19 June 2023
Facilitated by:
The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts


Designers in the region are playing a crucial role in driving innovation and disrupting traditional design practices across a variety of industries. From making techniques to innovative materials and the role of advanced technology and generative AI, this fold will highlight the design tools used to bring a new perspective to design at large, including materials, services, products and businesses. Through this fold, both the progress that has been made and the work that still needs to be done will be brought under the spotlight. 


Representing Design

About Jana:

Jana Aridi is a Lebanese designer and artist with an architectural background based in the Netherlands. Jana is deeply involved in design education and management. Since 2019, she has been developing and implementing design programs. She co-founded the Diwan of Culture, Design and Innovation in Beirut. Jana has an online platform and concept store showcasing Lebanese designers globally titled Project4200. She teaches product design at the Willem de Kooning Academy.

Designing for Artificial Intelligence

About Marc:

Marc Engenhart is a designer, artist and co-author of the recently published book "Design and Artificial Intelligence" for all design disciplines. He is the founder of Engenhart ° Design Studio which works on projects in applied communication design, interaction design, digital systems, speculative design, critical design such as transmedia. Since 2015, he has been teaching and conducting research at various colleges and universities across Germany.

The Future of Learning

Makerspaces are emerging as powerful learning tools for design, creativity, and innovation. In this session, Ravin will explore their pivotal role in nurturing emerging designers in Iraq, providing them with efficient means to transform concepts into prototypes. The focus will be on envisioning the future of design learning, emphasizing makerspaces as ideal environments for designers to take control of their own learning.During the session, Ravin will elaborate on how makerspaces should evolve as learning tools for design, creativity, and innovation. These spaces prioritize hands-on learning experiences, fostering a culture of active engagement, effective collaboration, peer learning, and knowledge sharing. They empower designers to become proactive learners, embracing experiential learning methods. The goal of this session is to explore the future of design learning within makerspaces, highlighting their potential as spaces where designers gain agency over their educational journey

About Ravin:

Ravin is the founder and Innovation Director of Suli Innovation House, a non-profit organization that provides young people with skills, start-ups, and well-established businesses with access to rapid prototyping and product development.

Decoding the Formula for Design Success: A Twelve Degrees Masterclass

As a pioneer in product design in the region, Sahar will discuss the formula for creativity, strategy, and entrepreneurial skills necessary to transform concepts into a viable business, as demonstrated through the story of Twelve Degrees. This session will provide a master class on the essential steps designers need to take to launch their work to a broader audience, including market research, idea validation through prototypes and user testing, and developing a comprehensive business plan. It is crucial to not only have a deep understanding of the design process but also to highlight the entire journey, including the challenges, mistakes, and successes. Additionally, Sahar will emphasize the importance of continuous learning, growth, and adaptation to new technologies, as these factors contribute to the success of a design business.

About Sahar:

Sahar has been working with (inter)national clients for the past twenty years. She is an industrial designer by training and an entrepreneur and design advocate by heart. Sahar is one of the most awarded designers in the Middle East and is considered a pioneer in product design. Her design work ranges from medical design to new concept furniture. At the same time, Sahar works hard at developing new talent and inspiring design thinking in the Middle East through talks, mentoring, workshops and using design to empower under privileged communities.

The Possible Roles of Technology in Design

Sara will discuss the evolving role of technology in the design process, the ways in which technology is reshaping the creative landscape, and the potential for technology to enhance designers' ability to push the boundaries of creativity. She will illustrate these concepts through various examples of how she incorporates technology into her design work, ranging from virtual reality and augmented reality to AI and machine learning, and highlight the impact these advancements have had on her projects. Additionally, the talk will address the challenges and ethical considerations that arise from the use of technology in design, providing insights on how designers can navigate these complex issues. Overall, this presentation aims to deepen our understanding of the transformative potential of technology in driving innovation within the creative process.

About Sara:

Sara Dsouki is an architect and designer based between France and Lebanon. She is the founder of Speetra, an award-winning FashionTech startup. With a focus on creating new job opportunities for youth, Sara works as a startup consultant, helping young companies develop and execute business plans and growth strategies. She has a cross-disciplinary approach to research and works at the intersection of architecture, product, and technology.

Designing the Learning Experience

The talk aims to delve into the significance of overcoming language barriers in teaching advanced technology in design and its impact on education accessibility. Through the development of region-specific curricula, Nadine will present MENALAB as a compelling case study to explore innovative learning environments that equip individuals with the necessary tools and resources for designing, building, and creating. By addressing the demand for Arabic-focused curricula, Nadine will elaborate on effective strategies for engaging communities in the realm of digital fabrication, fostering creativity, problem-solving abilities, and technological proficiency.

About Nadine:

Nadine is a computer engineer, digital fabrication specialist and a passionate maker. She played key roles in the launch and foundation of major fablabs in Jordan including Shamal Start/FabLab Irbid, and Jordan's first mobile fablab. Nadine is a FabLearn Fellow at Columbia University’s Transformative Learning Technologies lab and holds the international Fab Academy Diploma.

Panel Discussion:

Exploring the future of design learning

With Ravin Rizgar, Sara Dsouki, Marc Engenhart and moderated by Nina Thorton

About Nina:

Nina was born and raised in Delft, Netherlands and holds both German and British nationalities. She is currently based in Amman, where she works as a Kulturweit Volunteer at the Goethe Institut of Jordan. She has a B.Sc. in Information Systems from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and is currently pursuing a B.Sc. in Cognitive Science at Aarhus University (AU). Additionally, she is a Guest at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig.

Images by Emad Zyoud