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Posted On: 21 March 2011 11:06 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Best of Arab design goes on show in Doha

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Richard Kahwagi, Younes Duret, Manar al-Muftah and Khalid Shafar The Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Qatar Foundation, has invited the public to its biennial design conference Tasmeem Doha 2011, which begins today (21 March). Tasmeem Doha 2011 – ‘Synapse: Designer as Link’ is taking place at VCUQatar until March 24. For the opening ceremony, seating is on a first-come-first-seated basis and it is recommended that audience be seated by 5.30pm. Tasmeem Doha 2011 is a working conference, featuring student driven teams investigating the role of design as a problem solving activity that tackles community issues, daily life-worlds and future concerns. Through the idea of ‘Synapse’, VCUQatar aims to forge dynamic links between students, creative problem solvers, local community members, community stakeholders and VCUQatar. In keeping with this theme, VCUQatar together with Pink Tank UAE is organising TasmeemLab: ‘Linking Through Making,’ a performance of Arab design creation and collaboration. Product designer Younes Duret from Morocco, interior designer Khalid Shafar from the UAE, and graphic designers Richard Kahwagi, from Lebanon and Manar al-Muftah from Qatar will give live demonstrations of how their work is made. Visitors will be offered a rare view into the designers’ workshop spaces to understand the process that goes into the creation of design products. Reflecting on the theme ‘link’ each designer will produce a piece in front of the public that reflects the notion of design as a connector between different materials, disciplines or society. TasmeemLab is also a matchmaking exercise where designers will work together on the creation of a common product(s) at the event. This exercise will explore how different creative methods become compatible when they intersect as the designers combine their expertise and creative minds in this collaborative process. The teams will prototype their design ideas in live sessions. Individual and collective products will be presented on the final day of the conference. Franco-Moroccan designer Duret firmly believes that objects should be both beautiful and useful. He defines himself as an industrial designer with a focus on ergonomics and function. For him, design should consider not only how an object looks, but also how it is created and how it is used. Duret forces himself to look into a conceptual strictness and a permanent re-evaluation of his designer status. His mission is to bring industrial design to the forefront of Morocco’s design world. Shafar has studied and specialised in Furniture & Objects design, first at the prestigious Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London, then at the Centre for Fine Woodworking in Nelson, New Zealand. Over this time Shafar has acquired the skills and techniques integral to bespoke furniture making and craftsmanship. Shafar’s approach to design links his personal expression of form, movement, emotion, and in particular, ‘the tale’ of objects. Graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the American University of Beirut, Kahwagi has delved in various areas of print, advertising, music and television. Based in Beirut, he has collaborated with different design studios and advertising agencies in the Netherlands and the Arab countries. His work has been sold, exhibited and included in several publications. With a penchant for Arabic and Latin typography, Kahwagi sources his inspiration from the surrounding vernacular and DJing. Al-Muftah graduated from VCUQatar with a BFA in Graphic Design. She started attending calligraphy classes, under the supervision of Hameed al-Saady, and “came to deeply appreciate the world of the Arabic alphabet.” Shortly after, she compiled concepts for each letter and started working on a pattern or texture to represent the historical aspects of those letters. Al-Muftah’s work links language, art and design. TasmeemLab live individual demonstrations take place today from noon to 4.45pm, and tomorrow from 9.15am to 1.30pm. The TasmeemLab live group demonstration will take place on Wednesday from 9.15am to 12.25pm and the presentation of individual and collective projects will be held on Thursday from 11.55am to 12.50pm. This will be followed by a main stage presentation by Pink Tank at 1.40pm. Tasmeem Doha 2011 will also host a MEDEA (Middle East Design Educators Association) workshop tomorrow (22 March) to provide an opportunity for design educators to share ideas, methods, challenges and opportunities with their colleagues, and to foster dialogue between the design industry and those who educate the next generation of designers. The session will include presentations by Jimmy Ghazal, head of Digital at M&C Saatchi MENA and Richard Grefé, executive director of AIGA, the oldest and largest professional association of designers in the US.