The House of Small / by Karim Nader

Presented at the Beirut Design Fair 2018, the House of Small is a reflection on Architecture, Design and their associated representations through the model of a house at scale 1/1.

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For everyone, there is a house of dream-desire. The little prince desired a sheep, and the pilot’s three unfruitful attempts did not lead to the closure of representation. Indeed, it was an opaque box, with three holes for air to flow, that allowed for the sheep to become alive. “He is exactly the way I imagined him,” says the little prince musing at the box that conceals the undrawn sheep. Our proposal will not be a house. It will be an architectural model of a house at scale 1/1. Inhabited by full-size scale figures, it is a house represented where the desire for inhabiting can continue to dwell in the imagination of every visitor. Our house-represented within the fair shed will dialogue on its small planet with a native tree re-enacting in a contemporary language the construct of the primitive hut. 


Like in the house of Bachelard in the “Poetics of Space,” our hut will have a cellar and an attic, a mezzanine and a floor for living in between. Small enough to contain all necessary functions of a dwelling in a 2x2m plot, it is an exercise in the celebration of small, the pleasure of being somewhere without the built-in obsession of more. But it is also a complex house for the child to explore. From garden to roof terrace where he sometimes forgets his colorful ball, his bike occasionally fallen on the sidewalk, he is now taking a break from model-making flying his kite from the upper balcony. 

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Liberated from the need to shelter (the house-model well protected under the enclosure of the Beirut Design Fair…), the hut is a transparent showcase of domestic objects and their associated narratives. Around a vertically stacked program of hygiene, sleeping, living, showering and meditating, a collection of items exhibited in the fair find their right place in the rooms of this house as they color this otherwise neutral universe wasn’t it for the tree nearby. This house of small is a small house to display a collection, an architectural design object that seeks to bridge architecture to design. Out of a few small  meaningful things, the house becomes home.

Project Status: Built. 

Project Team: Karim Nader with Elias el Hage, Christy Layous, Yasmina Baladi, Elie Christian Naameh, Omar Faress Darwish.

Project implemented by Izem

Featuring design pieces by Oumnia, Ardeco, Woodand_, Bokja, Nada Debs, Hadi Maktabi, Nayef Francis, Kore, The Ana Collection.

Tucano bird by David Oliveira for South Border Gallery.

Styling by Jeux de Mains, Salim Cherfane.

Landscape by Serge Hage.

Steel by Parissis.

Photography by Marwan Harmouche.