Discovering Lebanon’s Creative Scene at Beirut Design Week

Photos: Samer Noun; Mickael Attallah

Online design gallery Adorno presents a new wave of independent designers to watch at BDW.

In today’s global economy, it seems like anything can be accessed with a click of a mouse. But in the crowded online marketplace, where do you even begin to look, especially when it comes to something as subjective as fine design? That’s part of the issue that startup Adorno tries to address. An online gallery of collectable design launched by Copenhagen-based entrepreneurs Kristian Snorre Andersen and Martin Clausen, Adorno intends to bring to world of design to your browser, thanks to their network of curators in design hubs from Berlin to Madrid—and now, just in time for Beirut Design Week, they’re introducing a new wave of creators from the Lebanese capital.

For the seventh edition of BDW, which launched in 2012 as the region’s first design festival celebrating work from the Middle East and North Africa, the fair has partnered with Adorno, who put out an open call for independent and emerging designers working in ways that can positively impact the city. The selected designers—more than a dozen in all—will be presented on June 22 as part of BWD’s opening-night show with work spanning furniture, lighting, ceramics, installation, and art at the Beit Museum, a new venue dedicated to the city’s history in the face of civil war. The exhibition is pegged to the weeklong festival’s theme of "Design and the City" as well as its emphasis on collaboration and creative exchange. In fact, the selected designers will receive technical support from Fabraca Studios, an architect-led product design studio that pairs designers and craftspeople.

Photo: Samer Noun

“The Lebanese design scene isn’t definable. There’s a powerful creative energy flowing into the country—designers are bold and free,” said artist Youmna Geday, whose LED light fixtures created with glowing eggshells will be presented as part of the exhibition. Geday, who works in Beirut and Paris, is just one of the designers selected from the open call by a panel of industry judges including BDW creative director Ghassan Salameh; Beirut design gallerist Joy Mardini; designer Suzanne Trocmé; and Ana Dominguez Siemens, a writer, curator and Adorno expert based in Spain.

So far, Beirut marks the 12th city that Adorno has spotlighted on its world tour of design. Stay tuned, as the site plans to launch five more hubs before the end of the year.