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U Magazine - - CONTENTS - By CE­LINE AS­SOUAD

Cel­e­brat­ing tal­ent and crafts­man­ship dur­ing Beirut De­sign Week.

Beirut De­sign Week (BDW) is the largest de­sign fes­ti­val in the Mid­dle East and North Africa run­ning suc­cess­fully for the 4th con­sec­u­tive year. Dur­ing one en­tire week (from the 1st un­til the 7th of June, 2015) more than 150 events in al­most 100 lo­ca­tions around Beirut are gath­ered to celebrate the best of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional de­sign of all forms invit­ing more than 25,000 visi­tors. To­day, U Mag­a­zine dis­cusses the grand event with BDW’S Fes­ti­val Di­rec­tor, Doreen Toutikian. U: How do you se­lect the de­sign­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in Beirut De­sign Week? D.T: BDW is a plat­form to net­work, share knowl­edge and show­case tal­ent in or­der to re­in­force the cre­ative economies, de­velop entrepreneurship, and pro­mote Le­banon’s in­no­va­tive cul­ture. All de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects who would like to join this plat­form are welcome –pro­vided that they fol­low our prin­ci­ples and are good as­set to our cre­ative econ­omy. Ideally, par­tic­i­pants ap­ply online and fol­low the pro­ce­dure, we do not se­lect par­tic­u­lar de­sign­ers but in­vite all those who are like-minded to join us. U: Tell us a lit­tle bit more about the work­shops? Is it open to the public? D.T: All events are open to the public, and the work­shops in par­tic­u­lar are o'ered in or­der to o'er new skills and ex­per­tise in a va­ri­ety of de­sign dis­ci­plines. "e goal of the work­shops is to pro­vide new tools for in­no­va­tive de­sign think­ing in or­der to bridge the gap be­tween aca­demics and the evolv­ing in­dus­try. U: Do you feel the de­sign in­dus­try is grow­ing big­ger in Le­banon? D.T: De­sign is a grow­ing !eld that is re­cently de­vel­op­ing world­wide; more­over Le­banese de­sign­ers to­day are part of the global con­ver­sa­tion.

As the hub of cre­ativ­ity in the MENA re­gion, the in­dus­try is grow­ing at a fast pace and BDW is try­ing to cap­ture its dy­namism and pro­vide a plat­form for its de­vel­op­ment and growth through col­lab­o­ra­tion, pro­mo­tion and di­a­logue. U: What’s new about Beirut De­sign Week this year? D.T: "is year we are ex­pand­ing our reach within and around Beirut city. "e num­ber of par­tic­i­pants has grown to more than 140. "e pro­gram in­cludes 116 events through­out the week, with 24 in­tense and var­ied work­shops on a va­ri­ety of de­sign dis­ci­plines. U: Tell us a lit­tle bit more about the con­fer­ences held? D.T: "is year we are fo­cus­ing on the value of De­sign in Tech­nol­ogy, Busi­ness and So­cial Im­pact, this is most ev­i­dent in our In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence tak­ing place on June 2nd and 3rd at Cin­ema City in Beirut Souks. Some of the key­note speak­ers in­clude Jo­hanes Torpe, the Cre­ative di­rec­tor of Bang & Olufsen, and Doug Pow­ell, the De­sign Prin­ci­pal at IBM. U: What are your plans for BDW for the years to come? D.T: We want to grow aware­ness on de­sign in Le­banon to the Global de­sign prospect and de­velop our ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural pro­grams to in­clude more ex­perts and in­no­va­tive ideas that will en­rich our de­sign scene in the coun­try. U: Do you feel that the so­cial media has helped Beirut De­sign week grow big­ger? D.T: Ab­so­lutely, our au­di­ence is very ac­tive on so­cial media, es­pe­cially on In­sta­gram and Face­book. We have con­cluded that most of our public is built through these plat­forms. Young cre­ators nowa­days

hardly look at tra­di­tional forms of media, this also helps us bet­ter un­der­stand their needs as it is so easy for them to give us feed­back through mes­sages and com­ments. With­out them, we would not be grow­ing at this suc­cess­ful pace. U: Do you al­ways get new par­tic­i­pants each year? D.T: Yes. Ev­ery year we have new par­tic­i­pants, and con­tri­bu­tion vol­ume grows about 20% each year. U: How does the au­di­ence re­spond to Beirut De­sign Week? D.T: "ey see it as a young, in­no­va­tive and dis­tinct kind of event. De­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects are quite the sub­cul­ture in Beirut. Also, as an or­ga­ni­za­tion MENA De­sign Re­search Cen­ter is quite young and part of this scene, there­fore it is easy for the au­di­ence to re­late to us and vice versa. U: Where is the Beirut De­sign week held? D.T: All over Beirut and be­yond. Ev­ery­day is ded­i­cated to a speci!c area or lo­ca­tion such as Beirut Souks, Sai! Vil­lage, Gem­mayzeh, Achra!eh, Hamra, Ver­dun, Karantina, Mar mikhael, Bourj Ham­moud, Dora, Jisr Wati, and Sin el Fil. U: Which ma­jor in­dus­try is par­tic­i­pat­ing to Beirut De­sign Week? D.T: All de­sign in­dus­tries make part of BDW since we be­lieve in the pros­per­ity of mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary and ap­pre­ci­ate the beauty in their in­ter­nal col­lab­o­ra­tions. U: Is there a fee to at­tend the di$er­ent work­shops? D.T: Yes. Most of the work­shops have par­tic­i­pa­tion fees be­cause they are valu­able to the de­vel­op­ment of pro­fes­sion­als in all de­sign re­lated !elds. U: What are you try­ing to achieve through Beirut De­sign Week?

D.T: We are try­ing to build a plat­form for Le­banese de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects to be able to share their ex­per­tise, and de­velop col­lab­o­ra­tions. We are also in­ject­ing the en­tire de­sign scene with new skills and ex­per­tise from all corners of the world through cul­tural ex­change by work­shops, con­fer­ences, talks and ex­hi­bi­tions. U: Why do you think the cul­tural ex­change is an im­por­tant part of De­sign? D.T: Cul­tural ex­change is im­por­tant in all cre­ative !elds, es­pe­cially in De­sign. Ev­ery year with new in­ter­na­tional guests we learn new in­no­va­tive pro­duc­tion ways and smarter forms of sus­tain­able de­sign as well ass new forms of ser­vice and so­cial de­sign. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, when our guests visit Le­banon, they are as­tounded by the city’s cul­tural rich­ness, di­ver­sity, and ad­vance­ment in the de­sign !eld com­pared to other coun­tries in the re­gion. It changes en­tirely their per­spec­tives, mak­ing us proud of our im­age as op­posed to the neg­a­tive one por­trayed by the media. U: Do you think that BDW is open­ing up emerg­ing de­sign­ers to an in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure? D.T: I de!nitely think that BDW is fa­cil­i­tat­ing in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure for Le­banese de­sign­ers, and many of our new­com­ers ex­hib­ited their works in Mi­lan and Lon­don a$er start­ing with BDW in the ear­lier years. We are work­ing with the em­bassies in or­der to take the con­cept even fur­ther by or­ga­niz­ing in­ter­na­tional ex­po­si­tions over­seas in the com­ing years.

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