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Zooming In | Article

Another two months have passed, and trying to summarise the times we are living feels like a big challenge.


In July, just twenty-four hours after I sent my former email newsletter, Melbourne went back to lockdown for the second time. The numbers didn’t go down as expected, so a few days later the restrictions became stronger, by introducing more measures including a curfew between 8pm and 5am till at least September 13.

By now, we have been indoors for seven weeks, and in mid-September we’ll reach a total of four months between the first and second lockdown periods.

Cold temperatures in Melbourne started in May, so we have been pumping up the heaters for months and, in a good day, we have seen the sunset at around 5pm.



In this climate, the news from the Beirut explosion arrived, and they hit me hard. Lara Captan is one of my closest friends; thanks to her and all her family’s generosity, in 2017 I spent two weeks in Lebanon.

I knew my parents would worry about my trip to Beirut, so I told them the day before leaving their house (and the country), and promised to send them photos regularly. The next day, we went together to the airport and after I checked-in, I read the news about the terrorist attacks in Catalonia. My parents were driving back from the airport to their town, and got caught in traffic for hours after the attacks. Leaving Barcelona in these circumstances was heart breaking.

A few hours later, I landed in Beirut and every single person I met asked me about my friends and family’s safety. Their empathy and openness moved me.

I texted my parents every day, as they were even more worried than before, and I then became worried for them too.

My family was really surprised about my photos. The only information they had about Lebanon was the data and imagery coming from the Spanish media, which hopefully made them question their perspective towards other cultures.

Surprisingly for me, everything in Lebanon tasted so familiar! During my time in this amazing country, I met passionate and very generous people; visited incredible places; tried their cuisine, and experience its rich cultural heritage through Lara’s and my own eyes. I felt in love with Beirut and its people. Leaving the country was hard, as somehow felt like I belonged there.

On August 4th 2020, a violent blast rocked Beirut. It killed close to 200 people, injured thousands, with an estimated 300,000 people left homeless. The scale of the blast is unlike anything Beirut had seen in its turbulent history and Lebanon is already suffering from near economic collapse, a banking and currency crisis, and the pandemic.

In solidarity with the people of Beirut, I would like to share three initiatives from three Lebanese designers friends of mind affected directly and undirected by this tragedy:


Lara Captan
Staff Relief Fund for The Happy Prince & Vyvyan’s


Mary Choueiter
Helping Rebuilt Beirut’s Karantina Hospital


Kristyan Sarkis
Prints for Beirut


Below, you will also find the Li Beirut initiative organised by Lebanese designer Nadine Chahine in collaboration with the international type design community. 

If you are in a position to contribute, please consider these initiatives, or help the people of Lebanon by spreading the word.


This newsletter is a visual diary to check-in and self-reflect, by writing about the issues I care about, and by sharing resources that educate, challenge or inspired me in any way. With these letters, I’m helping myself and hopefully, one more person out there, by sharing tools to become a better designer, and a better version of myself in the process.


Love xx Maria



This article is part of my latest bi-monthly email newsletter called “September 2020: Zooming In