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International Property Show 2015


Hosting international and local real estate companies, experts and professionals from around the globe, IPS 2015 (The 11th edition of the International Property Show) took place between the 30th March and the 1st April, 2015 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, where companies and investors were involved in networking and the selling and promotion of properties.


On the first two days of the International Property Show, a real estate forum was held alongside the exhibition, bringing global experts, decision makers and investors together to discuss and exchange views and opinions on the global real estate market. The conference brought to light roadmaps for emerging markets to compete with more established real estate markets, and comes at a time when institutional investors are looking at Dubai as a typical realty market that provides income whilst generating assets in the long run.


Josine Heijmans, the exhibition’s director, said, “the exhibition was visited by a wide range of buyers who are very keen to purchase properties in certain locations in Dubai. Expatriates in the UAE showed a preference for buying over renting as the majority of them look at living in the Emirate long term.”


Heijmans added that developers both local and international, have come together to make it the biggest edition to date. Exhibitors at this year’s show include leading UAE developers Dubai Properties Group as the show’s exclusive strategic partner, DAMAC Properties as the silver sponsor and Union Properties and Wahat Al Zaweya as sponsors, among others.


During the exhibition, Wahat Al Zaweya, one of the main sponsors and a leading real estate company in the UAE unveiled its eco-friendly, self-sustainable, mixed – use community, spread out over 22.7 million sq m in the Faqaa corridor of Al Ain region.


Partners included the Dubai Land Department at the forefront, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) as a knowledge partner and the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) as the official industry partner.


The second day of the 11th annual show coincided with the Annual Investment Meeting 2015, held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), where exhibitors from around the globe were competing to showcase their residential projects. Unlike other property event, the International Property Show offers guests the unique opportunity to invest in properties according to an array of factors, such as price, location, payment options and the quality of finishes.


Accredited by RERA, the International Property Show is the leading property sales event in Dubai that welcomes both consumers and business professionals. The exhibition offers the perfect platform for both international and local real estate markets to showcase their residential, commercial and mixed-use products as well as carrying out serious business connections.

Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine

On Beirut: A Step Further Towards Sustainable Urbanism

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Green energy has been on the rise in developed countries for more than a decade now. And though it has been gaining ground in Lebanon, much effort still needs to be exerted to improve people’s awareness and attitudes. The Ekaruna team caught up with some of the actors working for a greener, more eco-friendly Beirut, and asked them about their contribution to the betterment of Lebanon’s carbon footprint. 


It does not take long for any stranger walking through the streets of Beirut to notice the huge amount of buildings and towers being constructed in almost every neighbourhood. Many of these developments look futuristic, but some of them – if not enough yet – share an interesting and vital aspect; they are made to be ‘green’ and eco-friendly.


The 20| 30 towers, developed by Jamil Saab & Co in Achrafieh, are undoubtedly amongst them. 20| 30 was launched at the beginning of 2011 says Adel Imad, Project Manager at Jamil Saab & Co. “Many green technologies were adopted in these towers, specifically the curved photovoltaic arrays that cover around 1700m2 of the south façade. These solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, serving as an eco-power generator for the building’s common services. In addition, the introduction of the ‘Net Metering’, a new service from EDL, allows us to sell the excess generated power to the public network, which is directly translated into a considerable reduction of the building electricity charges, as well a reduction in CO² emission on the city level. This does certainly make the 20| 30 project the first residential building to provide that in Lebanon.”


Developing such technology does not come cheap, but “Jamil Saab & Co aims to be the pioneer in providing new and green technologies for residential buildings,” says Imad. In that context, it is well known that intelligent building envelope is a major cornerstone in the world of ‘Green Building.’ The 20| 30 project was conceived using only the latest and smartest envelope material, and the first element of this envelope is the Zinc shell – an environmentally friendly material that is 100 percent recyclable, very resistant to weather inclement, with a very long lifespan and that is maintenance free. The underlay of the Zinc cladding system consists of layers of wood, rock wool, and fibre nets, thus ensuring a highly efficient thermal and sound insulation.



The second essential element of this intelligent building envelope is the glazed aluminium system, the latest technology in this field. It is comprised of a minimal aluminium system, including two thermal breaks, framing a low E – a surface condition that emits low levels of radiant thermal energy – along with superb solar factor high-performance double-glazing.


The combination of these two elements provides high levels of performance throughout the year in terms of both thermal insulation and solar control, thus saving heat energy in the winter and attenuating the heat transfer in summer. Hence, translating in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and cutting the occupant’s electricity bill in half



“For further contribution in reducing power consumption, and consequently the carbon emissions, we have installed a Heat recovery VRV Air conditioning system, allowing for substantial energy savings. While the AC unit is running, heat dissipation of the outdoor compressor is being collected by the system, and serves to generate hot water for domestic use – therefore eliminating the need for traditional diesel hot water boilers,” Imad adds.


But, the 20| 30 project is not merely about green technology. More than 2000 square meters of ground floor landscaped areas including water features, green lawn and vegetation embodies the building, making it unique in its surrounding.


Speaking of green technology and its various advantages when it comes to efficiency, let’s discuss costs. The government is providing a green loan at a very low-interest rate for buildings with green technologies through the Central Bank, a good incentive for developers throughout the country.


Notwithstanding that more action still needs to be taken in view of transforming the city into a sustainable one, the first and foremost thing that Lebanon is in dire need of, is the implementation of an urban plan for the entire country. “In the meantime, Jamil Saab & Co will keep developing projects in line with its new strategy, and we can assure you that we will make them as green as possible, and seek the rating of the US Green Building Council,” says Imad.


The US Green City Council specialises in green building education and developed a 100 points standardisation system to judge the green ratio of newly built towers, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). These points cover a wide range of initiatives, from solar panels, greenery, rainwater recycling systems to double-glazing. If a score of 40 points or higher is achieved, a building is considered green. There are three different levels to describe their carbon emissions and overall ecologic aspects, silver, gold and platinum. Of course, inspections are put in place to prove and certify the grade of each building, and make sure they deserve the appellation.


How Green is the Future of Beirut?


It does not seem that everyone is confident about the future standing of Beirut as a green city. “Green building in Lebanon was almost unheard of when we started in 2009,” admits Nader Nakib, president of ‘G’, an association that promotes sustainable development. ‘G’ is responsible for the decree that allowed developers to benefit from a close-to-0% loan for green technologies. “More people are turning to green options each year, trying to get the LEED certification for example, but it is mostly luxurious buildings that are beneficiating from these technologies since the direct cost is too high for the majority of small developers. It is a shame since on the long run the savings outweighs the original price, but this concerns the inhabitants of the building, not necessarily the company that developed it.” Gilbert Tegho, CEO of e-Ecosolution, a sustainability-consulting organisation, adds “Ironically, today, some developers will choose to ‘go green’ for financial reasons rather than environmental ones, which does not matter for the ultimate outcome. And, even though, green buildings are still scarce in Beirut. When considering the country’s economic and political situation and the absence of laws on the matter, it appears to be going rather well. There are not much green building per say, but you can find many green features in some of them.”


The ultimate goal of building green is undoubtedly the creation of sustainable cities. But, what does it mean for a city to go green? According to Gilbert Tegho, “it is a very complex concept with parameters having to do with everything from ecology, transport, management of space, quality of life, health to education. It is all about improving life through the human, ecologic and social aspects of a city.” No city has achieved that stage yet, but some are on the way. “The Masdar City project, in Abu Dhabi, is supposed to be entirely eco-friendly, but there is still a lot to be done, and giving that much of the technology needed is recent and costly, it needs enormous investments,” says Nader Nakib. “But you can find projects of sustainable communities in Lebanon since it is easier to work on smaller level areas.”


These communities, a neighbourhood in Downtown Beirut and Waterfront City in Dbayeh have started to develop themselves with that goal in mind. They are working on having as many commodities available as possible such as schools, nurseries, and playgrounds, so as to reduce the need for transportation, and thus use less energy.


Throughout Beirut, a few projects are underway to initiate the transformation such as the creation of pedestrian-friendly areas, the up and coming hype in bicycle transportation, the opening of Horsh Beirut to the public, among others.  However, all this is still not enough.

“There are fewer and fewer trees, when planting more trees should be one of the main objectives of a sustainable city,” affirms Nader Nakib. Indeed, more trees mean a smaller carbon footprint, and Beirut has very few parks when taking its size into consideration. This is why people like Gilbert Tegho are pushing for the support of sustainable communities and districts first. “You start with a district like it’s the case in several places already, and hopefully the other ones surrounding it will slowly begin to imitate it. In this way, you start to tend towards an actual sustainable city.”


Slowly but Surely?


Advocates and campaigners of a greener tomorrow seem to agree that the overall situation is improving, but slowly. Without further implication from the government, it is hard to foresee an entirely green Beirut in the coming years, but the evolution of eco-friendly technologies and the sensible education of the public will surely promote the idea and work at keeping it at the forefront of people’s minds. “The technology is getting better, cheaper and more available. They are now working on some windows that work in the same way as photovoltaic panels. That would mean that every building could produce its electricity all year long. Of course we will have to wait until they find a way to make these windows affordable,” Gilbert Tegho says. But once this type of window is available at an affordable price, the ways in which towers are built will change, and the life of their inhabitants will find itself considerably enhanced. This is, of course, particularly true in Lebanon, where electricity is a huge problem for the majority of the population. The rainwater recycling technology would also, if improved, considerably alter people’s lives. The notion of green technologies behind buildings changing our way of life has a bit of a science fiction feel to it, but it is already occurring in some parts of Beirut and beyond. The 20| 30 and other towers, the few experimentations of sustainable communities or districts, and the determination of people from NGOs and in development companies to make green buildings the norm are a good sign which one should hold on to. One of the reasons for this is that, in the words of e-Ecosolution, “true sustainability revolves around three key aspects: economics (profit), environment (planet), and social responsibility (people), known as the triple-bottom-line or the 3Ps.” If one can create eco-friendly towers, develop a sustainable neighbourhood and improve the life of the inhabitants while generating profit, there is no reason to think that it will be a temporary trend that will be forgotten eventually. The more the population gets in the know on these new ways to both save money and enhance their lifestyle, the more they will fight to make them natural and accepted.

Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine


Men's-WorldThe Men’s World Exhibition is pretty self-explanatory. Take a step inside the exhibition, and you will immediately find yourself immersed in all things masculine. From an extensive selection of the latest technology to luxury cars and boats – so basically, everything currently sitting on the modern man’s Christmas list (and yes, we know it’s April.) One of the partners of the company behind the exhibition, Fairs and Exhibitions World, or FEW, Joelle Ghannam explains, “Men’s World Exhibition is a new concept in Lebanon. We have seen exhibitions solely for boats or cars, but today we are bringing together 150 exhibitors from various sectors under one umbrella.” So, whether you feel like experiencing new and innovative concepts that were completely unknown to you before, or just fancy behaving like a small child at a birthday party, the Men’s World Exhibition 2015 is for you.


If you have a love of the outdoors, be sure to make a pit-stop at the hiking and hunting areas, where you will be sure to find an array of products and services that will enhance your outside experience, from cars and ATVs to motorcycles and aviation products that will appeal to every adrenaline junkie. If you’re in the mood for something that involves a little less mud and a little more luxury, take a look at the wide range of spas and pools for some of that much-needed relaxation you’ve heard so much about.


Maybe fitness is more your thing. If that’s the case, there will be a huge variety of health products, sports and fitness equipment for you to play with. Keeping fit and healthy is becoming an everyday necessity for the man of today, so if you’re looking for some updates to your workout routine then you have come to the right place – a bit like a kid in a candy shop – just as much fun but without the calories.


What about the techies amongst you? We all love the latest gadgets and gizmos (whether we admit it or not) and the Men’s World Exhibition will be showcasing an array of wireless communications, high-tech electronics, cameras, home theatres and enough audio equipment for your car to make you feel like you’re starring in your very own music video.

Organised under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism and is in partnership with SGBL bank, the exhibition is the creation of a relatively new face in the world of events management, FEW. Managing director, Lina Haj explains the thinking behind the company, emphasizing, “we started FEW because we had great ideas for events with an innovative twist, and we felt, with our media, advertising, sales and event management background and expertise in the field, we can make them happen.”

The idyllic La Marina Dbayeh is the perfect location for an unforgettable event that encompasses all things adventure, innovation and luxury. FEW Managing Partner, Brigitte Khoury explains the choice of venue by explaining, “from the onset, La Marina was our number one choice for this exhibition because we wanted an outdoor venue that has the charm of La Marina and the facilities to host an exhibition of this scale.”

From the minute you arrive at Men’s World Exhibition 2015, you will find yourselves living the life of the elite. A red carpet will welcome you and add a touch of glamour to your already sophisticated experience and of course, there are a few cocktails to be tried and tasted at the premium bar. By the way ladies, you are all more than welcome to attend because, after all, what is a man’s world ‘without a woman or a girl?’

Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine

انخفاض بسيط في أسعار الشقق بلغ 0٫7% مكارم لـ “النهار”: مؤشّرات الانهيار مُستبعدة… والطلب مستمر


في ظل الأوضاع السياسية والاقتصادية السائدة في البلاد، ورغم التوقعات بأن القطاع العقاري في لبنان سيكون عرضة للانهيار، برهن الاخير عن صلابة ومتانة في وجه الضغوط التي واجهته فحافظ على استقراره وإن كان ثمة خفوضات في أسعار الشقق لم تتجاوز 0٫7% في بعض مناطق بيروت الادارية.

منذ 2007 تشهد السوق العقارية هدوءاً، مما حدا بالبعض الى توقع الانهيار كما حصل في دبي عام 2009. ولكن هذا الانهيار لم يحدث، وهذا أمر يجزمه الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة “رامكو” العقارية رجا مكارم، وذلك انطلاقا من اقتناعه بأن ثمة طلباً دائماً على العقار في لبنان يتزامن مع القدرة على التطوير. عدا عن أن الانهيار، في حال حصوله، تسبقه مؤشرات سلبية وهي ليست متوافرة حاليا في لبنان. فما هي هذه المؤشرات؟
يلفت مكارم الى أن الحرب الاهلية هي من أبرز هذه المؤشرات، ولكن الانهيار في هذه الحالة لن يقتصر على القطاع العقاري بل على كل القطاعات الاقتصادية، “ما دام الطلب قائماً على لبنان والقدرة الشرائية للبناني المقيم والمغترب جيدة، لن يحصل الانهيار”.
وأكثر، فإن مكارم يعتبر أن “الحركة البطيئة التي نشهدها حاليا، هي مؤشر ايجابي مقارنة بالظروف القائمة في لبنان ومحيطه”، مؤكداً أن أسعار الأراضي الى ارتفاع. وهذا مؤشر ايجابي آخر برأيه، ملاحظاً في الوقت عينه ان عمليات شراء الاراضي لا تزال قليلة لأن اسعارها تسبق اسعار الشقق إرتفاعا. فإما أن الذين يقدمون على الشراء لأسباب استثمارية، أكثر مما هي للتطوير، فيما المشاريع القابلة للتطوير جامدة حاليا لأن الاسعار لا تناسب مشاريع كهذه.
وفي دراسة حديثة قام بها فريق الإحصاءات في شركة” رامكو” وشملت 249 مشروعاً قيد الإنشاء في 67 حيّاً في بيروت، بدا جلياً أن الاوضاع السياسية والامنية غير المستقرة في لبنان والمنطقة أثرت على اسعار الشقق والعقارات في بيروت والمناطق، بدليل أن اسعار الشقق في الأبنية قيد الإنشاء في بيروت انخفضت 0٫7%، في 2014.
أما ابرز المناطق التي انخفضت اسعار الشقق فيها، فهي منطقة السيوفي 4٫5%، فردان 2٫7%. ويعزو مكارم السبب الى قلة الطلب على الشقق الكبيرة. فيما الملاحظ أن اسعار الشقق بالصيفي ارتفعت نحو 4٫7%، مشيراً الى أنه ثمة 3 ملايين متر مربع غير مباعة تم تطويرها في الاعوام الثلاثة الاخيرة.
ولاحظت “رامكو” أن الأسعار المطلوبة عام 2014 للشقق قيد الإنشاء في 249 مشروعاً شملتهم الدراسة، تطورت سلبياً، إلاّ أنها لم تبلغ 1% انخفاضاً بل 0٫7% تحديداً. أما الخفوضات التي زادت عن 10% فكانت نادرة جداً، ولم تتجاوز المشاريع الستة من أصل 249 مشروعاً.
وفي التفاصيل “أن ثمة 250 مشروعاً ارتفعت اسعارها قليلا فيما بقيت أسعار 121 على حالها، وخفضت أسعار 69 مشروعاً. أما المشاريع التي بقيت اسعارها على حالها فتقدر تقريبا نسبتها بنحو 48٫5%، فيما نسبة تلك التي انخفضت اسعارها فتبلغ نحو 27٫5% (بلغت الخفوضات في 70% منها ما بين 1 و 10%)، علماً أن 24% من هذه المشاريع ارتفعت اسعارها، وأنّها تتوزع على نحو 69 منطقة في بيروت. مع الاشارة الى “أن أسعار الأراضي وكلفة البناء كانت مستقرة في 2014″.
ولكن هذا الخفض، “بالكاد يعتبر خفضاً”، وفق ما يقول مكارم. “إذ أن هذا التناقص الضئيل يعكس تأقلم الأسعار مع سوق عقارية بدأت تتباطأ خلال العامين الماضيين”، مؤكداً أنه “لا يوجد أي ذعر في السوق العقارية، وعلى العكس فإن المطورين لا يزالون صامدين على أسعارهم، فيما الخفوضات والارتفاعات بأسعار الشقق هامشية، لافتاً الى أن الاتجاه الإجمالي هو نحو خفض طفيف في الأسعار”.
يحاول بعض المطورين تحفيز المشترين عبر الخفوضات في الأسعار تراوح بين 15 و 20%، وهذا مؤشر جيد برأي مكارم، “كونه يحفّز المشتري لاغتنام الفرصة قبل عودة الاستقرار وارتفاع الأسعار”.
ماذا عن الطلب خارج بيروت؟ لاحظ مكارم أن الطلب خارج بيروت محصور في المناطق التي تتمتع بالأمن أكثر من غيرها، متوقعا كما غالبية المطورين الاقبال على بعض المناطق وخصوصاً ذات الغالبية المسيحية من النازحين الاثرياء من الدول العربية، وخصوصا المسيحيين منهم.
واعتبر مكارم أن المعلومات التي وردت في التقرير “هي فعلاً سابقة أولى في القطاع العقاري اللبناني لم تقم بها أية مؤسسة خاصة أو عامة، ويمكن أن تساعد شركة “رامكو” على متابعة هذه المشاريع سنوياً، وإصدار مؤشر عقاري لأسعار الشقق في بيروت الإدارية.

تطور الأسعار في 2014¶
ارتفاع مستقرة انخفاض المجموع
عدد المشاريع 60 121 68 249
النسبة المئوية 27٫3 48٫6 24٫1 %100
¶ في بيروت الادارية
المصدر: رامكو ش. م. م. – نيسان 2015

4 Ways To Strengthen Your Willpower


Our willpower is tried and tested every day in so many different situations, ranging from work to home life, as well as in our relationships. Stopping yourself from buying those expensive shoes or running late in traffic are just two examples. One of the biggest willpower killers can be starting a new exercise routine or healthy diet. If you are used to eating what you want when you want, and only exercising if you really feel like it your willpower can be put to the ultimate test. Willpower is like a muscle, over time it can be overused and weakened but in saying that it can also be strengthened if you do the right things. These are my tips on how to keep your willpower ready to roll:

Set Yourself Up For Success
If you have strong self-control you will spend less time resisting desires compared to other people. Did you know some people can spend between 3-4 hours of their day resisting desires such as eating, wanting to take a break or sleep? So why do people with more self-control find themselves using it less? It is because they are pro-active. These are the type of people who organise their lives to avoid problem situations. For example taking your car to the mechanic before it breaks down, giving yourself enough time to finish tasks, staying away from take away restaurants and putting your gym bag in the car ready to go. It helps to take control of a situation before it even arises, so when the time comes and you feel like your willpower is about to get tested, it won’t be so bad. My biggest tip to people who always have trouble exercising is being prepared. Always carry gym shoes & clothes in your car so that no matter where you go you have the option there. It will leave a lot less room for excuses!

Don’t Procrastinate
We are all guilty of this one sometimes, telling ourselves we will watch one more episode of Friends and then go for that walk. While it is so easy to procrastinate on so many things in life, it is bad for our willpower because when the time comes to do something important we will be more stressed. For example if you have an evening off and enough time to workout you may decide to spend that little bit longer watching TV and catch up on your workout the next night. The next night comes and you suddenly get called into work or your friend is having a crisis, you can no longer workout. By the end of the week you are stressed and your willpower has probably been used in a whole variety of situations, and you decide working out is just not a priority that week. By biting the bullet and getting things done as soon as possible, you are saving yourself future stress and willpower testiness.

Keep Track
If you are trying to stick to a workout schedule the best thing you can do is write down your goals and keep track of your progress. A great idea is to print out a calendar and for each day you workout mark it with a X, this way you will physically be able to see your progress and it will be an incentive not to give up. We all need a little encouragement from time to time and seeing how far we have come can be a nice surprise when we are feeling a little dejected. This is also why I always encourage you girls to take transformation pictures every 4 weeks. Most people feel like they see no change until they look back on previous pictures and see how far they have actually come. Writing things down is a simple way to boost willpower because it is a mental positive reminder, or even negative which can be encouraging to pick things back up again.

Reward Yourself
When you first start something new like an exercise or healthy eating routine, you may feel like you are using your willpower more because it is new to you. You have to be ready to accept change and slowly you will get to the point where you don’t feel like you HAVE to do anything, exercising will become a part of your daily routine. In the meantime to keep your willpower strong it can be useful to reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, sometimes the most simple things work. For example you can tell yourself if you work out all 5 days like you were planning to, you can go buy a new gym crop. Do whatever works for you! Winter is approaching in Australia, I love taking long baths with relaxing bath bombs but I hardly ever do it because jumping in the shower is more convenient. A simple reward would be taking a nice, hot bath at the end of a workout if it is a miserable day outside. Take the time to pamper yourself a bit more or just do something out of the ordinary that will give you an incentive to keep going. Eventually you won’t need to reward yourself as everything becomes a habit. Try not to rely on food as a reward because that can set bad behaviours between eating foods and exercising, you don’t want to overindulge too much. 

I hope these tips have helped girls, remember having a positive outlook on life ALWAYS helps and taking each day as it comes. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout here or there, recognise you are doing really well and keep going!

Source:Kayla xx


Dress up your room with these creative pillows that are easy on the eyes and effortless to make


Outfit your furniture with these color-block pillows for a look that’s right on trend. First, sketch a simple design on a square piece of kraft paper, then use those shapes as a template to trace and cut fabric to size. Stitch the shapes together and press the seams open. Cut the back of the pillow covering from solid-color fabric. Stitch the front and back pieces, right sides together, leaving a small opening. Turn right side out, press, and stuff with a pillow form. Whipstitch the opening closed.

Source : Do It Yourself






A new rental law that incurs gradual increases in the value of residential lease contracts signed before 1992 will go into effect on December 28.

According to the new law endorsed by parliament last April, tenants under pre-1992 rental contracts will face rent increases in yearly increments over a six-year period, until annual rent costs reach 5 percent of the current market value of their residences.

Tenants whose income does not exceed three times the minimum wage will benefit from state financial aid to cover the increase in rent fees. The total difference in rent prices will be paid to landlords using a special fund to be established by the government for this purpose.

For tenants whose income is between two and three times the minimum wage, the fund will cover the difference between the new rent price and 30 percent of their income while those whose income is less than two times the minimum wage will see the fund pay the total cost difference on their behalf.

During year one, the tenant will pay, on top of the current rent, 15 percent of the difference between the old rent cost and 5 percent of the current market value of the residence.

During each of the subsequent three years, an additional 15 percent will be paid while on the fifth and sixth year, an extra 20 percent will have to be paid by tenants before the rent cost reaches its fair value in year seven and is paid accordingly until the end of the ninth year.

After the ninth year, lower income households will be able to extend their stay until the 12th year while other tenants will have to negotiate a new agreement with landlords or evacuate the residence.

According to the current rent law, landlords can ask tenants to evacuate their residence for two reasons: demolition or the accommodation of a landlord’s family member.

If tenants are asked to leave the premises during the first year of rent adjustments for demolition purposes, the landlord will have to pay a compensation equivalent to six times the new annual rent.

Landlords who request tenants to evacuate for family lodgement purposes will have to pay compensation amounting to four times the new annual rent. Compensation gradually declines to reach nil after nine years.

In the event of a disagreement over the compensation amount or the estimation of the current market value of rented residences, tenants and landlords will have to resort to Lebanese courts to settle the dispute.

The law approved by lawmakers had stipulated the designation of a special committee to estimate the current market value of rented residences, determine compensations for low-income families and resolve disputes that arise between tenants and landlords.

However, last August, the Constitutional Council deemed two articles of the law pertaining to the designation of the committee unconstitutional, ruling that it was the jurisdiction of Lebanese courts to resolve any legal disputes that arise between tenants and landlords.

The law still stands independently of the two revoked articles, according to lawmakers.

While there are no official statistics on the number of families who benefit from rental contracts signed before 1992, the association representing tenants argues that the number is close to 200,000 families.

On the other hand, representatives of the Landlords Association argue that only 13,000 families should benefit from the special fund to be established by the state.

According to landlords, the majority of tenants pay minimal rental fees that often amount to less than LL1,000,000 annually.
The recently enacted law stipulates that tenants wishing to buy a new apartment have priority in obtaining subsidized loans from the Banque de l’Habitat or the Public Corporation for Housing.

Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine

What is Lent?

What to eat if you are removing all animal source foods?


One concern with vegetarian diets has been the possibility of iron deficiency and consequent anemia. Iron bioavailability from foods of plant origin is low compared with that from meat. On the other hand, vegetarian diets provide ample quantities of vitamin C, which is known to enhance the absorption of iron. Thus, it is preferable to focus more on adding some lemon to your meals to increase iron absorption.

People who go for this kind of fasting often gain weight by the end of Lent due to eating much more carbohydrates such as bread, rice, hummus, thyme…etc. So better be careful to your intake and keep your exercise going.

Many Christians throughout the world observe Lent. Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestants benefit from this annual season of sacrifice and simplicity. For non-Christians, Lent might seem like a mystery, since Christians voluntarily make sacrifices. For some, Lent is a period of going on a diet; for others, it is when Catholic co-workers show up to work with ashes on their heads, and fast-food restaurants start selling fish sandwiches. So what exactly is Lent and where did it come from? Lent is a forty day period before Easter set aside as a season of soul-searching and repentance.  The forty days reflect Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for his own time of spiritual reflection.  Sundays, because they commemorate the Resurrection, are not counted.  In the early church Lent was a special time when new converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism on Easter.


There are a few basic tasks that traditionally have been associated with Lent; fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Fasting can be done by many ways: Some people fast till 12 PM, some give away some foods/habits that they usually do, some give up all animal products and some do all together. In an interview conducted with the registered dietitian Pamela Abou Aoun (So7i Wa Sari3 Diet Clinics), she gave us the following tips for you to follow during the Lent season.

First of all, there are a few things that you need to take care of whilst fasting:

  • Drink plenty of water after 12 PM to compensate for its absence all morning. Try not to drink water suddenly so that you wouldn’t overload your kidneys at once. Also make sure not to drink whilst eating so that you eat all your quantities.
  • Make sure you keep your exercise going. If you usually exercise in the morning, switch it till the afternoon period. If you are the type of persons who suffers from sleeping disorders, be careful of exercising late at night since it may increase your adrenaline levels and subsequently decrease your need to sleep.

What to eat at 12 PM?

There are many people who chose to fast till 12 PM; those people do not have anything to worry about but how to maintain a healthy quantity throughout their day.

  1. In case you start your day with a breakfast, you can continue on pushing the timings of the rest of your meals. Ex: Breakfast at 12, Lunch at 4 and dinner at 8-9.
  2. In case you start your day skipping breakfast, then you should increase your lunch and/or dinner’s quantities to make sure you will not lose weight ONLY during Lent and then re-gain it after.2

What to eat if you are removing all animal source foods?

One concern with vegetarian diets has been the possibility of iron deficiency and consequent anemia. Iron bioavailability from foods of plant origin is low compared with that from meat. On the other hand, vegetarian diets provide ample quantities of vitamin C, which is known to enhance the absorption of iron. Thus, it is preferable to focus more on adding some lemon to your meals to increase iron absorption.

People who go for this kind of fasting often gain weight by the end of Lent due to eating much more carbohydrates such as bread, rice, hummus, thyme…etc. So better be careful to your intake and keep your exercise going.

Interested in architecture? check this out.


Roland Helou is a University of The Arts London MA graduate and the founder of ROHD (Roland Helou Design), a Beirut-based architecture design studio that specialises in interior and multidisciplinary design. Nayla Kurd quizzes ROHD’s founder about the influences that have inspired him throughout his working life.


The conversation begins with Mr. Helou discussing his early life and how he initially became inspired to pursue architecture as a career. He reflects on his earlier years, in particular a day spent with his father. “Beirut was under reconstruction, and my dad took me on a tour of the city’s central district while explaining the process behind the area’s revival. Meanwhile, my thoughts drifted, and I began plotting; creating my very own Downtown Beirut in my mind. It was there and then that I knew this is what I wanted to do.”


Mr. Helou has a very distinct approach to design, describing it as a holistic one. He explains, “in my opinion, successful design engulfs both functionality and aesthetics. Functionality as a base, laying the guidelines; while aesthetics to aggregate the design process.” He emphasises the importance of understanding design as a whole, and how one should take all the smaller parts of the design process into account in order to do so.


While many designers credit a single object or person as their inspiration, Mr. Helou has other ideas. He says, “my way of thinking was not influenced by any one singular being. In fact, it was a sum of elements; the sum of interactions, meetings, encounters and feelings, which I had experienced in my life, put together to attain a certain perception.” This idea of his inspiration coming from a collective multitude of elements is a reflection of his holistic approach to design, again crediting various smaller components in order to understand the bigger picture. He comments further by saying, “accordingly, whenever I am working on a project, my main approach is ‘human’ based. It is the person’s interactions and experiences around the space and how it caters to his/her lifestyle, and façon d’être. My creative workflow hence remains constant in every project. It is the best process development that allows me to mature my ideas concretely.”


When asked about tools and which of them he enjoys using the most, Mr. Helou’s answer is short yet thought-provoking. “A pen,” he replies, “it directly translates an idea while still in its most sincere form, before it transforms into the virtual expression of it.”


Speaking of virtual expression, Mr. Helou goes on to explain how he records his ideas. “I have a powerful photographic memory,” he says. “Sometimes I find myself representing abstract concepts in my mind as geometric and physical forms in order to retain and process them more effectively.”


When it comes to his projects, we ask Mr. Helou if he has a favourite. “I don’t have a favourite project. Each one has different challenges, processes and approaches. However, what I enjoy most is the sight of my work developing and morphing throughout every enterprise. Sometimes it can be a surprise, but at the same time it is always an addition to my learning experience.”


Mr. Helou’s learning experience is continuously changing, and he is currently working on a project in Rabieh. He gave us a little insight, telling us, “I am currently working on a residential refurbishment project in Rabieh. It is always a pleasure to work on refurbishment projects because I love reimagining a new space within the constraints of pre-existing elements.” Mr. Helou goes on to explain how he uses opposites to create a balance, saying “on this occasion, this means working with minimal furniture that would further enhance the meshed marble flooring. For instance, the incorporation of a ‘medieval- inspired’ bar connecting the three main living areas, and acting as a bridge between the traditional and the contemporary.”


So what is it that inspires the creative mind that is Mr. Helou? “The movie industry,” he tells us enthusiastically. “Movies are not only my release from the daily frivolous problems, but it is also a source of inspiration for my work – particularly fantasy and sci-fi movies.”


Delving a little deeper into the life of Mr. Helou, we probe him further and ask him to share any rules he tries to go by. He tells us, “I am a planner by nature; this is why I created a blueprint for my life that I try to live by. My personal motto has always been based on setting goals and having a specific vision of what to work towards in terms of reaching the ultimate objective.”


In order to keep himself on track, Mr. Helou arms himself with two devices, in particular, his phone and his tablet. “My phone has gradually become an extension of my body, and my tablet is always on my office desk for surfing the net,” he says. Mr. Helou’s reference to his phone as an extension of himself highlights how we are becoming more dependent on technology to complete everyday tasks, from checking our emails to carrying out research. He isn’t always working, he reassures us, “my Kindle is waiting by my bed for a good read too.”


Technology has become so advanced that it now plays a huge part in our lives – be it in the workplace or at home. Speaking of the interior design industry in particular, Mr. Helou says, “we are becoming more and more exposed to the global design industry, and with the seemingly endless capability of the internet, everything is a mere click away. However, it is vital to know how to filter the resources presented to us, as they are often polluted with misinformed information.” Mr. Helou makes a valid argument, pointing out one of the issues related to the sheer amount of information available online is that it isn’t always correct. He continues, “it is also important to remember that new technology – no matter how tempting it might be – should maintain its position as a tool, rather than as an end in itself.”


The impact of such technologies has meant the development and creation of smart homes. This smart technology has the potential to change the way we live, and Mr. Helou has a lot to say about it. “Smart homes and EIB systems are fast becoming as close to living organisms as the ones who reside within them.” An EIB (European Installation Bus) is a system that allows all electrical components to be interconnected through an electrical bus – or communication system; and each component can send commands to other components, regardless of where they might be. Mr. Helou continues, “these homes both understand and cater to your needs; however they require the same understanding in return in order to prevent them from becoming a burden rather than beneficial.”

ROHD offers high levels of both commitment and refinement, and is a place where collaboration is an important element throughout the design and construction process. The design studio prides itself on being able to explore imaginative and innovative ideas, all the while maintaining a pragmatic perspective that results in the creation of functional, beautiful and memorable spaces.

Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine

Is your kitchen making you fat?

If you’re struggling to eat better and maintain a healthy weight, your kitchen may be sabo­­­taging your efforts. Researchers have studied the “food environment” for years, looking at such factors as how advertising, packaging and distraction make people eat more. More recently, they’ve turned their attention to the impact of architectural design on eating be­havior and how kitchens and other rooms can be laid out to be conducive to healthy eating.

In particular, researchers are looking at how people store food, where in their homes they eat, what they look at when they eat and other variables to determine what encourages healthy eating and what discourages it. If occupants have to get up and walk through a doorway or up steps to get to their food, might they eat less? If there’s a window in the kitchen overlooking a garden, will they be inspired to eat more produce? Other variables in rooms— such as the lighting, air circulation, sounds and colors—can also affect what people eat.


The field of designing “healthy” kitchens— and even entire “healthy” buildings—is still in its infancy. Perhaps one day, all homes (and schools) will be built with healthy eating in mind. In the meantime, here are a few simple kitchen changes you can make, gleaned from some preliminary research.

  • Keep unhealthy foods out of sight (in a top cabinet, for instance, or the rear of the re­­frigerator) and healthy ones within easy reach (on the counter, in eye-level cabinets in the front of the fridge). If you have open shelves or glassed-in cabinets, don’t use them to store unhealthy foods. Studies have shown that the more visible and accessible a food is the higher the consumption— for better or worse.
  • More spacious and pleasant kitchens have been linked to better food purchases and increased desire to cook (so you don’t have to rely on convenient microwave meals). You can’t change the size of your space easily, but you can try rearranging appliances and utensils in ways that make the space more efficient, which makes it easier to cook and thus may motivate you to prepare meals with more whole foods.
  • To avoid overeating, don’t make the kitchen your hangout. Your kitchen chairs should be comfortable enough for sitting dur­ing a meal, but not so comfortable that you want to lounge in them all evening. Save your more comfortable chairs for a different room, away from the kitchen, where you can retire after meals. Better yet, take a walk after meals.

Written by Pamela Abou Aoun a registered dietitian with So7i wa Sari3 diet clinics