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Beirut Design Week 2013: Creative, Innovative & Collaborative


From 24 to 30 June, Beirut Design Week 2013 will be held across Beirut City, featuring exhibitions, conferences, workshops and open studios showcasing the work of local and international designers operating within Lebanon. This year’s event will focus on creative economies, intercultural exchange, design education and design entrepreneurship.

Beirut Design Week is organized by the MENA Design Research Center, an organization cofounded by Maya Karanouh and Doreen Toutikan and incubated by TAGbrands, a regional branding and design agency. The Center is focused on promoting a diverse understanding of design through the implementation of design research and collaborative multidisciplinary projects in the region.
‘Last year, Beirut Design Week 2012 was a milestone for the Lebanese design entrepreneurial community. Its success has allowed us to establish a unique platform for designers of all fields in Lebanon,’ explained Ms Karanouh. ‘By focusing this year on Creative Economies we are furthering our cause to identify Beirut the official Design Capital of the Middle East’.
Ms Toutikan believes that the event offers a much more interactive experience than traditional trade shows. ‘Beirut Design Week is different from a fair or one-off event because it encourages people to explore with a map and a route showcasing the creative talent in our city, while engaging with designers through workshops, talks and open studios.’
‘We will also be providing the opportunity to introduce the public to all the new designers breaking through in the local scene, starting off with the Newcomer’s Exhibition as our opening event in Atelier NS in Mar Mikhael on June 24,’ she added.
With a series of exhibitions, talks, workshops, open studios and international guests, Beirut Design Week will serve as a platform of cultural exchange between the city and the rest of the world. This year the event has also been organized in such a way that each day will be dedicated to a certain part of the city, with a program allowing the audience to explore every area of the city without missing out on any of the events.
Nada Debs, Chair of the Beirut Design Week Committee, explained that hosting a design week in Lebanon can have a longstanding impact of the city and the country. ‘As well as supporting grass roots industries and giving exposure to the talented young designers working in Beirut, we have also seen a collaborative crossover from larger companies looking to support and work alongside the Beirut design community,’ she said.
‘Design can be used to solve many issues which face our society today and by helping to develop our design scene and encourage interaction and cross-collaboration with other industries we can find real and innovative solutions to improve life for our population,’ adds Doreen.
One of the organisation’s partnering with Beirut Design Week 2013 includes the Lebanese American University, who will be hosting the BeirutDesign Week main conference on June 29. Randa Abdel Baki, Chair of Graphic Design Department at LAU said they were ‘enthusiastic to be hosting the upcoming conference at the University’.
‘Working with Beirut Design Week enables our students to experience our local design scene and interact with successful, working designers operating in our city. The conference will involve a panel of regional and international designers and educators discussing supporting and developing our design scene and how to use our current design talent to solve issues facing our country today’ explains Ms.Abdel Baki.
Committee members for the conference include Nada Debs, Rana Salam, Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte, Nada Zeineh, Johnny Farah, Sarah Beydoun, Tala Hajjar, Dina Kamal, Cyrille Najjar, Wyssem Nochi, Marc Baroud, Karim Chaaya, AyssarArida, Hani Asfour, Sarah Hermez, Lara Balaa and RosyAbouross.
Already launched to the public, the Beirut Design Week Poster Competition is asking graphic designers, illustrators, and creatives to design a poster that envisions Beirut in the year 2090,exploring possibilities for the city’s future to show the public what they imagine their city to look like in 77 years. A jury of prominent Lebanese graphic designers including Rana Salam, Hani Asfour, Jimmy Francis, Rami Obeid and other experts will evaluate the entries and an exhibition of the posters will take place in Platform 39, a new exhibition space in Ashrafieh.
Beirut Design Week will take place from 24 to 30 June 2013.
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