Rana Beiruti

Amman Design Week 2017Design Moves Life Moves Design

The second edition of Amman Design Week launched with a program of large-scale exhibitions, including the headline Hangar Exhibition and the Crafts District, as well as a Mobile Makerspace which toured the governorates of Jordan in the month leading to Amman Design Week. This year also marked the launch of the first inter-university and high-school Student Exhibition.


We are in an extraordinary era defined by vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. In a time characterized by mass migrations, interactive technology, hyper-connectivity, as well as issues of accessibility and strained mobility, design offers a driving force through which we strive for physical, mental, or emotional freedom through 'motion'.

Movement presents new opportunities through the exchange of expressions, stories, and ideas, but also introduces new challenges as we dive into an unpredictable future. Whether faced with the movement of people and goods, shifting perspectives, or the drastic fluctuations in climate, designers are constantly confronted with a world in flux. As natural problem-solvers, they carry the responsibility of anticipating and responding to the ebb and flow of change – innovating to propel us into the future, while also allowing us to slow down in appreciation of the past.


Amman Design Week embodies the active spirit of a movement – one that gains momentum with the participation of many, and serves to empower people to take control, make an impact, and rise up to challenge the status quo. With the evolution of technology, science, and crafts, designers contribute new solutions that define how communities and individuals can advance society through conscious design. Design moves life, and life moves design.

The intellectual, cultural, and commercial vitality in Jordan gives designers an exceptional point of departure to set off a series of rhythms, a new pace of life, and new attitudes. Amman Design Week 2017 celebrates the creative power that is generated when people mobilize, collaborate, communicate, and exchange knowledge, skills, and inspirations.

The Hangar Exhibition

The 2017 Hangar Exhibition, curated by Ahmad Humeid, presents work by local and regional designers in response to the theme of ‘movement’, whether physical, intellectual, cultural, or social. It showcases work that moves between extremes. The extremes of attitude: from the experimental to the practical. The extremes of impact: from the individual to the collective. The extremes of scale: from a letterform to the planet.

The exhibition stands as testimony to how design challenges our contemporary reality, learns from it, adapts with it, and changes it - design that moves life and is moved by it.

The Hangar Exhibition, curated by Ahmad Humeid.

Dina Haddadin –– The Stream, 2017.

The Stream is a 100m linear structure made up of fourteen modular units. The structure is shaped in a manner that resembles the seil, or stream, of Amman that was buried under the Ras El Ain area of the city in the mid-seventies.

The Crafts District

The 2017 pop-up Crafts District, a space dedicated to celebrating the social, performative, and critical discourse of crafts and making took place in an open-air structure designed by architect Dina Haddadin and at the Al Hussein Cultural Center.

The Crafts District presented a series of demonstration booths, pop-up shops, design installations, cultural activities, food, and a selection of craft artisans working with a variety of ingredients and materials.

Advocating for the return of the handmade, ‘The Craft of Making’ series, curated by Shermine Sawalha, brings audiences closer to the heart of crafts in a learning experience that blends tangible and intangible heritage, design, and technique, highlighting the dying crafts and stories.

The Crafts District also extended to the craft of food, with a focus on the art of preservation in local culture, through an interactive experience entitled ‘Mouneh’.

The Mobile Makerspace — Resources and Waste Management workshop, facilitated by Amal Jamil Madanat at the Nour Al Hussein Secondary School for Girls, Karak.

The Mobile MakerSpace

In its pilot year in September 2016, Amman Design Week kicked off a MakerSpace at the Jordan Museum as one of its main exhibitions where people gathered in the spirit of making, sharing knowledge, techniques, resources and skills. Building on the same self-directed learning experience, this year's MakerSpace is going mobile. Children will have the chance to learn the basics of making, see the impact innovative and entrepreneurial projects can make, and be exposed to technologies and craft.

Amman Design Week 2017’s Mobile MakerSpace also traveled across Jordan, engaging public school students in workshops, pop-up events and demonstration sessions revolving around crafts and making, environmental sustainability, digital fabrication and robotics.

Running from 17 - 28 September, the Mobile MakerSpace visits schools in Irbid, Zarqa, Mafraq, and Karak.

The Student Exhibition

This year’s highlight is the first ever Amman Design Week Student Exhibition. Run through an open call, selected university and high-school students take part in a mentorship program, where they work one-on-one with design specialists and experts to develop ideas and produce design works. The exhibition culminates in a student prize, awarded to one participating student as selected by a panel of jurors composed of industry mentors.

The 2017 Student Exhibition at the Ras El Ain Gallery.

Workshops & Talks

Talk by Faysal Tabbarah titled 'Making Almost Natural Things'.

Mouneh, food exhibition and activations curated by Shermine Sawalha.

The Mouneh table is an interactive experience within the Crafts District celebrating traditional practices in food preservation including salting, pickling, sugaring, jams, drying, fermenting, and roasting.

Culture and Food

Amman Design Week’s curated food program explores the art of preservation, taking visitors on a journey through the history and heritage of food preservation methods.

The practice of preserving harvested and prepared food dates centuries back, when people understood it as a necessity to survive in complex environments, and invented new ways to "cheat the seasons" by treating food in a way that will slow down spoilage and extend its shelf-life. The Middle East flourished with these practices, and pioneered many of the food preservation methods that we practice every day. Most of these traditions are still being practiced by women in towns and villages across Jordan, and have become an income-generating trade handed down generation after generation.

This year at Amman Design Week, ‘Mouneh’ features people who work in food production and preservation. Each entity provides tastings and samplings in addition to a selection of their products for sale, while also providing a more in-depth look at the preservation methods and the processes that are still embedded in our region’s history and tradition. A mud-based oven and saj station oven allows visitors to pick and choose from the variety of products and make their own fresh meal from the curated menu.

Urban Interventions

Urban skate park competition, organized in collaboration with 7hills, 2017.