In review BEIRUT DESIGN WEEK
“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.