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A proposal for 3 million discarded light bulbs on the Beirut riverfront. Copyright Najla El Zein Studio
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In 2010, The Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water undertook the daunting task of distributing 3 million Eco Lightbulbs to households around the country. In the process, they reclaimed three million ordinary tungsten bulbs, and stored them in their headquarters near the Beirut River.
We were approached with a brief to create a monument using the reclaimed bulbs to serve as a message to the public about environmentally responsible living. Our proposal is a landmark which pays tribute to a river which was once romanticized as the lifeline of Beirut, but is now a sad, polluted, concrete channel.
The Lightbulb Mountain sits within a proposed public park, and is encased in a skin of light bulbs. Visitors to the park can enter the mountain and climb the spiral stairs to the observatory at the top. At first, there is nothing to see, but when visitors look through the binoculars, they see a river surrounded by lush greenery, rushing water and an active public- a utopian Beirut.
Aerial view of the site, with the river (blue) and the intervention site (yellow).
Plan of the proposed mountain within a public park, adjacent to the river.
Structural components of the tower
The lighbulbs are filled into discarded aluminum fishing nets which, when aggregated, are reminiscent of iridescent fish scales.
A close up elevation and section of the Lightbulb Mountain.
When visitors reach the top of the mountain, they are invited to look into the binoculars to see a utopian vision of their surroundings.
The river as it is currently (left), and the projected utopia seen through the binoculars (right)