theMakers at Beirut Design Week 2015 / by Beirut Makers

A bold statement from a new breed of creatives

The conjunction of the being able to describe forms precisely thanks to the assistance of computers and having access to information driven machine tools has empowered a new kind of creatives.
Bridging between designers and craftsmen, a new generation who is more in control of their creation, as they have to organize informations to pilot the machines, and who are conscious of the manufacturing process and requirements are born: the makers.
The maker movement is rising in the middleeast and this exhibition is the acknowledgment of this phenomenon.
In research of a fulfilling lifestyle more designers wannabees emerge and rely on the skill and experience of expensive craftsmen to complete and realize their designs. Their one-off limited editions of hardly producible; and therefore expensive designs find an output only in expensive galleries dedicated to a very wealthy audience and focus on gaining media’s attention. On the contrary, makers live deep in workshops in contact with the materials. They aim to reveal the true nature of materials and they know that the process from tools, steps and techniques is the way to do it.
If the association designer + craftsman produces interesting designs despite a few hick ups, it is interesting to follow what the makers will output.
It’s way too easy to describe the maker by opposing it to the couple: designer + craftsman.
In reality, the limits are more blurred. A good designer should have practiced all crafts if he/she wants to design properly. At a certain level of complexity like an architect, a designer has to be the one which orchestrates and watches over the concept. He cannot build by himself every part from every trade.
If the designer’s lack of know-how creates often unwanted difficulties to the craftsmen that pointlessly increases the production cost, it also sometimes creates interesting new objects.
The continuity of presence and control of makers over the creation and manufacturing processes is giving to their design a greater integrity.
Taking into account manufacturing processes from early stages of design allows for control over the production cost and the repeatability of the parts.
That same way, the intimate relationship with the making as most makers own their computer driven machine tools, gives the makers another relationship to the process such as the ability to share the process and propose, on some designs, to have the user make the final assembly.
The journey of a maker from bits to atoms within one design is long. Matter and tools will sanction his/her errors harshly. But to have mastered, on his own, from idea to completion, with an awareness gained by the process, is a well deserved reward.
Would the integrated knowledge of manufacturing limit the maker’s imagination (because he early integrates fabrication constraints in his design process), or would he invent at both stages of concept and fabrication by creating new machines and processes? In this exhibition, representing the avantgarde maker movement in Lebanon, confirmed makers such as Karim Chaya, Guillaume Crédoz and Ahmad Khouja are joined by the younger scene: Kamal Aoun, Charbel Jreijini and Hadil Ankouny.

G.Credoz