AMMAN – Under the theme of Possibilities, the third edition of Amman Design Week (ADW) is scheduled to take place between 4th and  12th of October, showcasing the works of designers, artists and architects tackling major local and global issues with the aim of finding possible solutions. The districts will range from the Hangar in Ras Al Ain Gallery to the Kabariti Village in Jabal Amman as well as Jabal Al Lweibdeh.

The Ras Al Ain exhibition will consist of three exhibitions: The Hangar Exhibition, the Student Exhibition, and Future Food/Future City, while the Jabal Amman District will be home to the Crafts District, Material Innovation, and the Jordan Script Routes exhibitions. Last but not least, Jabal Al Lweibdeh district will host activities and exhibitions that stimulate creative thinking and innovative approach.

Amman Design Week Possibilities teaser.

During our recent interview with the director of ADW Rana Beiruti, she emphasized the idea of innovation, creativity and promoting novel methods and practices as part of this year’s theme saying:

In our first year, the theme was about introducing design to Jordan and introducing the world to Jordanian designers. For the second year, we thought we had sparked something and then we wanted to create a movement out of it, so the theme was movement – with the literal meaning being mobility, public transportation, technology, but also social movement and how design can make an impact on it.

The theme of the third edition also tackles the idea of mobility and its impact on the city and residents, Beiruti said:

Sometimes we feel very stuck . Whether it was climate change or any other challenge we are facing, one often feels like there is no way out. However, with the theme of Possibilities, we want to emphasise that through design there are many possibilities to move forward.
Amman Design Week Hagar Exterior.

Design Week takes on a multidisciplinary approach on a clear definition of design and innovation. It seeks to promote the idea of moving away from the strict methods of problem solving and instead, encourage creativity, novelty and originality. Commenting on the theme Beiruti said:

Possibilities is also about the past, in the sense that it is about storytelling. The theme Possibilities is a plurality, it’s about accepting diversity and innovating for change or for different solutions. What we found is that it is about the things that behave as other things; fashion becomes architecture, craft becomes graphic, graphic becomes furniture, etc.
Hangar Interior, 2017. 

The Hangar Exhibition:

The Hangar Exhibition located in Ras Al Ain, will be curated by Noura Al Sayeh-Holtrop, who translated the theme by introducing new perspectives and ways of thinking.

What was interesting is that Noura was able to formulate four main themes under the theme of Possibilities: Landscape, Material Research, Weaving and Textiles and another related to the City.

This year’s exhibition will be a regional showcase with participants from Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt, according to Beiruti.

The Hangar Exhibition, 2017.

The Student Exhibition:

Also taking place at the Ras Al Ain Gallery, the Student Exhibition aims at providing an inclusive space for young artists and designers to exchange talents with other designers. Beiruti commented o the showcase saying:

To me, one of the most beautiful things about ADW is seeing students [get] involved through the mentorship programme. This year we have 33 students, and it’s very beautiful to see how involved students are in real world issues, such as pollution, plastic use and recycling. In addition to some students working on the digital sphere now, like animation, virtual gaming, robotics. We also have some students who are really perfecting craftsmanship and working well within the constraints of manufacturing in Jordan.

The Future Food/Future City:

Held at Ras Al Ain’s The Walk and in cooperation with Greening the Camps, the exhibition will offer solutions to food safety and food security, in addition to introducing methods of growing food and maximizing production at home.

Aside from beautifying the city and providing more green space and talking about what public space means, the exhibition will also discuss areas of urban agriculture and its impact on the city. Future Food/Future City will trace the product cycle from A to Z in order to raise awareness on some food practices combined with modern technology and current situations of cities, without overlooking paying homage to traditional agriculture.

Beiruti added that the exhibition is meant to be educational and get people more involved in the landscape, planting, and DIY methods in regards to the production processes. Additionally, the programme will include a series of talks that aim at raising public awareness on the issue and addressing the problems with some possible offered solutions.

The Hangar Exhibition, 2016.

The Jabal Amman Crafts District:

The Jabal Amman Crafts District will be held at the Kabariti Village located in the centre of Amman, combining the charm of the past along with its possibilities. Beiruti said:

Curated by Arini, the Crafts District is a pop-up that [takes place] in the city to reinvigorate and revitalize parts of the city that is unused and turn it into an active city district. Since there is a misconception that crafts are only and strictly part of archaic heritage, we thought why not take something that is part of the history and culture of Amman and showcase merge it with contemporary crafts.

Material Innovation Exhibition:

Located at the Kabariti Village as well, the exhibition will showcase the results of the Textile Innovation Lab workshop conducted in December of last year, said Beiruti, adding that this exhibition will be held in cooperation with the Goethe Institute and the mentorship of the German textile designer Annette Fauvel.

The Textile Innovation Lab I was the initial step towards starting a sequence of workshops and different programmes to highlight innovative solutions and ideas in the textile industry, which ADW team seeks to develop during and after the conclusion of the week.

The Hangar Exhibition, 2017.

Jordan Script Routes Exhibition:

Curated by Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès, the Jordan Scripts Routes writes a visual love letter to the legacy of civilizations that trespassed Jordan and the region. The exhibition will display pieces that narrate stories of our past and shares our ancestors’ heritage and different cultures. 

When you talk about heritage and craft, you can’t ignore calligraphy and script, Huda has taken it to another level,  researching scripts throughout Arabic, Nabatean, Safairic scripts histories.” Beiruti commented.

Jabal Al Lweibdeh District:

Including different districts for this edition of the ADW seeks to introduce visitors to various parts of the city to highlight the hidden gems of Amman by exploring areas around it. According to Beiruti, there will be many art galleries and spaces involved in Amman Design Week, in addition to some walking trails and tours around the capital with an aim to promote the possibility of changing lifestyles and encouraging walking.

Expected Outcomes:

As more than 200 regional and local designers come together to celebrate the different districts and exhibitions, the ADW organizing team hopes that the week will leave a print and initiate long-lasting conversations.  

The important thing is that Amman Design Week is really what people ask for it to be; the issue is that
We are trying to respond to everybody’s request and do not want anybody to be left behind. It is growing nicely and by virtue of people who support it and want to participate. Plus, it is something that people have come to anticipate. There is a feeling of the city coming together.

Learn more about Amman Design Week’s participating designers here.

Amman Design Week links:
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Suzanna Goussous
Suzanna Goussous

Currently living in Budapest. I am a journalist and one of the content writers for www.femtales.com. Over the past four years, I have covered many art-themed events for The Jordan Times, written feature stories about local and regional artists, and covered Amman Design Week.

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