Beirut chosen as this year’s “iconic city” for Dubai Design Week

Rana Salam curates and designs the iconic city exhibition for Dubai Design Week 2015.

Set to take place from October 26–31, the inaugural Dubai Design Week will host the Iconic City exhibition, which will explore the design and creative culture of Middle East and South Asian cities. This year, Beirut was one of the chosen cities and the exibition named ‘Brilliant Beirut’ will be curated and designed by Beirut-born and based designer Rana Salam.

This will be the first attempt to document the development of design in the Lebanese capital over the past seven decades since its independence, illustrating how the city, with its mélange of cultures, produced world-renowned designers and remains at the forefront of design in the region.


Salam says: “There is a need to change the perception of the region and what better medium to use than the power of design.”

The cosmopolitan creativity of Beirut is often overlooked amidst its ongoing political crises. Salam will bring the city’s architecture and design to international attention with the ‘Brilliant Beirut’ pavilion at Dubai Design Week.

“The exhibition will showcase the development of design from the 1950s up to today,” adds Salam. “It will pinpoint key moments and designers that had an influence on the city’s reputation and design development, from architecture, product and graphic design to design education and creating cultural trends in the region. The exhibition ‘Brilliant Beirut’ will highlight today’s key players that have put Beirut on the international design scene.”

The four foci of the exhibition are architecture, interior design, product design and graphic design. Salam was selected to curate Beirut’s diverse contributions to these fields based on her experience as a designer. The daughter of a renowned Lebanese architect, Salam grew up amid a by the city’s architecture community, and has since incorporated the street culture of Beirut into her distinctive design.

Salam is the art director and founder of Rana Salam Design Studio based in Beirut. Her signature style is the celebration of the pop culture of the Middle East taking billboards, vintage film posters and signs of consumerism and translating them into visually captivating solutions for her clients from interiors to products.

Salam opened her first studio in London in 2002, and in 2010 she relocated to Beirut where she opened her store mishmaoul three years later. Her artistic intention is to show the Middle East in a different light.

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