A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

a treehouse in the sea

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 28, 2009

Has anyone else heard about this? Qifa Nabki wrote in a group email that I received this morning. Am I the last one?

QN was talking, of course, about Cedars Island, a planned cedar-in-the-sea more-Dubai-than-Dubai development. I had heard about it, thanks to a Facebook status message that M posted last week:

M wants to move to Cedar Island.

Okay, I thought – M is fairly peripatetic – after which it slipped from my mind. Luckily, QN was a bit more on the ball – and has a hysterical, very on-point post about the development, which you can read here.

The project’s website is a laugh-out-loud hoot to read. Its news section recounts Tourism Minister Elie Marouni’s recent visit to developer Noor Holding’s offices, in which he “expressed his blessing” and wished them “big success”.  The project promises residents an “exotic, pleasant, and peaceful environment”, which will “mainly consist of 8 distinct zones.” What are these distinct zones? you might ask.  They are “zone a, b, c, d, e, f, g, & h.”

Curious to know what a cedar in the sea might look like? Me, too. After all, how one draws a Lebanese cedar often tells much about one’s political affiliations.

Here is the official rendering of the project:

cedar-islandSigh. It looks like a joke, doesn’t it? But as QN says: this is the real thing. And it will be located on the coast of Damour, between the airport (easy exit in case of troubles: a plus. distance from Beirut: a minus.) and Jiyyeh (easy access to a power station: a plus. increased likelihood of Israeli bombing raids: a minus.), where cedar imagery has been few and far between.

So.  Which cedar do you think Cedar Islands should most resemble?

Chamoun’s cedar?


The Kataeb cedar?


The Ouwet cedar?


The Lebanese Communist cedar?

lebanese_communist_party_flagThe national flag cedar?

lebanese-national-flagOr – my favorite, thanks to its slightly goofy shape – the AUB cedar?aub-logo

Cedars are a serious topic in Lebanon. If Noor Holding doesn’t fully understand what it is getting into, the lifestyle it promises residents could be “exotic” indeed.


5 Responses to “a treehouse in the sea”

  1. Leila1000 said

    This is hilarious, in a sort of scary way. As someone who grew up in an airplane-shaped city (though not an island), I can identify with this sort of architectural literalism, but then again these shapes get lost when you’re on the ground as opposed to in a low-flying plane.

    For some reason this design makes me think of Miami.

    Ah, Dubai-style urbanization. Sigh.

  2. Fredo said

    say NO to this BS!

  3. Leila, I was so intrigued by your comment that I googled “airplane-shaped city” – I couldn’t think of one. The only city I found is Brasilia – did you grow up there?

    Dubai is a head-scratcher, isn’t it? Qifa Nabki was hoping that the project was a joke, but it doesn’t seem to be. Fredo, I’ve seen a lot of responses similar to yours. Maybe the negative reactions will encourage the developers to change their plans.

  4. Leila1000 said

    Great sleuthing skills– Brasilia is it. We used to live on the South Wing (I’m from a Lebanese-Brazilian family).

    There’s a great chapter about total plannin, including Brasilia, in James Scott’s Seeing Like a State (one of my favorite academic books), and I think there’s a lot there that’s applicable to the thing-shaped-island fad in the Middle East nowadays.

  5. […] by adiamondinsunlight on March 12, 2009 At the end of January, many of us began writing about Cedar Island, the planned tree-shaped island luxury housing development taking root (bet you saw that cliche […]

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