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.

Standard
MENA PROJECTS, RESEARCH METHOD, SOCIAL INNOVATION

Designing Cultural Probe Kits for Lebanese Kids

In collaboration with Toufoula, a Lebanese NGO dedicated to improving children’s quality of life, the MENA Design Research Center is currently involved in developing innovative tools for better health awareness amongst the youth in Lebanon. Following their last Dream Rooms project, Toufoula approached us with a new initiative. The aim is to promote healthier lifestyles within the young community but unlike traditional awareness campaigns, we decided to embark on a different endeavor. In order to find out how to reach today’s kids, we designed cultural probe kits that would help us dig deeper into their world and learn more about their interests and health awareness through inspirational qualitative data. Coming up with the right questions to ask is the most crucial part of the design process; we concentrated on giving the kids all the tools that could convey their thought, ideas, opinions and feelings. By introducing a camera, the child could now take a photo of a preferred object or setting, a sound recorder to explain certain emotions that might be more difficult to write down, stickers to indicate likes and dislikes, and colorfully animated postcards to be inspired and answer some personal questions about themselves. All these various multi-sensual and interactive methods allow the child to be more responsive and intuitive. This form of design research has proven to be far more effective than concrete interviews with researchers in sterile observation rooms with stalking cameras. It allows the child to feel free in his /her environment and explore his/ her world with creativity and insight. We are currently prototyping the first kit which will soon be distributed to a school in Beirut. The results will be collected and analyzed for further modification before mass production and distribution.

Standard
DESIGN RESEARCH, EVENT, MENA PROJECTS

Typographic Matchmaking in the City: a design research project event in Beirut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is not a common occurrence in the Middle East to be able to attend international design research events. This long-awaited publication initiated by the Khtt Foundation -based in holland- is one of a kind because it aims to investigate the bilingual presence of type in urban and social spheres. Developed by a multicultural group of interdisciplinary designers and architects, this project attempts to initiate cultural change, assimilation and integration by the simplest form of communication: the written word.

“The book and the design research project, provide concrete observations on differences as well as shared principles between the Latin and Arabic scripts, and on cultural and architectural conventions for the use of typographic design in three-dimensional urban space in different cities and cultural contexts. It raises thoughtful questions and provides useful tools that designers can use in creating new works for interventions in their own cities.”

The Event will be held on April 11 at the Beirut Art Center.
facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=139181969485454

Standard