It’s ironic, that in a country so meticulously designed and carefully transformed from a desert trading town to a glamourous metropolis in the space 25 years, that it has only just got its very own, flourishing creative neighbourhood. The Dubai Design District or D3 as it is more affectionately known, is a regional hub for the thriving Middle Eastern design industry, attracting exceptional talent from across the region.
This weekends ING Creative Festival was a prime example of the International calibre of artists that recognise D3’s growing influence in the region. Passionately curated by founder Ramy Alawssy, the festival is a seminal celebration of a whole year of events for the ING creative community. ING represents the suffix of the words doing and making, concepts that Alawssy took to the next level with the nexus of 20 International speakers that he orchestrated for this year’s festival.
His influence for the movement came from his time living in Malaysia completing his degree in graphic design. Returning to the Middle East, he realised that there was a wide gap between the artistically rich roots of the regions ancient culture and the relatively dry landscape of it’s present day creative scene.
Alawssy’s vision is to build a regional community that helps creative minds to reach their full potential and use their talents to benefit the world. This was why he decided to make the event immersive and experiential, offering attendees 20 big-name speakers, an art exhibition, networking sessions, panel discussions, portfolio reviews and workshops on a dynamic array of topics.
At Brand Lounge, we were elated to hear that the festival would be relocating from it’s initial Knowledge Village location to D3 for it’s second year. It was the perfect opportunity to collaborate with such immense talent concentrated in one place for three whole days.
The festivals main stage held a captive audience avidly soaking up the mind expanding talks of globally renowned creatives like David Delgado, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) whose passionate mission is to help people see the world in new and unexpected ways by provoking curiosity through a mix of science and imagination.
His workshop was out of this world, quite literally exploring the plentiful expanse of weird planets that surround other stars. Attendees had an intergalactic mission to create concepts for travel posters, successfully selling them as enticing and very unique holiday destinations. It is this dynamic mixture of imagination, knowledge, creativity and above all fun that allows the design community to inspire so many other areas of our modern development.
Offering a perspective from the creative worlds supportive infrastructure was Alessio Baldi, a lawyer specialising in IP law and copyright. He was able to highlight areas where the protection of an artists Intellectual Property (IP) is paramount, building a safe environment for creativity without fear.
As culture and creativity reconnect and reignite throughout the region, it is a shame to see that there is more support for International talent, than home-grown skill that is equally as proficient, but perhaps not quite as exotic. This is a topic that Alawssy recognises and is addressing.
There are creative stronghold’s in the region like Lebanon that are successfully reaching global markets. Designers, Leen Sadder, Nadine Chahine and Hatem & Maya all gave powerful talks that transcended the interest of both design professionals and enthusiasts. Alawssy hopes that by growing the positive input in the region, attracting the most prolific talent in the industry and nurturing the local creative communities, that the Middle East will organically grow, mature and export it’s own talent successfully. Seeing how quickly creative enterprises are springing up around the region, we believe this will happen sooner than later, and it is an excellent opportunity to export Middle Eastern brands globally.
D3 was the ideal environment to support such a fresh and expansive event. Every one involved brought a plethora of knowledge and experience from their broad spectrum of creative disciplines. The Brand Lounge was open for the entire weekend welcoming guests to relax. It was exciting to see authentic, organic break-off discussions happening in the Lounge. This is what the Brand Lounge was created for, an open forum expressing rich perspectives, mutual learning and pushing the boundaries of the future.