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Amman Design Week shed light on burgeoning sector — participants

Organisers say event received 30,000 visitors over its nine days

By Suzanna Goussous - Sep 10,2016 - Last updated at Sep 10,2016

Organisers of the Amman Design Week, which concluded on Friday, said that at each venue, the number of visitors on average reached 1,400 every day (Photo courtesy of ADW)

AMMAN — As the Amman Design Week (ADW) concluded on Friday, designers, architects, and visitors voiced hope more attention would be paid to the design sector in the Kingdom to pave the way for more creative initiatives.

At a discussion on Thursday, Jordanian designers Ahmad Sabbagh and Ahmad Humeid said designers should “pay back to the community” by proposing projects that offer solutions.

Sabbagh, who published the Amman unofficial transport map in collaboration with the Maan Nasel initiative, said the work was mainly done by volunteers in Amman to identify the routes taken by residents.

“The data at hand, available on Google Maps, was provided to us by volunteers and we analysed and studied them to come up with a network we can implement the map on,” he told The Jordan Times.

“If the designer did not pay back to his community, I feel that his experience would go to waste. Designers are talented, and I believe they should use that for themselves and the country, because it is part of their responsibilities,” Sabbagh added.

Humeid, CEO of Syntax Digital Design company, said there is a gap between the available talents in the country and the mainstream reality people live in.

“From a designer’s point of view, I see so much talent on the one hand, but I don’t see it on the street. The same goes for architecture; there [are many] good architects but you find that most of the architecture in Amman is actually mediocre,” he added.

The ADW, Humeid said, has created more awareness among the public, government officials, and economists on the design sector promoting the role of designers in building the city and reviving its venues.

“Designers look at problems from what we call a humancentric point of view… it’s about how we can solve a problem from the perspective of the user… design is a very wide spectrum of activities, it’s important that the opportunity of ADW isn’t wasted,” he said.

Visitor Zein Shihadeh said the ADW has promoted local and regional designers and exposed local talents in the country.

“They needed this push… I really liked pieces that require interaction with the viewer, when you look at [them], you keep thinking of every single person and what they were thinking of when they touch the pieces,” she told The Jordan Times.

Participant Melena Hinnawi said throughout the ADW, visitors were impressed by the 3D-printing devices and services showcased at the Jordan Museum’s MakerSpace.

“They realised that it isn’t difficult to create models, designs, and sketches on one device; people were very happy to try the 3D printers,” she told The Jordan Times.

Architect Hanna Salameh, who showcased a piece titled “Flow Off” at the design week, said the idea of his piece is to place it in public spaces and allow people to interact with it without explanation. 

“The idea is to keep the piece simple and have people play with it; it’s a very simple white structure, made of 28 floating disks that can be pushed around and start moving and creating organic forms,” he added.

“We were very pleased to see people actually interacting with the piece, and getting the point without us telling them that they can create their own shapes,” the architect added.

Architect Dina Haddadin, who was the curator for the Raghadan Tourist Terminal, said organisers prepared for the Raghadan venue for more than nine months.

There were 25 shops selected from 120 options at the venue, she said, adding that the team selected three plazas “to revive them”.

The Crafts District in Raghadan had a role in empowering the underprivileged and women, Haddadin added, by bringing people together from rural areas and governorates.

“We aimed to bring back the value of handmade designs and address the misconception that crafts are only about traditional designs. We can combine the old with the new, to design and make crafts at the same time,” she told The Jordan Times on Friday.

“The event created a platform for young and established designers in Amman to benefit the industry as a whole. The outcome after such events would definitely be different, more collaborations lead to better results,” Haddadin said.

Organisers said that at each venue, the number of visitors on average every day reached 1,400, with around 30,000 visitors throughout the week. 

ADW started on September 1 and concluded on September 9, showcasing works of more than 60 local, regional, and international designers and artists at three main venues: Ras Al Ain Gallery Hangar, the Jordan Museum, and Raghadan Tourist Terminal.

 

Some exhibitions and workshops were held at different galleries in Jabal Amman, downtown, Jabal Luweibdeh, and King Hussein Business Park.

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