Arab World enters arena of global design

The focus of the international design spotlight is turning on the Arab world as three major figures from the design community — Sheikh Majed Hamoud Al-Sabah, Karim Rashid and Ricky Burdett join the Advisory Board of the International Design Initiative (IDI).

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By  Monika Grzesik Published  August 3, 2006

The focus of the international design spotlight is turning on the Arab world as three major figures from the design community — Sheikh Majed Hamoud Al-Sabah, Karim Rashid and Ricky Burdett join the Advisory Board of the International Design Initiative (IDI). The newcomers join fifteen other luminaries from the international world of design, which include, among others, UK and Netherlands architects Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas. Created by Moutamarat (a pan-Arab business initiative formed by a joint venture between Tatweer and Saudi Research and Publishing Company), the International Design Initiative is the first high profile creativity and design platform of its kind to emerge from the Arab world. Bringing together international experts its focus is to raise awareness of design industry issues and spark debate on all aspects of global design through a series of meetings, forums, research projects and installations. A major event on the IDI calendar is the widely anticipated International Design Forum due to be held in Dubai in February 2007. The event will focus on industrial and urban design as well as on the relationship between design, business and creativity, and will no doubt aim to solidify Dubai’s growing reputation as a vibrant hub for creative innovation. The new board members will undoubtedtly bring invaluable support to the IDI debate. As professor in architecture at the London School of Economics, and advisor on architecture to the Mayor of London and numerous other public bodies in the UK and abroad — Ricky Burdett has a wealth of architectural knowledge and experience. Sheikh Majed Hamoud Al-Sabah is a visionary and innovator in the Arab retail sector. His success in introducing international fashion brands to the Gulf underlines the significance of design in the region. He says: “The Middle East desperately needs a life saving plan in design and architecture and I think that the IDI is going to be the platform to make this happen.” Internationally renowned multi-disciplinary designer Karim Rashid brings a powerful voice and strong international profile to the board. Rashid’s designs can be found among some of the worlds largest and most famous brands, and he has also successfully entered the world of interior design with his infamous Semiramis Hotel in Athens. According to Rashid: “Design is the most critical and necessary ingredient to shaping the future of the Arab world and the rest of the world.”

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