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New mag encourages designers to think out of the box
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 04 - 08 - 2008

A new magazine called ‘Design' – the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia – has been launched in Jeddah with the first July-August issue on the stands.
“The magazine caters to the needs and interests of design enthusiasts, and aims to bridge the gap between design, art and society,” Kholoud Attar, the magazine's young founder and creative director, told Saudi Gazette.
“It is a platform for artists. The launch of ‘Design' marks the starting point where people can begin to imagine the unimaginable, and to take that first step towards originality and the avoidance of conformity,” she said, and added, “We do not have to lose our identity.”
Kholoud said she has a team of 12 who are committed to the cause of originality and to the magazine's spirit, which is based on creating a database of resource materials and information on designers, their respective fields, and where these fields are headed.
The magazine also aims to be a database and resource for design students, people working in design and others who appreciate art, culture and design.
The magazine has various sections which include personal profiles, events, awards and competitions, architecture, graphics, advertising, interiors, retail, photography, art, sound, and culinary reviews.
“With design being an upcoming sector in the Middle East, the industry requires constant updates. ‘Design' magazine deals with key subjects revolving around different design fields and keeps people in the field connected,” Kholoud said.
Other staff members are Nessreen Tamano (editor-in-chief), Sally Eyd (journalist), Fajr Al-Basri (art director), Ahmad Angawi (creative producer), Abdullah Kurashi (writer) and Fahad Ayyad (photographer).
Design is priced at SR 20, but the ‘zero' issue was distributed free of cost to private colleges, advertising and design agencies and some of Jeddah's influential people for a preview.
Explaining the theme --‘the box'-- of the ‘zero' issue, Kholoud said, ““Zero is the starting point. It represents the box that limits us. We wanted to start from this zero box – expand and stretch.”
“Every designer has their box, a box that symbolizes restriction, whether it is budget, time, guidelines or social acceptance.
We encourage designers to confront their box and deal with it, either step out of it, think out of it, acquire balance with it, confront it, question it or even eat it.
As it is said, learn to live with your mind. There are no walls there,” she added.
“The box might symbolize history, anything outside of it stands for the future. We need to stretch ourselves out of this box. But before that, we need to understand the angles of this box, why we want to leave this box,” said Ma'an Bajnaid, an architect, who was Kholoud's teacher at Dar Al-Hekma, and is now her mentor.
“The idea is to spread the Islamic concept of design. We need to renew our perspective in the international network. We have young talent with potential, able to overcome challenges, and openness to come out of the box,” Ma'an said.
“It is a pioneering magazine. It is a new beginning in the design world. There is no difference in Saudi and international designers. They all use the same thing – the mind. Our mind is related to the larger engine of Islam – the heart of thing,” he added.
“Every artist lives in a box,” said architect Ahmad Angawi, a 26-year-old who studied at the well-known Prat Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
“This box is where the world and their society puts them. It is made of issues and restrictions of various textures – copyrights, creative space, clients, social norms, pricing, identity, and all things taboo. What matters is what the artist does with the box. Flip it, toss it, decorate it, accept it, keep it aside, overlook it, think outside of it, balance it, or forget it,” he added.
Angawi said that designers need to be in line with and meet people's needs.
“I hope we could fuse our modern life and our heritage, develop one and preserve the other.
When someone wants to look into a certain culture, they look into that culture's art, and the message it puts across, and that's the starting point in understanding that culture,” he said.
“Go with how you feel. Don't let anybody restrict you. Get out of your comfort zone. Go beyond it, that way you create a brand new style in itself,” said Bandar Ayyad, a 27-year-old young graduate in computer engineering from North Carolina State University, who works for Aramco, and does painting and sculpting as a hobby.
How has the magazine been received? “Ambitious. They want to put forth a certain point. They should go beyond designs,” said Dania Abdoon, a graphic designer.
“Not only attractive and eye-catching, ‘Design' magazine reflects the great aspects of creativity and design,” said another reader, Hala A. __

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