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First-ever Beirut Design Week kicks off

  • Designers will demonstrate their skills such as making furniture out of nylon bags. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

  • The main hub of the Beirut Design Week will be the Tourism Ministry in Hamra. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The MENA Design Research Center kicked off Monday the first ever Beirut Design Week, pulling together Lebanese architects, designers, textile manufacturers and creative experts. These Beirut design creatives will showcase their work and hold forums over the course of the week highlighting links between design and the community and topics addressing design and business – architecture in particular.

A number of the participating designers will open up their shops and showrooms after hours to enable the public and fellow industry professionals to get a unique look into their practices. Others will also hold demonstrations on skills such as designing and making your own fashions and bags.

Hamra-based Polypod studios noted for The Daily Star that creative industries, such as architectural and fashion design, “are key drivers of business.”

Polypod, which will open up its studio during the week, boasts 12 full-time designers who bridge multiple-design disciplines from architecture to interior design, graphic design and Web development. It was co-founded in 2006 by Hani Asfour and Rana Samara Jubayli.

Event organizer Doreen Toutikian, director of the MENA Design Research Center, said: “It is about time that Beirut had its own ‘Design Week.’ This cosmopolitan city has been constantly redefining its design culture and exhibiting to the rest of the world some of its most unique creations.”

“We will be witnessing the ‘FIRST’ Beirut Design Week by connecting the dots throughout the city and exploring the work of all the designers and architects that have been drawing, molding and sewing Beirut’s contemporary identity through design,” she added.

She noted that the range of participants include fashion designers, product designers, furniture designers, communication designers, interior designers, architects, design educators, social designers, design researchers, publishers and galleries.

Toutikian said planning started last year while working with the Desmeem project, an international design project that involved 40 designers (architecture and fashion) from Europe and Lebanon. “We began by asking a few firms [about the event], and it grew from there,” Toutikian added.

Three themes will be explored during the event: design and community; design and education; and design and business. The main hub of the Beirut Design Week will be the Tourism Ministry in Hamra, which will host the central Desmeem exhibition.

Participating firm .PSLAB – designers and manufacturers of site-specific lighting – sees the event as a forum to promote its own business and Beirut-based designers in general.

“We [.PSLAB] will be participating by opening our doors to visitors on their design tour. This presents us with a great opportunity to give visitors a better understanding of who we are as a brand and to lead open and face-to-face discussions,” said Lara Noujaim, a principal with .PSLAB. “We design our spaces in a specific way to incorporate the concepts of communication and open dialogue – a true reflection of our philosophy. All the items in our campus have been designed and manufactured down to the smallest detail,” she added.

“We will be engaged in a compelling discourse with some brilliant local and international design thinkers and educators,” Toutikian said.

The main event exhibition will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., June 25-30. For more information, please visit: http://www.beirutdesignweek.com.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 26, 2012, on page 2.

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