THE BANQUE DU LIBAN’S MONEY MUSEUM IN BEIRUT
Through rigorous negotiations and an inspired plan, lighting designer Chérine Saroufim Sacy transforms the Banque du Liban’s Money Museum in Beirut into the first Lebanese museum to use only LEDs.
Think of some essential innovations in the evolution of mankind, and a few things immediately come to mind. Harnessing fire. Fabricating tools. Inventing the wheel. Lebanon-based architect Jacques Fayad, lead designer with Engineered Systems International, would add one more to the list: Money. In 2010, the Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, asked Fayad to design a museum in Beirut dedicated to the history of currency. “BDL wanted to establish a Money Museum in order to increase public awareness of the role of the Central Bank,” Fayad says. “They also wanted to tell the story of money as being one of the most influential developments in the history of human civilization.”
This is a particularly important story within Lebanese history. The BDL was established in 1963 after many years of political and fiscal instability in the country. Starting in 1919, Lebanon had three different banknotes. After its establishment, the BDL created the nation’s fourth in just 40-plus years. The BDL also had to help safeguard the economy and its financial system. And with the Money Museum, the BDL hoped to showcase the long history of money in the country—through exhibitions displaying banknotes and coins dating as far back as the Phoenician era—while also highlighting the current Lebanese pound as a stable monetary currency.