Rana Salam is the founder and art director of Rana Salam Design Studio based in Beirut.Her signature style is inspired by the Middle East’s popular culture.
Rana Salam is the founder and art director of Rana Salam Design Studio based in Beirut.Her signature style is inspired by the Middle East’s popular culture. She takes her visual cues from billboards, vintage film posters and signs of consumerism and translates them into visually captivating solutions for her clients, delivering a contemporary reinterpretation that extends the global relevance of her designs across everything from interiors to products.The daughter of pioneering Lebanese architect Assem Salam, Rana grew up in Beirut. Her father’s gift of a scooter at the age of 15 inspired her to explore the city’s streets, unconsciously exposing her to the shaabi (popular) culture that later became her inspiration.Ironically it was not until later, during her design education in London, that Salam studied and fully discovered her own country’s creativity.With no facility for formal design education in Lebanon, she left in 1986 to pursue her BA at Central St. Martins, to follow this with an MA from the Royal College of Art.At the time, London was leading the global design-branding explosion and artistically expressing its days through the creation of iconic design. Inspired by London’s projected introspection, Salam turned to Lebanese popular art and culture, exploring it and merging it with the latest design technology she essentially commenced to export her own culture through expressions in her work, thereby creating her own distinctive style.Salam opened her first studio in London in 2002, and eight years later she relocated to Beirut where, in 2011, she then opened the Rana Salam Design store. Her artistic intention is to project the Middle East in a fresh engagingly positive light. Despite – and perhaps even because of – Lebanon’s political drama, Beirut is brimming with talented designers, of whom Rana is one of the most acclaimed, and each of whom, in her words, are “passionate and proud of their country, and keen to display their creativity and resilience.”Rana Salam’s career took off when she designed the window display of upscale London store Harvey Nichols, translating hand-painted Beirut street billboards and popstars into glamorous European icons such as Bettie Page and Brigitte Bardot. Soon Liberty of London embraced the flair of Middle Eastern street art and commissioned Rana to design their swimwear department.Her studio has since acquired broad experience and developed specialized knowledge in art direction, design and consultancy for retail, product, print, hospitality and exhibitions.Rana’s design repute is well-established within the GCC and globally.