Annabel Karim Kassar is a French-Lebanese architect and designer. She attended the School of Architecture (Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris) and graduated DPLG. Founder of AKK Architects with offices in Beirut, Dubai and London, it has developed masterplans; commercial, cultural and historical residential buildings; and interiors for office spaces, bars, clubs and restaurants using its unique furniture and lighting collections.

Annabel Karim Kassar has lived and worked in many countries, France, Lebanon, Morocco, Great Britain and the U.A.E and has the ability required to work within different cultures. Annabel has extensive experience of projects with diverse functions and of working internationally.

She has won awards for large-scale public installations including ‘Mezzing in Lebanon’, the Pavilion of Lebanon installation won the London Design Biennale Medal in 2016 and ‘Camera Chiara’ at Milan Design Week 2015. The studio’s Al Zorah Pavilion won an Iconic Award in 2015 and a German Design Award in 2016. In the mid 90’s, she was declared winner of the competition to redesign the cinema multiplex in Downtown Beirut Souks.

AKK’s architecture combines a modernist vocabulary with the detailed craftsmanship and aesthetic of traditional Arab, Berber and Ottoman culture. Her career has been devoted to exploring the frontier between eastern and western design in a series of major building projects across North America, the Levant and the Gulf.

Annabel believes that the emotional, humanistic approach to designing interior spaces found in traditional cultures still has much to teach the modern world. Her unique furniture designs also combine oriental craft and colour with a contemporary aesthetic.

In 2020, Annabel began collaborating with the Italian pioneer of unique and functional furniture, Moroso, to design a collection called ‘Salon Nana’launched in Milan in September 2021.

In June 2022, AKK unveiled a large-scale installation entitled The Lebanese House: saving a home; saving a city, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London that explored the reconstruction of Beirut after the 2020 explosion and coincided with the London Festival of Architecture in summer 2022.

Current projects include: a four-storey London townhouse renovation; hospitality projects including Ella Funt restaurant, New York, two restaurants for the Rixos 5-star hotel chain Dubai and Abu Dhabi and a Golf Club in Ajman, UAE.


AKK, Annabel Karim Kassar’s architecture practice, was founded in 1994 in Beirut. Currently with offices in Beirut, Dubai (Annaka fzco) and London, AKK works internationally on commercial, industrial, hospitality and residential projects providing full architecture, interior design furniture design and lighting design for both the public and private sectors.

AKK architects have focused in recent years on creating an architectural space that allows its inhabitants to witness modern structures and ornamental elements coexisting organically. By using cutting edge technology to create kinetic ceilings to collaborating with craftsman and women who bring their century old technique to projects, AKK architects frees its architecture from having to choose between conviviality and aesthetic rigor. Design is more a process then a style.

In 1994, AKK architects was declared joint winner with Valode and Pistre for the Ideas’ Competition for the Souks Reconstruction in Beirut, Lebanon; which was followed by a project for a multiplex development in the Solidere Area. While establishing her offices there, Annabel Kassar was responsible for creating some of the city’s hottest venues, including Strange Fruit (1990), a movie theatre that was metamorphosed into an after-hours chill out space, and which stood out amongst the rest in Beirut’s night scene. More recently Kassar designed three more venues “Momo at the Souks” (2009) , Balima (2009) and Bali Balima (2011). She has also worked on the interior design of several housing projects of traditional Ottoman Villas.

In 2006, Annabel opened AKK Dubai Office, where they designed the Almaz restaurants in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. More recently their project the Cultural Centre Al Zorah Pavilion in Ajman won the 2014 Iconic Award in Germany and they are currently working on a Golf Club (architecture, interiors and lighting).


In the spring of 1998, AKK joined lighting designer Christophe Hascoet and architect Isabelle Rolland to set up a new concept for lighting the traditional Lebanese house. The outcome of this collaboration was the successful production of light installation at the Souks Entertainment Center. In 2002, the trio formalized their design relationship with the creation of CAI.


Downtown Beirut Souks Reconstruction Competition 1994

2014 Arab Property Award for Best Architecture

2014 German Design Council Iconic Award

Shortlisted for 2015 WAN Awards

Iconic Awards 2015

London Design Biennale 2016 1st Prize

London Design Biennale Medal 2016

Nominated for the AD Design Awards 2022

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