Lina Kobeissi, co-founder of MuSEEum, is an interior architect and painter currently based in Dubai. Grown up cross culturally and having worked in the design field for the past 6 years, MuSEEum is a passionate and inspirational research on the endless intersections and collaborations between arts, design and architecture.
Your secret art venue when you seek peace and quiet
I think that peace and quiet is something extremely hard to find these days.. living in big cities, social media, work…. and the list goes on. However when i went to the Hakone Open-Air Museum in Japan, I experienced peace and quiet like I hadn’t in a very long time. I think the essential factor was that the combination of the natural scenery and the incredible sculptures together had something so soothing. Surrounded by these art pieces and mountains, the fresh air.. you couldn’t but completely switch off and just BREATHE it all in. Between me and you.. I never wanted to leave this place, EVER !
Another venue that I have found recently is the XVA Gallery Hotel in Dubai. Although it’s a little bit of a drive from the city, once you sit in the mesmerising courtyard surrounded by art and tradition, the entire hustle and bustle is shut out. The hotel is located in the historic district of Dubai, and something about it makes you want to just laze around, read a book and nap between chapters.
The best food experience in an art space
My best food experience I must say was dining at Monsieur Bleu in Paris, next to Palais de Tokyo. Everything from the entrance, to the restaurant, to the interior and the food was spectacular.
I also haD my first frog legs there and YES.. it’s true, they taste like chicken ! Delicious !
It was definitely one of my nicest dinners with friends while living in Paris and I cannot wait to go back, the ambiance in the space is cool, collected and elegant; so don’t be shy and bring out that extra cute LBD.
For lunch I love to go to the Sursock museum when I am visiting Lebanon, the menu is a fresh and clever selection of mediterranean and fusion dishes. Light salads and wraps are great while sitting outside in the sun, and you must try their lemon ice cream !
I love places with a view! Whether it’s for a full meal, a coffee, or a cocktail with friends a view makes everything oh so much better, I think. The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris definitely takes the cake when it comes to the view! It might not be the best food you get in town but what you see from that terrace is absolutely priceless. I used to take everyone who visited me to the Georges restaurant immediately to soak in the beautiful city over a meal and a glass of wine.
A museum gift shop that you never leave empty handed
Oh my.. I think its cruel to have to pick one, I can however narrow it down to a few of my favourites. I can’t even begin to explain how much I enjoy roaming through museums shops, the selections always have an interesting background or link to the city’s culture or the museum’s current exhibition – basically everything has a story, and i love that.
The one museum shop that I have never managed to leave empty handed – confessions of a museum shopaholic – has always been the V&A in London. I challenge you to walk into that store and not pick up something.
Another museum shop that I religiously go to looking for accessories and jewellery is the Sursock Museum shop in my hometown Beirut. It represents Lebanese jewellery designers that have an unbelievable selection of items. They also have beautiful design objects that represent the traditional artisan craftsmanship.
Recently I visited the Natural History Museum in London and I was seriously taken aback by the new Cranbourne Boutique, the accessories and book selection is unreal. By collaborating with artists they have come up with gorgeous and unexpected fashion items. My personal favourites were the accessories which reflected the essence of the museum for me.
My most recent museum boutique that I discovered is the shop at the Museum of Minerals in Beirut. They have a vast selection of jewellery which is mostly made by local designers. After walking through the impressive collection of stones and minerals in the museum, I thought it was very exciting to see similar semi-precious stones transformed into wearable pieces… needless to say I did NOT walk out empty handed.
Your museum with a wow-factor
For me the Centre Pompidou in Paris by Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini, will always be something special to me. In a city that itself looks like a pop-up museum it looked almost alien-like and out of place. Personally I find that to be one of the most interesting things about it. I lived not too far away from it so whether I was heading to the metro or just to get some groceries, it would keep popping up in-between the streets. I loved the contrast. It might not be the most beautiful museum I’ve been to so far but it still hasn’t lost its effect after all this time and I think thats what gives a museum it’s wow-factor.
The Len Lyre Centre in New Zealand by Patterson Associates is incredible as well, I haven’t had to pleasure of seeing it in person yet but I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else either.
The MACRO by Studio Odile Decq in Rome is stunning. I love it when you walk into a space and find something unexpected. The interior walkways and balconies provide endless perspectives and viewpoints for the visitors and it creates some kind of little city within the building.
What I really look forward to however is the development of a museum culture in the middle east. Being based in Dubai it has been an absolute pleasure to witness the growth of art appreciation and support for local artists in the past years. With major plans to open museums within the UAE, such as the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, I am very excited to see what is to come within the next few years. With Qatar being very successful with its museums and art institutions I am sure this region is going to blossom into a great destination for art and museum lovers.
Please share with us a special personal memory related to a museum experience
The way I experience museums has changed throughout the years, as a kid I remember walking into a museum and being absolutely overwhelmed by its grandeur and contents. I was born in Aachen, Germany, and in the heart of the city there is the Aachener Dom. The cathedral is the oldest one in northern Europe and used to host the coronations of many German Kings. This means that the treasury (now open as a museum) has scepters, crowns and lots of other shiny things that, for children of all ages (including us grown-ups) can be overly exciting. The feeling of being immersed into a different time that I cannot relate to, even in the slightest, is a very special feeling.
Don’t get me wrong, I still absolutely adore stepping in to the world of a museum, as every single one has created its own. However I do this differently now.. I look for things specifically, then adore and obsess over the architecture and little design details, as found in the Waterloo Region Museum, it simply excites me. I appreciate the art and I try to understand it. But mostly I run straight to the shop to see what precious goodies and books I can find this time.
Needless to say I love me some museum!
But there was one museum that in my adolescence has made me feel like a kid again, and thats the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg. Firstly, might I add that the city itself is like walking through a different time, but when I stepped foot into that museum I felt truly immersed into a different time again almost speechless over its size and richness. Pointing and gasping at everything that I came across. It brought out that pure passion and excitement for museums and spaces that we all share somewhere inside of us – I say you all go and find the museum that brings that out in you.