On Tuesday, June 26, Blue Hat hosted a Design Thinking talk as part of the sixth edition of Beirut Design Week. The talk, titled ‘Designing Livable Cities,’ brought together five speakers from four organizations and groups, working in different fields.
The talk's aim was to answer the question "What are we missing in Beirut?"
In her presentation, Raad introduced us to examples of what her group has worked on and mirrored them with what other countries are doing. The Chain Effect have recently installed a bicycle parking rack on Abdelaziz street in Hamra, in collaboration with the AUB Neighborhood Initiative, for Beirut Design Week. The installation is car-shaped to show people how much valuable street space one car takes. One car can house up to 12 bicycles.
The Chain Effect are also famous for their murals and graffiti that promote using bicycles instead of cars, among other public art installations.
In their presentation, Chukri and Elias spoke about how Dihzahyners came to life as well as the projects they’ve worked on all over the country. Their main work is integrating geometric shapes onto old, decaying big staircases of the city, to give them an uplift. Before painting, they study the area very well to see what design fits it best and tells its story.
The recycling phone application was launched two months ago after the founders of LiveLoveLebanon received many tags in photos from the trash crisis filling our streets. The people using the hashtag on such photos aimed to show that it’s hard to love Lebanon in such state, using sarcasm. The application offers every household pick-ups of four small bags per month for free.
We were joined last by Omar Kabbani, one of the twin brothers behind the Ashekman initiative. Ashekman integrate their designs, representative of Beirut’s identity, in three different forms of art: their graffiti, their clothing line, as well as their rap. Kabbani stressed that in all these fields, their work is entirely in Arabic.
Kabbani stated that they were born in the 80s, and spent a big chunk of their childhood in shelters, so everything they knew of Beirut was the war-torn ghost of a city. He concluded his presentation with a video of the work they’ve done in Jabal Mehssen and Beb el Tebbeneh. They painted the Arabic word for ‘peace’ (salam) in green on 85 rooftops of the war-torn area, with the help of 80 locals.
The event was concluded with a short panel discussion where people from the audience had the chance to ask the speakers, as well as Blue Hat’s co-founders, some questions about the initiatives they had been working on in hopes to make the city a nicer place to live in.
Blue Hat will be hosting another event in line-up with Beirut Design Week on Thursday, at our head office in Downtown Beirut. The event will be an all-day workshop on ‘City Branding’ titled ‘Beirut, A Case of Rejuvenation.’
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