An Investigation of “Possibilities” at Amman Design Week 2019

For 9 days the Jordanian capital of Amman blossomed into the third version of Amman Design Week, a multi-disciplinary, biannual occasion internet hosting over 200 exhibiting regional designers representing established and burgeoning expertise alike. Sponsored by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah and orchestrated by artistic director Rana Beiruti, this yr’s theme of “Possibilities” directs an investigation of design as an exploratory device in service of resilient optimism and as a automobile for change in instances of uncertainty.

Curated this yr by Noura Al Sayeh-Holtrop, the Hangar exhibition in Ras El Ain occupies the empty remnants of an electrical plant. For Amman Design Week, the construction stands as a symbolic edifice and operational coronary heart of the occasion, internet hosting over fifty designers from the Middle East and North Africa throughout the occasion. Photo: Gregory Han

Hosted throughout an city panorama the place it’s not all the time evident whether or not a mission is in a state of development or deconstruction, useful resource shortage has lengthy operated as an inextricable pressure, shaping each side of Amman’s industries, arts, and infrastructure. In comparability to surrounding oil-rich nations, Jordan’s most worthwhile useful resource for export is phosphate, an agricultural mineral. Clean water more and more looms as a public concern, with the arid panorama providing little by manner of lumber or metallic for supplying any important manufacturing (a shocking high export business of the area: knit sweaters). Necessity dictates a realistic literacy right here.

Resources could also be scarce, however as typically is the case, creativity advantages from constraints. Improvisation sparks new views and novel options. Local designers and artists superbly make the most of assets obtainable in abundance – sand, rock, and stone – rendering the distinctive terroir and its earthen palette right into a geological signature of place and time distinctive to this part of the world. Traditional information and practices are additionally more and more deemed a invaluable useful resource to tell efforts in sustainability, consolation, and wonder throughout trendy instances.

Musical performances at Ras El Ain punctuated each night time of Amman Design Week with celebratory spirit. Photo: Gregory Han

Architecture, panorama structure, product design, furnishings design, style, and graphic design are all represented at Amman Design Week, with over 200 native and regional creatives populating greater than 100 exhibitions, panels, workshops, and performances activated throughout three districts of Amman (Ras El Ain, Jabal Amman, and Jabal Al Lweibdeh). Just a few of our favorites from this yr’s exhibitions as follows:

The collaborative effort between Civil Architecture and panorama structure apply studiolibani, Minor Paradise symbolizes a quiet revolt towards historic norms and definitions, difficult all who enter to ask, “what is an ideal garden?”

Minor Paradises by Civil Architecture x studiolibani
From afar, the symbolic and literal entry level to Amman Design Week may very well be mistaken for a piece in progress. But stroll between the mounds of regionally sourced soil hand piled right into a scale panorama via a waterless backyard pathway garnished with native volcanic rocks, indigenous crops, and lined with small arched seating, and the intimate confines of the sedate terrain works its magic upon the senses.

With each step ahead (and sometimes again or to the facet) an intimate dialogue between place, particular person, and materials engages the peripheral senses, silently describing a backyard vernacular distinctive suited to an arid panorama. Appropriately, water is an intentional omission right here, an acknowledgment of its shortage and likewise working as a silent problem to standard European gardens ill-suited for a area solely receiving 10-inches of rainfall yearly.

Canyon Walls by Rasem Kamal
Jordanian architect Rasem Kamal’s trio of undulating freestanding partitions have been exhausting to overlook, standing sentinel exterior the Hangar Exhibition as a complement to the size panorama of Minor Paradise under. The Swiss-based Kamal welcomed all to discover his three units of compressed plywood, cautious to level out the striated coloration produced by layering random items of reclaimed plywood into sensually curved, vertical constructions. Envisioned to type spatial refuge inside trendy areas like lofts or workplaces, carved niches for tender white gentle are specified for 2 of the partitions, envisioned to be grouped to type a serene sanctuary to “sit, pause, and reflect.”

Kutleh, Raw Possibilities by Rula Yaghmour
Borrowing its title from Arabic for the phrase that means “block” or “mass”, the Kutleh mission design series_03 presents an enormous amalgamation of surplus reclaimed stone and marble, layered into the illusion of sedimentary rock. Intentionally left ragged at its edges, the distinction between uncooked and polished surfaces appears symbolic of Amman as a complete, unearthing its previous to type its future.

Untitled by Sahel Al Hiyari
Is Jordanian architect and Amman Design Week curator Sahel Al Hiyari’s monumental free gravel sculpture meant to be perceived as an excavation or development? The ambiguity didn’t appear to detract from the gravitational pull this piece evoked amongst adults and youngsters alike, partaking exploration, motion, and curiosity towards a backdrop of structure both rising or returning into the panorama.

Urban Pigeon Tower by TAYYUN Research Studio
Erected within the open air demonstration part of Amman Design Week’s Future Food/Future City exhibition, Amman-based TAYYUN Research Studio’s Urban Pigeon Tower operates as “biophilic acupuncture”, dazzling geometry as structure meant to puncture the city panorama in promotion of biologically-inclusive interactions between people and dwindling wildlife. Inviting pigeons to roost inside, the tower additionally may function as a small-scale meals manufacturing system, contributing to city agriculture improvement and meals safety.

Where different globalized design occasions function with the impersonal dictum of industrial pursuits at coronary heart, Amman Design Week embraces a refreshingly curated and non-commercial expertise, demarcating the occasion as celebratory of concepts reasonably than gross sales. By jettisoning the trimmings of a seller-buyer ambiance, intimate and informative conversations between designer and the general public are commonplace, making Amman Design Week a remarkably human expertise worthy of the 18-hour journey from Los Angeles.

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