In re­view BEIRUT DE­SIGN WEEK

Ekaruna - - Events In Review -

“For­get pretty ob­jects. We be­lieve in the value of de­sign, which is far more than just aes­thet­ics.”

This year marks the fourth an­niver­sary of the first-ever Beirut De­sign Week (BDW), an an­nual net­work­ing plat­form that show­cases the very best of Le­banese and in­ter­na­tional de­sign.

An ini­tia­tive of the MENA De­sign Re­search Cen­tre, the event was a Beirut-based non-profit one launched in 2012. With an ar­ray of in­ten­tions in mind, BDW has been de­vel­oped and tai­lored to en­able visi­tors to share knowl­edge, net­work and show­case their tal­ent to pro­mote and en­hance Le­banon’s al­ready in­no­va­tive cul­ture.

Held at Beirut Souks for one week only, and un­der the theme of ‘So­cial Be­ings’, BDW 2015 cel­e­brated cre­ativ­ity in Le­banon, and the ways in which peo­ple share their skills and ex­per­tise with one another. Start­ing on the 1st of June, over 150 events took place at al­most 100 lo­ca­tions in Le­banon, at­tract­ing an as­tound­ing 25,000 peo­ple (no, re­ally).

“For­get pretty ob­jects. De­sign is a tool for in­no­va­tion in so­cial change and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment,” says Doreen Toutikian, the Di­rec­tor of Beirut De­sign Week. “We be­lieve in the value of de­sign, which is far more than just aes­thet­ics,” she em­pha­sises.

Since its in­cep­tion, the event has ex­ploded across Le­banon’s de­sign scene. In 2012, there were 52 par­tic­i­pants; in 2014 there were 93, and this year there was an im­pres­sive 120. Even more mind-blow­ing than that, the event’s Face­book page had 1,636 likes back in its first year. Cur­rently, the page al­most hit 14,000 likes, show­ing just how pop­u­lar the week­long ex­hi­bi­tion has be­come.

With an im­pres­sive line-up, this year’s BDW was a week like no other, but still there were def­i­nitely ones to watch. The In­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence took place over two days, fea­tur­ing aca­demics and pro­fes­sion­als from Le­banon and be­yond, with names from renowned in­sti­tu­tions like IBM, Philips, Bang & Olufsen, Par­sons New York and In­sti­tuto Eu­ropeo di De­sign. The Dutch De­sign Ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tured 12 de­sign stu­dios and the Fin­nish De­sign Ex­hi­bi­tion show­cased the work of up­com­ing de­sign­ers based in Helsinki.

BDW is a yearly op­por­tu­nity for the young and am­bi­tious cre­ative across the coun­try to meet and dis­cuss de­sign with some of the in­dus­try’s most tal­ented in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions. With so much go­ing on in just seven days, we’re al­ready think­ing about next year.

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