity. The photos were taken almost a year before the devastating explosion of August 4th 2020, which tore a deep wound into the economically and politically battered city located on the Eastern Shore of the Mediterranean. The art book was created in the context of a cooperation between two universities in Beirut and Berlin and also captures the deep affection for the city of Beirut, Lebanon and its inhabitants. The book is both a work of art and a piece of contemporary history.