Amman Design Week 2017, happening this October 8-14th, opened its door to a great number of extremely talented designers but also young students and artisans in a joyful and educative atmosphere.
For its second year, ADW was spread across the city, taking place in several artistic locations (Darat Al Funun, 45 Turbo, Beit Beiruti…) engaging Amman itself as a hub of creativity for this dedicated week.
The Hangar, ADW’s main exhibition hall, was a display of innovation, daring concepts and experimentations. At its door, it’s an enchainment of installations, notably the one by MEAN (Middle East Architecture Network) created by 3 architects – Riyad Joucka (design and construction), Michael Pryor (computational design consultant and Hashem Joucka (fabrication consultant and logistics). Their observation was simple: Jordan has one of the poorest supply of water per capita on the planet which means that if its ground extraction continues this way, the country will run out of it by 2060. Their project, ARID, is symbolic of a post-drought landscape in Jordan, is very geometric and resembles a cracked earth of a sinuous topography in an arid environment.
The whole aim of the project is to raise awareness on Jordan’s depleting water resources. Natural Jordanian stone from AlHallabat area and a steel base gave life to this computer-programmed, digitally-designed masterpiece.
And the surprises continue as you step inside the venue. Walking around, we spotted the super polished creations of Aperçu Designs– which first attracted our eye back in March at Design Days Dubai -, the infamous Stratum chair by Amar Kallo but also one of Jdeed’s absolute favorite, Tania George, who set up a very regressive little booth, showcasing pieces of her latest Summer 18 collection.
A gorgeous installation by Dina Fakhawiri, “Full Heart” appears as a representation of our generation’s “all like” syndrome. This mounted billboard illustrates the way we would like our heart to appears to others but as you walk across the room from left to right, it reveals the truth of what really fills our hearts and how we actually react to the world around us.
Pieces by interior architect Jafar Dajani are also to point out, two wooden-cubic structures complimented by gold, black metal and marble that already caught our attention at the last Design Days Dubai as well as the installation by Amman design collective Eyen design, “Fahres Al-Khattat”, a vending machine offering booklets by Jordanian calligraphers, created to preserve this dying art that is calligraphy and to serve as documentation.
While the Hangar is a mix and match of emerging and established designers, the upper level, in a separate venue steps away, is dedicated to high-school and junior year university students who, under the mentorship of trained designers, created projects in different fields ranging from fashion design to product design and interior design.
We were particularly impressed by Leen Khasawneh, who invented a writing tool to help children with cerebral palsy after finding out that there was nothing available for them in the local market and very few internationally.
Across the Hangar site, the arts and crafts district takes you on a journey from spices to mosaics and from soap to honey. Set up on 2 floors, this space located at the Hussein Cultural Center is dedicated to Jordanian craftsmanship with a special corner reserved to food trucks, where an exceptional pizza, falafel or manaeesh await- in a convivial and familial environment.
Amongst the different participating organizations across town, we had a particular interest for Darat Al Funun (The House of Arts) and their guest exhibition Disarming Designs from Palestine who invited 10 designers from Palestine, Jordan and the Netherlands to develop new products based on local crafts (t-shirts, aprons, belts, honey, pillow cases… ) with artisans of Gaza refugee camp in Jerash.
TIRAZ Widad Kawar, home for Arab dress, together with Jordan Craft Center are hosting the WOVEN exhibition, exploring the Art of Traditional Weavings in Jordan.
The Naqsh collective of sisters Nermeen and Nisreen Abudail is exhibiting pieces within WOVEN, looking into delicate finishing, machine production and drawing inspiration from contemporary simplicity, traditional Arabic aesthetic combined with high quality local craftsmenship.
Beit Beiruti and Darat Al Funun to only name these, more typical in their architecture and aesthetic cohabit under the Design Week flag with 45 Turbo, one über-trendy set up located in downtown Amman, close to the city’s souks. All senses are in ebullition once you stepped into this space from which exudes a very 70s vibe. From the bright yellow espresso machine to the matches-made wall and the Local Industries chairs here and there – there’s a striking retro-pop feel right in the middle of this conservative part of town.
Read Beirut – based Journal Safar as you sit on a made-in Palestine chair in Jordan’s capital city: here is the beauty of Amman Design Week. But no only. Coming to Amman, we happily witnessed what the artistic scene in the Middle-East is really about: it knows no borders.