Beirut Design Week 2016

Written by Mohsen Al Bawab



Beirut Design Week visited the region’s design scene once more, for the fifth year in a row and under the theme of ‘GROWING SUSTAINABLY’, BDW aimed to create awareness about sustainability, focusing on ecological, environmental, as well as social, cultural and economic aspects of life.

As one of the biggest and largest growing design-related events in the Arab region, BDW was held from May 20th till the 29th. With a diverse and inclusive program that hosts more than 150 events; talks, workshops, exhibitions, Beirut Design Week took place all over the city of Beirut and KED; a recently renovated historic building and the central BDW hub.

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03Collection of hand painted coffee tables by Dessine-moi un oeil

Initiated and organized by MENA design research center , which focuses on promoting a diverse understanding of design in the region through collaborative multidisciplinary projects and rigorous design research. Beirut Design Week stems from the belief that design has the power to develop public awareness about the value of our planet and its people and to encourage citizens to rethink how they live, what they consume and its designers to be more critical of the products and systems they design. Through the reevaluation of the creative processes, BDW focused on innovative materials and systems that will put us on a path to growing sustainably, build awareness, and provide resources for designers to play a key role in change.

As part of its sustainable vision, BDW team collaborated with Studio Kawakeb, and local recycling organizations, to design and produce prints that adopt environmentally conscious approaches. Through recycling paper, using less ink for printing and saddle-stitch binding, as well as, digital advertising and online communication.



06Limited Sustainability by QUEI STUDIO, Berlin

06 BLimited Sustainability by QUEI STUDIO, Berlin

Likewise, KED, BDW central building; adds to the design week’s sustainable edge. An early 1900’s building in Karantina, an “eventful” area in Lebanese history. Karantina used to be a central camp for Armenian refugees; and also home to the Karantina Massacre. Originally a metallurgical factory owned by the Markarian family, when Gaby Markarian met director of Beirut Design Week, Doreen Toutikian, they both set out to revive the building and named it KED. With the help of the Lebanese Architecture Club, the network of partners of the MENA Design Research Center, and Gaby’s labor force, the building was redesigned and renovated in only four months.

07Make and Mold RYB Collection, Dutch Design Exhibition, Judy Straten art design


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When asked, Gaby said: “I would like for KED to be a cultural hub for events and exhibitions. With the association of Beirut Design Week, the building will be an eye opener with regards to the area of Karantina as an expansion for the city of Beirut.” He hopes that in the near future Karantina will prosper and new generations will invest in the area with eco-friendly homes and businesses. During the fair KED featured sound and light installations in the basement, opening and closing parties on the rooftop, as well as other spaces for talks and exhibitions.

Over nine exciting days of exceptionally curated exhibitions, talks, workshops and competitions from both local and international designers, and a section for children, Beirut design week proved the vitality of the multidisciplinary approaches and the inclusivity of design in every aspect of one’s life. It certainly sheds light on design as “a solution-finding strategy” and urges the visitor to think, view and act with the thematic frame.

11BDW central buildings

12BDW central buildings

13The Finish Fantasy Exhibit featuring three Finnish designers

14Lighting on display, Studio Mieke Meijer Desig

15Dresses on display from recycled materials, by Ratna Ho Fashion

16By artist Céline Stephan from architecture et mecanismes at Revenge Collective Exhibition at Smogallery

17Tamara Barrage Designs

18Guests visit Beirut Design Week


For more information about the participating galleries, partners and personals, visit this link or follow the event’s page on Facebook

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