Samer Noureddine, Founder and General Manager of Gutmann Lebanon, is Orama’s business partner for the Middle East. With a career that spans over 30 years and countless projects in Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon, he talks to us with intuition and insight about the role of architecture in the evolution of minimal frames and what it takes to move forward in business and in life.
“You either show initiative, or you don’t.” Samer Noureddine recalls the words of his first employer some 30 years ago when he called him into his office after his first few days at work. “This has been the single piece of advice that has impacted my career the most. Working hard and always being prepared; Following things through; Spotting and acting on opportunities; Keeping an open mind to new ideas and new possibilities.”
Five years ago, he took the same proactive approach and realized his long-term career dream by establishing Gutmann Lebanon. “Skill, flexibility, and courage are what pushes our team to innovate and to overcome challenges.” When asked what makes his company so successful, it became evident that Samer Noureddine has a deep understanding of what it means to provide the benefits your customers seek.
“We have a great product to offer to the construction industry. But quality is more than making a good product. Quality for us is primarily customer-driven, not technology-driven, production-driven, or competitor-driven.”
To be dedicated to your clients, listen carefully to their requirements, and use your critical thinking and engineering skills to fulfill their vision, are traits that Gutmann Lebanon shares with George Tsimpikos, Francis Flamant and the Orama Minimal Frames team. “I have known George and Francis for a very long time, and I deeply admire them as people and as professionals. We have the same goals and values; We share our successes, but we also support each other through difficulty, challenge and change.”
A double challenge that Gutmann and Orama Minimal Frames are currently facing together is the rebuilding of a 10.0 m by 5.5 m fully motorized minimal sliding facade of a penthouse in Beirut that got destroyed from the port blast on August 4, 2020. “It is ironic, but that’s life. One of the most challenging projects of my career so far, and I have to do it twice! But joking aside, the August explosion was a huge thing, a devastating thing. And Gutmann, the team, myself, everybody around us is helping in every way they can to rebuild our city.”
Samer Noureddine is a firm believer in the importance of collaboration between architects and constructors or facade designers. “Architects are a catalyst in what we do. If it wasn’t for their visionary designs, we might still be selling aluminum systems out of a catalog.” This continuous dialogue between aesthetic and performance driven invention is one reason Samer loves his job. “Architects conceive of something, and we enter this virtuous process of innovation and experimentation until we come up with the right solution. It’s a hard process, but when you see the finished product, it is such an amazing sensation.”
Starting up a business from scratch and building your team’s capabilities—their ability to innovate, to respond to customers’ changing needs, and to create more and different value with each new project they complete—is Samer Noureddine’s idea of a business visionary. On a more personal level, he believes that “a visionary is someone who can touch people’s lives, even in small ways.” And before concluding our conversation, he adds, “while we are on the soft side of things, I would recommend that people take it easy; Happiness and success rely on being humble, thinking constructive thoughts, acting with intent, and creating strong relationships with others.”
Gutmann Lebanon is the number one licensed partner in Lebanon for the Orama Minimal Frames systems. Samer Nouredinne is currently collaborating with Batimat Architects and Mohamed Arayssi for the rebuilding of the Saifi 477 tower in Beirut, using Orama Minimal Frames.
Read the interview with Mohamed Arayssi from Batimat Architects