In pictures: 10 things that caught our eye at Amman Design Week 2017

Under the slogan “Design Moves Life Moves Design”, the second edition of Amman Design Week offers an immersive experience in Jordanian and regional design. designMENA compiles a photo gallery of top 10 products and installations that caught our eye.

We also spoke to Abeer Seikaly and Rana Beiruti, directors of the Amman Design Week, about this year’s programme and the importance of creating a platform for local designers to showcase their work.

Furthermore, Ahmad Humeid, a curator of the 2017 Hangar Exhibition, told designMENA that designers should move away from addressing the issues to finding the actual solutions.

  1. Salt Pond by Amal Ayoub

In an exploration of the current condition of the Dead Sea, Amal Ayoub, a Jordanian architect and urban designer who is currently based in the UAE, created a landscape installation, offering a contradictory dialogue between the beautiful aesthetic of natural salt formations and the underlying currents of alarm at the new ‘dry’ Dead Sea. According to Ayoub, the aim was to promote the need for balance between a sustainable industry that benefits the local community, and efforts to revitalise the body of water through design and conservation initiatives.

2. A Network of Swings by Yasmeen Sabri

Mowing away from a static and non-interactive exhibition, Jordanian designer Yasmeen Sabri created an installation that challenges the ‘look, but don’t touch’ axiom often set in galleries and large-scale design exhibitions. With her swing installation, which also comes with a do-it-yourself manual and provides instructions for people to build their own swings, Sabri wanted to initiate a conversation about two aspects that impact life in Jordan: lack of accessible public spaces for play and lack of entertainment.

3. The Water Table by Ahmad Sabbagh, Michael Schinköthe, Ala’a Ali, Eyas Tayyem, Basheer Anani

The Water Table is an interactive installation created by a group of designers who used historical data and future projections to take its users on a journey through time. According to Ali, the idea behind the project was to tackle the issues about Jordan’s limited water resources.

Working as an app designer, Ala’a Ali has created an animated movie about the critical water shortage in Jordan, which was then symbolically projected on the water table made out of metal water tanks that are commonly used throughout the country.

“It is amazing that all of us got a chance to show our artistic and creative side without worrying about the client,” Ali told designMENA. “We can actually engage with people and educate them more about the design and the causes we care about.

“We want to make people aware that Jordan is facing serious problems with water shortages and that we all need to act on this problem and make a difference.”

4. Divided Congregation by Bricklab

Saudi-based design studio Bricklab created an installation titled Divided Congregation, to comprehend the shifted role of mosques in the cities surrounding the Gulf; from centres of community gatherings for both sacred and secular purposes to their current function as solely places of worship.

Focusing on the four major quadrants of the city of Jeddah, Bricklab performed an audio-visual mapping of mosques in an urban cartographic sculpture.

5. Cellular Complexity by Kais Al Rawi, Marie Boltenstern, Julia Koerner

Cellular Complexity is an installation that exhibits the potential of cellular geometries at a spatial architectural scale. The installation consists of 132 cells varying in size, porosity and curvature; they are algorithmically generated using computational design techniques.

“I’ve grown up here in Amman but I’ve spent most of my career between London, Los Angeles and Toronto. This has been a great opportunity to bring the work back to my hometown,” explains Al Rawi. “The project is a research into natural cellular systems that exist within the organisation of biological systems in a multitude of scales. We’ve taken that concept from nature and transfigured them into an architectural scale to make use of these properties and geometries.”

The installation is entirely composed of standardised sheet materials, which themselves hold a cellular structure and were fabricated utilising digital CNC fabrication technologies. The assembly starts from entirely flat-packed parts, and requires no mechanical fasteners or adhesives and is easily reversible and transportable.

6. Table 1 by Architecture + Other Things  and Yasmeen Hamouda

For ADW 2017, Architecture + Other Things collaborated with Yasmeen Hamouda, presenting an alternative mode of sustainable design practices through the use of found organic material. Table 1 explores the role of the human capacity to impact climate change. The product also responds to the discussion of moving between extremes by the breakdown of contrived binaries of nature and technology, which have long been perceived as extremes. The materials used, namely recycled rubber tires (crumb rubber), which is locally recycled in Sharjah, along with transparent epoxy resin, is a commentary on moving beyond pattern towards the juxtaposition of deep texture and transparency.

7. The Stream by Dina Haddadin

The Stream, crafts market. Photo courtesy ADW.

Shaped in a manner that resembles the “seil”, or stream, of Amman that was buried under the Ras El Ain area of the city in the mid-seventies, The Stream designed by Dina Haddadin is a 100-metre long linear structure, made up of 14 modular units.

“We created this semi-enclosed and cost-efficient space that houses series of pop-up shops, which are separated by re-appropriated steel bread cages, formerly used as cooling trays in bakeries,” explains Haddadin.

A temporary structure made out of scaffolding featured crafts market, a curated food program along with design installations built in the form of a social space in the heart of the city.

“ADW tries to shed light on the spaces in the city that are bit forgotten. This park used to be 10 times bigger and year by year the car parking was taken over the greenery, so we really wanted to shed light on what’s left of that space with this pop-up market,” says Haddadin.

“It is amazing to see the designers grow during this process from the submission to exhibition day. It was a learning experience for all of us, constantly pushing our limits.”

8. Full Heart by Dina Fawakhiri

Full Heart is a still billboard that shows, according to Fawakhiri, how we would like our heart to appear to others.

“The ‘likes’, hearts, and range of emojis have evolved into a valid currency in the digital age,” she says. “Only when the viewer decides to move does it reveal the truth behind what really fills our hearts these days, and the reality of our reaction to the world around us.”

9. Arid by Middle East Architecture Network (Hashem Joucka, Michael Pryor and Riyad Joucka)

ARID or in Arabic ‘أرض’ is a design installation by Middle East Architecture Network. The work is symbolic of a post-drought landscape in Jordan, that calls attention to the imminent problem of water scarcity in the country. Geometrically, the piece expresses itself in a geological landscape, resembling cracked earth of a sinuous topography in an arid environment.

Amman Design Week commissioned the piece for exhibition for their 2017 edition. Post-event, MEAN will re-install the work at the Mercy Corps Offices in Amman. The objective of ARID is to aid the mission of Mercy Corps in their mission to raise awareness to the problem of depleting fresh water resources in the country.

10. Tabliyè by Hala Younes

Tabliyè’ is a reinvention of the old traditional Middle-Eastern tabliyeh – a low wooden table that was used for sharing meals. The piece can be used both as a coffee table and a dining table, and is designed with a parametric pattern on two of the three rotating multi-level surfaces.

Younes, a Jordanian product and graphic designer based in Amman, was inspired by Middle-Eastern geometric shapes and Arabesque traditions.

“This is my thesis project,” says Younes. “When I came back from Rome after completing my studies, I wanted to realise this project. It is my first manufactured and exhibited piece. It is a reinvention of tabliyeh in a more contemporary way. It is rare to see in our houses a ground seating as everyone now has couches and more of a Western setup in their living rooms. So I took that as inspiration and created a multilevel and multifunctional table that can be placed in the living room. It can be used as a coffee table but also as a dining table because it rotates so it can accommodate more people. It has three bowls to place the bowls with the food, which can easily be covered.”




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