Friday, December 16, 2011

Lebanon to Bathroom Would Be Better If

"I know you did "Lebanon Would Be Better If" ...
and then at the 'Market Cities' exhibit we did a 'New York would be
better if' ...
at the end of November / early December I saw this in the ladies room
on the same floor where the exhibit had been ...

so goes the idea ... round and round ... thought you would like to see this ..."

This is an email I received from Manizeh from New York.

The idea has potential, and I'm so glad it's not copyrighted. It actually has a Creative Commons license.

Which means it encourages people to steal the idea, remix it and share it.

I am working on a project to make that even easier.

It won't be published until mid 2012.

Until then, there will always be the Free Kit at


[repost from]

Friday, November 4, 2011

This Was a Stolen Bike - Interactive Furniture

I eat at the Brick Lane food market every sunday. The market is a public space with no furniture. People usualy sit next to each other on the sidewalk, or eat alone, or standing up.

I want to creat public furniture made from local materials, that forces people ot share a meal, face to face (when a conversation can happen). And I want the furniture to be a bit uncomfortable so that people can give a chance for others to use it too. The seesaw table you see is made out of a local resource.

In this case, a stolen bike.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Interactive Public Furniture is Taking Shape

Last week, the piece of furniture for the food market was on paper. And I was frustrated because it was hard to make decisions on which shape or material to use.

On Sunday night, I was able to finalize the design of a seesaw table made out of a bicycle.

Why seesaw?

Because it makes the table only usable when you have you share your meal with another person.

Why bike?

Brick Lane is lane is known to be the place to steal bikes and buy stolen bikes. So the seesaw is made out of a stolen bike.

Yes, I stole a bike, technically.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Interactive Public Furniture

When I have a meal, I always prefer to be eating it with someone. Good food with great people is something that makes me happy.

When I went to Brick Lane's food market, I found food from every country. Sizzling hot food in every kiosk. And plenty of young people walking around, choosing food. Picking it up in a plastic or paper or styrofoam. Then eating outside, standing or sitting on the sidewalk, side by side.

There is no comfortable seating. And if you do sit, you will be sitting next to someone and you won't be able to have an easy conversation.

I want to make a piece of public furniture that makes people sit together, in front of each other when they have a meal. and I dont want them to use it unless its with someone else.

If they came alone? Then they will meet someone knew and have a meal with them.

The sketches and fast prototypes you see here are of my development so far, I've been working around the concept of a see-saw. A system that can only be in equilibrium when two people participate.

I now feel frustrated because I'm not sure in which direction to go. I was aiming to use the waste from the market to make the piece but I don't think the form will follow the function.

I need your help, what should I do now?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How To Uncover Your Depression Cycle

The Smoking Cessation Program at the AUBMC let's each participant fill out this test at every check up. This test allowed me to realize that I was happier in 2009 than in 2010 and 2011.

I will be using this test to uncover my cycle of depression, and to see if I really do have cyclothemia as some of my friends suggested. Download the test here and do it every week!

How_do_you_feel_this_week.xlsx Download this file

When you do the test, calculate your score and write it down. Do that for a couple of weeks or even months.

Any score above 16 means you are not very happy, any score below 16 means you are fine.

This post is dedicated to William Choukeir and his

Thursday, September 29, 2011

From Chimney Top to Paper Product

This is the first project from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design.


I'm already 3 weeks late and missed 3 projects. And it's okay.

This project is about finding inspiration in the city and trying to make something out of that inspiration.

My inspiration was chimney tops.

And the products I want to make are:

1) Fun Stools for the Underground

2) Ventilation Duct Public Space

3) Electric Pavement Carpet

Will be posting more on this soon. Till then, must become better a drawing.

PS: this is made of paper and paper tubes. And a touch of glue gun ;)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A University Course That Teaches You EVERYTHING

I dream of an education that develops you, as a person, as a whole person. Because that's not always the case in the universities near you. You don't want to go to university to learn how to solve differential equations. You want to go university to learn valuable skills. So what if there was a course, that teaches you how to learn any skill on your own?

I imagine a course that uses habit forming tasks, game dynamics, inspiring material, passionate teachers... To educate in the best way possible, "how to learn ANYTHING by your own". Because you can. Because we all can, be whoever we want to be.

We have to put enough energy and time to attain the skills we want. Many of us can't do it. Because we give up. I want a course that teaches us how to acquire skills that we need as unique individuals. That's a university I will go to. That's a school I will put my children in. Wouldn't you?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Choose Your Co-founder Wisely

Having a work partner or business partner is very good for whatever
you are working on... As long as the partner, is right for you. I
recently learned this while working on projects with a friend of mine.

The idea was great, we were both motivated and committed to making it
happen. But because our relationship was not working, we were not the
best choice to work together. Trust was lost, along with respect. And
demotivation was right there waiting for me when I saw someone else
getting the credit for my work.

Choose your co-founder wisely.

I think the best work partner, is your life partner. Your husband/wife
might be the best person to partner up with when it comes to work. I
heard of this when I was studying entrepreneurship in Melaka, Malaysia
in 2008.

Why am I saying that your spouse is best person to work with? Because
it comes with the assumption that if you have decided to marry this
person, then you are already compatible people. You understand each
other, you respect each other, you share some common dreams and
beliefs. And nothing will come in between you, not even business.

And the cool thing is, you can solve problems in love, not war.

Choosing a business partner is like choosing a wife. Again, choose wisely.

If you followed my words and ended up with a divorce, then I think you
chose the wrong life partner to begin with. Right?


Sherif Maktabi
Twitter: @sherifmango

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fresh Pictures From Lebanon Better Installation Today


Here are some few pictures I took at the installation at Souk el Tayeb, Beirut, today! One new surprise for you is that half the wall is in Arabic, and the other is in English.


It didn't take a lot of time to fill up the wall, even the farmers and bakers from the Souk contributed.


A video will be coming up to give you a glimpse of the day at Souk el Tayeb.

Many thanks to Cedar Environment ( for donating the 8 eco boards that I used for the wall. And Souk el Tayeb for sponsoring and making this happen. Marc Khairallah for staying with me and helping me take the wall down at the end of the day. Marie Melki for supporting me and helping with taking the wall down too.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Building Lebanon Better Installation at Khandak al Ghamik

There is something precious about small business owners in Beirut. I'm talking about craftsmen: carpenters and electricians and all those who still work with their hands to produce something in our city.


I keep on hearing that they are slowly Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 disappearing from Beirut, a place where there once was 'Souk el Najjarin' and 'Souk el Haddadin'... Souks for every little expertise you could think of! Maybe it is true, that these small businesses are closing shop. But I want to make Lebanon Better in the process of making the 'Lebanon Better' installation.

That's why I chose to go to Khandak al Ghamik to build the frame that will hold the Lebanon Better wall. This way, I am contributing to a local industry and helping local craftsmen to keep on doing what they do best in Beirut.

Khandak el Ghamik is the part of Downtown Beirut that Solider didn't take control of. So it is still inhabited by the same people that were there before the civil war. And everything still looks exactly the same. Maybe that's what Downtown would have looked like if reconstruction never happened.
Abou Ahmad will have finished work on the frame by tomorrow morning. And he would have contributed to make the Lebanon Better installation at Souk el Tayeb this Saturday. Hope to see you there!

With love,

Sherif Maktabi

Twitter: @sherifmango

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lebanon Better at The Souk This Saturday

Lebanon Would Be Better If more people can share ideas to make their country better. That's why Souk el Tayeb commissioned Lebanon Better to make an installation at the Souk this Saturday!


The installation is an 8 meter Lebanon Would Be Better If wall made out of eco board. What is eco board? It's a material made by Cedar
Environmental that looks like a plastic board, but it's not! It's actually made out of plastic bags that you throw away. It's an eco
friendly wall, that will be painted white and stenciled.

There is something really special that will be announced at the souk this Saturday. And we would like you to be the first to know about it. Join Lebanon Better at the souk at anytime between 9am and 2pm this Saturday 23, July! And don't be shy, Lebanon Would Be Better if you came!



Sherif Maktabi

Twitter: @sherifmango

Lebanon Better at the Souk this Saturday!

Lebanon Would Be Better If more people can share ideas to make their
country better. That's why Souk el Tayeb commissioned Lebanon Better
to make an installation at the Souk this Saturday!