The Vick Vanlian Awards Recognize Outstanding LAU Designers

The late designer’s legacy lives on at the School of Architecture and Design.

By Raissa Batakji

The awardees with members of the Vanlian family, their faculty and peers.

In honor of the late designer and LAU alumnus Vick Vanlian (BS ’00), the Vanlian family established the Vick Vanlian Awards at the School of Architecture and Design, that recognize the works of graduating interior design students.

At the opening of the exhibit showcasing their work on June 4, Dean Elie Haddad said that this inaugural event, set to become an annual tradition at the school, “will perpetuate Vick Vanlian’s name, through rewarding deserving and excelling interior design students.” Dr. Haddad thanked the Vanlian family for their generosity, as well as Assistant Dean Sophie Khayat for coordinating the initiative.

Speaking on behalf of the Vanlian family, Kaline Vanlian talked about her late brother’s passion for art, design and life. “His motto was to spread love and positivity, and to make people around him happy,” she said.

On that note, Khayat pointed to how Vanlian strove to create spaces that left a positive impact on people’s wellbeing. Drawing a connection with the interior design program’s values, “the Vick Vanlian Awards will inspire and motivate students to create innovative and outstanding work as an empathic response to the needs of people,” she added.

Alumni Outreach and Engagement Executive Ghada Majed (BS ’00), who was also Vanlian’s classmate, asserted that “his legacy will continue to influence and inspire, reminding us all of the importance of boldness, creativity and individuality in our pursuits.”

Tala Salam won first place, Amal Chehade came second, and Yasmine Koleilat took third place in the Interior Design Final Project category. Their colleagues, Lara El Haj and Gaya Saab jointly won the Furniture Design Award.

The winners each received a special trophy designed by Vick Vanlian himself, representing a character from his childhood that stands for freedom of spirit and care for people, as well as a certificate of achievement and monetary prizes.

Salam’s final-year project is a space tailored for the visually impaired, which takes into consideration their other heightened senses. “I worked on using diverse materials of different textures, so that the users of the space can feel, hear and perceive basic lights and shadows through temperature,” she explained. Salam thanked her instructors, family and friends for their unwavering support.


Saab and El Haj’s project is an installation depicting Beirut’s culture, heritage and stories that often go unnoticed. “Our project progressed and got featured in the ‘We Design Beirut’ Exhibit, which was a point of pride and an exceptional experience for us,” said Saab. 


The Vick Vanlian Interior Design Exhibition will stay open till June 13 at the Gezairi Art Gallery on the LAU Beirut campus.