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.