Held from 20 - 23 September 2018, Beirut Design Fair (not to be confused with Beirut Design Festival held earlier this June) built on the remarkable success of its first edition in 2017 which witnessed almost 17,000 visitors, a number that reached 19,800 this year. With 60 exhibitors and 150 designers of the 2018 edition, the show has definitely moved consistently, yet at a fast pace, to welcome local and foreign talent.
Hala Moubarak, Co-founder and Creative Design Director, said: "Beirut Design Fair's first edition, in 2017, was of a Lebanese character, but the strategic objective is to also exhibit works from galleries and designers from all over the world, with both local and international designs emanating from creative, unique pieces of products and furniture."
Scenography by Galal Mahmoud (of GM Architects).
With that in mind, Beirut Design Fair carefully structured its Selection Committee to reflect its positioning and vision, with quality, creativity, diversity, innovation and ancestral know-how being the key selection criteria set. The role of the Selection Committee - which comprises of Aline Asmar d’Amman, Lina Ghotmeh, Karim Chaya, Marc Baroud and Mathias Ohrel - is, among other curating responsibilities, to select the recipients of the three Design Awards: including the Talent Award, the Object Award and the Initiative Award.
Eva Partition by Thomas Trad (JOY MARDINI DESIGN GALLERY)
Avoca-Avocado by Georges Mohasseb
The Initiative Award was given to Joy Mardini, creator of the Joy Mardini Design Gallery in 2011 and renowned for promoting Lebanese designers whom she defends brilliantly and vigorously in Lebanon and abroad (USA, Switzerland, France, United Arab Emirates ...). The Object Award was accorded to Fadi Sarieddine who presented personalizable objects, including during BDF, a stand designed as a workshop that allowed plenty of room for interaction. Each visitor was invited to become a designer in their own way through this creative process. The Talent Award, which distinguishes the personality of a young designer, was granted to Vivian Van Blerk in appreciation of the dream world he invites to with a touch of humor, making the child in each person smile.
At the core of the show was the scenography and museography effects made by internationally acclaimed architect Galal Mahmoud (of GM Architects) - and this was a sight to be seen. Inspired by Beirut's golden years and its seasons of summer, Mahmoud created continuous walls that shift, turn, and change height. This built an organised chaos of a city in the middle of the fair's space to convey the idea that Beirut is the centre of the art scene. Visitors felt like they were discovering the soul of the city through its art; the whole exhibit itself an artistic project representing the timeless city moulded by endless cultures, civilisations and artistic minds. The colours that were also chosen were in reference to Beirut's golden age from half a century ago.
Minerality II - The Melting Lamps by Tarek ElKassouf
Another feature of the fair, as pointed out by Moubarak, was the "SpotOn!" exhibition which provided opportunities for young talents. Additionally, BDF launched its first contest dedicated to students under the "A+ Award" label, by designating a subject that links history to the responsibility of each creator to preserve it. Again, nostalgia was the connecting thread, as the theme for the contest was "Know Your Roots! Start Mining Your Nostalgic Memories". The contest was launched a few months ago in Lebanese universities. The Jury and the mentors selected 7 projects from which they chose to reward Maya Safi for her particularly ingenious, beautiful and practical oil spoon (Elias). This creation will be developed in collaboration with WxHxD and with its support, and it will be exposed in the SpotOn space of Beirut Design Fair 2019.
Who will win this award? To find out more, click here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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