BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014, conference, EVENT

Creativity and Regeneration in Mar Mikhael

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On July 17th, GAIA Heritage organized a SWOT conference entitled  “Creativity and Regeneration in Mar Mikhael” at the abandoned Brasserie du Levant, an old beer factory in the area. Mar Mikhael is currently one of the trendiest areas of Beirut where the hippest bars and restaurants are situated, as well as  designer/ architect/ artist communities mixed with metal workers and  greasy garage shops. Like all upcoming neighborhoods in metropolitan cities, this area has also been under the real estate microscope causing construction of high rises at every corner and destruction of heritage architecture, which inevitably result in tripling rents, inviting large crowds to the overflowing bars, and eventually forcing the small designer boutiques and ateliers out. Seeing that this has been quite a recurrence in Beirut with the previously trendy neighborhoods, this conference aimed to bring together major stakeholders in the region along with government officials to discuss the issue at hand and collectively suggest solutions through dialogue.

The day was divided into an introduction and research panel, introducing the MEDNETA and the cooperation of this project with other historical cities, as well as a summary of the socio economic research results that were accumulated by GAIA as well as other sources. Then came two discussion panels; the first which dealt with the subject of ‘The Creative Economy: Issues of Sustainability in the Context of a Rapidly Changing Neighborhood”, and the second entitled: “The Mar Mikhael Neighborhood: Arts, Crafts, and Design’s Engagement with the Public Space”.

The speakers of the first panel were:

  • • Dr. Khater Abou Habib (Chairman of KAFALAT)
  • • Mr. Emile Nasr (CEO l’Agenda Culturel)
  • • Prof. Stephen Hill (Economist, Sohar University)
  • • Ms. Sarah Hermez (Principal Creative Space Beirut)
  • • Mrs. Rosy Abourousse (Principal Rosa Maria Jewellery)
  • • Ms. Doreen Toutikian (Director, MENA Design Research Center)

Moderated by Ibrahim Nehme, editor of The Outpost magazine, the panel was a discussion between designers in the area, cultural entrepreneurs, and investors. We presented Beirut Design Week, its causes and goals, within the framework of Mar Mikhael, as it is one of BDW’s main focus areas. Two of BDW’s participating designers spoke about their work their challenges. And eventually a discussion with the audience was developed about the needs of designers to grow in such a milieu given the current context of Beirut.

The second panel speakers were:

  • • Dr. Mona Harb (Associate Professor Urban Planning, AUB)
  • • M. Serge Yazigi (Urban Planner, head of MAJAL)
  • • M. Nabil Itani (Head, CDR CHUD WB project)
  • • M. Mario Khoury (Central Bank, Investment Department)
  • • Mrs. Maria Halios (Owner, Maria Halios Design)
  • • Mrs. Christine Codsi (Partner, Tawlet/Souk el Tayeb)
  • • M. Karim Bekdache (Owner, Karim Bekdache Architecture Studio)

Moderated by Dr. Elie Haddad, Dean of the Art and Design Faculty at the Lebanese American University, this panel was fervently defending rights of citizens in the city and insisting that the government must enforce the laws to protect the rights of citizens -especially when it comes to protecting small industries like that of crafts and design against the pressures of rising rent costs, real estate ventures, and the increasing number of bars without enforced regulations.

The Conclusion panel members, headed by the discussion leader Dr. Georges Zouain, head of GAIA Heritage, included:

  • • H.E. M. Raymond Arayji (Lebanese Minister of Culture)
  • • M. Alexis Loeber (EU, Head of Cooperation Division)
  • • M. Ibrahim Nehme (Editor The Outpost)
  • • Dr. Elie Haddad (Dean LAU School for Design & Architecture)
  • • Professor Sofia Avgerinou‐Kolonia (Director of Urban and Regional Planning Department, NTUA)

All speakers expressed support for future initiatives related to Mar Mikhael’s Arts, Crafts and Design. Moreover, the final panel concluded in hopes of strengthening the rule of law in the neighborhood and innovation in the realm of the creative economy. This project has been funded by the European Union.

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BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014, EVENT

Pictures of BDW14

Here are but a few pictures from the events of Beirut Design Week 2014, including workshops, talks, exhibitions and more. Each event offered something new, something different and we look forward to sharing more pictures with you shortly.

Jan Kath, "What inspires us to design"

Jan Kath, “What inspires us to design”

"Fostering Creativity and Design Thinking"

“Fostering Creativity and Design Thinking”

The Storytelling Playground by Made for Brands

The Storytelling Playground by Made for Brands

Habatiq "Chasing Craftsmen"

Habatiq “Chasing Craftsmen”

Metamorphosis Exhibition

Metamorphosis Exhibition

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BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014, EVENT

The end of a fantastic week

Beirut Design Week 2014 has now ended, and we would like to thank everybody who attended. Thank you to the participants for sharing your work, thank you to the international guests who travelled from far and wide to be a part of our events, and thank you to the public who came along to discover BDW in its third edition. We hope you all had as much fun as we did, and see you all next year!

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BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014, EVENT

Fostering Creativity and design thinking

On Thursday, we were lucky enough to be joined at the Lebanese American University by Mona Hatoum, Caroline Simonelli, Hilary Alexander and Esen Karol, who all came together to talk about their respective experiences in their fields.

Esen Karol walked us through her work in communications and graphic design, mentioning her collaboration with Mona Hatoum and her latest project “Don’t Forget To Remember”.

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Mona Hatoum, video and installation artist then talked about her experience as a designer, from the day she graduated from LAU to last week. She spoke about her many exhibitions on the conflicts around Palestine and others featuring human hair.

Hilary Alexander, fashion journalist for the Daily Telegraph then took the stage and regaled us with stories from photo shoots around the world, and her own journey, “from typewriters to Twitter”.

Caroline Simonelli rounded off the talk with the story of her rise to fame through fashion design, and her success as a professor at Parsons.

All four of these inspirational women gave insightful talks as to the changes in the design world in the past few decades and the changes to come in future years. It was a very successful conference.

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BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014, EVENT

Hamra Day

Come along to the LAU Campus today at 6pm to listen to Hilary Alexander, Mona Hatoum, Caroline Simonelli and Esen Karol talk about their experience in their respective fields. The conference is entitled “Fostering creativity and design thinking” and we look forward to seeing you there!

Today we have a great number of workshops on offer, including ones on Interaction design, service design, jewelry design, co-creation and innovation, fashion design, fashion journalism and startup design. Feel free to stroll around the area, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the red Beirut Design Week flag!

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BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014, EVENT

Gemmayze and Sursock day

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Yesterday, we again had a series of very successful events. Our guest Dutch Designers gave a talk on each of their respective design fields in the Beirut Souks and explained in detail about their wish to collaborate more actively with the Arab World through their work.

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Rowan Bain also gave a talk on International Design in the Victoria & Albert Museum London in Dawawine, followed by a discussion with Najla el Zein and Maurice Asso.

The day also featured many exhibitions and workshops along Gemmayze, which allowed participants to stroll at their leisure down the street, exploring the designers’ work along the way. The workshops included a wide variety of activities, ranging from accessory making to learning about Financial tools to start and expand your business.

The day was then rounded off at Le Gray with a fantastic designer dinner!

We look forward to seeing you in Hamra today!

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BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014, DESIGN RESEARCH, EVENT, SOCIAL INNOVATION

Nouvelle vague: the new french domestic landscape

“Les nouvelles forces du design français: une nouvelle fièvre entrepreneuriale”

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Cedric Morisset and Pauline Deltour came together yesterday at the Institut Français to talk to us about how the design scene across France has changed in the recent past. Even in the past ten to fifteen years, Morisset says, a growing number of young French editors has emerged, which means that a lot of French designers can now produce in France, rather than abroad. These editors include Moustache, Petite Friture, Superette, Specimen, Saint Luc, Goodbye Edison and many more besides.

This is a departure from old ways, when Roche Bobois and Ligne Roset were the only famous French editors. Indeed, this new phenomenon means that a new, younger generation of more international-minded designers are emerging, creating their own brands and developing them with the help of the previously listed editors. France is evolving, opening itself up in many ways to new possibilities, and design is one of the fields benefiting from these changes.

Morisset concludes by saying that these designers are being encouraged to take new initiatives, and he looks towards the future to see how the French design scene will incorporate itself more actively into the international community Beirut Design Week is helping to create.

Pauline Deltour, a designer herself then takes over to talk about her different sources of inspiration. These include “Legacy” in a big way, because she worked alongside Puiforcat for many years and a lot of her collection reflects their work. In particular, their collaboration on the “Argent de Poche” collection illustrates this relationship.

Next, Deltour moves on to talk about “Material Exploration”, for which she mainly used metal wire, bending it to her will to create anything from draining boards to umbrella stands. Next, she spoke of the “Manufacturing Process”, talking at length about the new innovative techniques she discovered, again using metal wire as a key material in her work. She explained that she wanted to use “existing anonymous objects”, which is to say everyday materials and objects that are barely noticed anymore, taking them and using them in new, innovative ways. An example of this would be a copper pot, of the type we’ve all seen at Grandma’s house, and using the material, flattening it and transforming it into a table top that was later used by an Italian restaurant as the dimensions of the table matched the dimensions of the pizza.

She therefore uses culture’s influence a lot, adapting her work following the people she collaborates with, be they Italian, Japanese, French or other, and uses layers, landscapes, valleys and stone gardens to develop her work along many different lines.

The talk was very successful and a brilliant insight into what the design scene of France looks like. We look forward to welcoming Pauline and Cedric back in the future!

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BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014, EVENT

Beirut Design Week 2014 is officially launched!

Last night, Monday 9th marked the official launch of Beirut Design Week 2014, with three key exhibitions starting us off. This year, we were delighted to welcome guests, both local and international to the Beirut Souks, where the Contemporary Danish Architecture Exhibition and the Dutch Design Exhibition both took place. Everybody gathered in the jewelry section for drinks, music and of course to discover the work of international designers including Rik Runge, Jasper Van Grootel, Mieke Meijer and Roy Letterlé, Dennis Meulenbroeks and Aike Heuvelink and Niels Bakkerus right here in the heart of the city.
As the sun set, we made our way over to the Newcomers Exhibition in Saifi, the third launching event of this week. One plus One, Moi et ma Puce, We Shape Hearts, Sacoche, Kera, Karma J, Nour Hage, Sana’ and Siwar Kraytem all came together in one space to show off their new designs and collections, to great success. The street was crowded with people excitedly talking about the numerous talented young artists participating in Beirut Design Week.
We have a lot of exhibition spaces in Saifi Village, so guests could walk around the streets, each shop displaying something different, from jewelry to fashion to graphic design. Plastik Magazine also had a huge success with their pop-up shop.
The crowd then moved on to Central for drinks and canapes, a perfect end to a great evening.
Join us throughout the week for more exhibitions all across the city. For more details, click here.

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BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014

Meet the 93 participants of BDW14

Come along to our Beirut Design Week events to meet the 93 Lebanese designers taking part this year. These artists range from fashion designers to graphic designers, including furniture design, service design, jewelry design and urban & landscape designers and architects.

For full details about what’s on where, click here.

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BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK 2014

BDW14, behind the scenes…

NEW-LOGO-BDW2014Here at MENA Design Research Centre, the excitement is mounting as Beirut Design Week approaches. If you haven’t already, take a look at all the fantastic workshops, talks, exhibitions and other events we have scheduled for you from the 9th of June to the 15th.

What you don’t know is how hard the team is working to put on these events, and so here is a little insight into the preparation it takes to organize a festival on the scale of Beirut Design Week. Currently in its 3rd edition, it has grown immensely since 2012, and this means a lot more work for the team. From press releases to coordination of designers, both local and international to creating and sending hundreds of invitations, here is the story of how it is all done on time.

Since March, the whole team has been working towards creating Beirut Design Week 2014. As usual, Beirut Design Week is held across Beirut City, featuring exhibitions, conferences, workshops and open studios showcasing the work of local and international designers operating within Lebanon. All our events focus on creative economies, intercultural exchange, design education and design entrepreneurship. 

MENA Design Research Centre has been working to bring together designers from around the world and right here in Beirut to showcase their work in different areas of the city including the Beirut Souks, Saifi Village and Gemmayze. The events are designed so that participants can explore the city without missing out on any of the events.

The past few months have therefore been full of emails and calls to designers and artists worldwide to invite them to participate. Hilary Alexander. Rik Runge, Rowan Bain, Mona Hatoum and Jasper Van Grootel are only a few of the inspiring people that will be speaking during Beirut Design Week. These talks will vary from Fashion Design to Interior Design to Graphic Design as well as Design and Entrepreneurship and Contemporary Art. Be sure to come along to see any or all of these artistic innovators.

The week will not only feature well established figures of the Design community, however. The annual Newcomers Exhibition is back with young designers eager to display their work. See Karma J, Johanna Jonsson Abchée’s display of mirrors, Karen Kanaan and her brand Kera, Sanaa Ayoub’s fashion line Sana’ for today’s modern woman, Siwar Kraytem and her cycling guide to Beirut. Discover Nour Hage’s eponymous fashion line, We Shape Hearts, born out of a love/hate relationship with the city, Sacoche’ beautiful display of leather bags. Witness Moi et ma Puce exploring the bond between moms and daughters and finally, One plus One’s furniture concept.

Beirut Design Week will also feature the work of Crealev (Angela Jansen), Studio JSPR, Studio Mieke Meijer, Niels Bakkerus, Rik Runge (Philips Healthcare) and T+HUIS in collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands and Dutch Design Week. Explore the latest in Dutch lighting design, furniture design, interaction design, product design, and design for social impact.

Another event of the week to look forward to is the Contemporary Dutch Architecture Exhibition. Socially sustainable projects that are programmed for interaction, environmentally sustainable projects that reduce emissions by converting sun, wind and water into energy, and economically sustainable projects, where abandoned buildings and even entire districts are be­ing put to different use – all are represented in this exhibition, which gives an overview of the talent and diversity of contemporary Danish Architects.

We’d like to say a big thank you to all the members of the MENA Design Research Centre and everybody else who has contributed to making Beirut Design Week possible for all your hard work.

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