October promised to be a busy month in the world of design. In its second year, DDW showcased a wide variety of events across its programme. It encompassed culture, design, education and entertainment to present an event on a global scale. There were a few events which stood out from the 2016 programme. For example, Santiago Calatrava was invited to deliver the keynote speech in association with Expo 2020. iconic Cities: Cairo Now! City Incomplete curated by Mohamed AlShahed discusses various design philosophies as practiced in Egypt today.
The keynote speech by Calatrava saw unprecedented participation. It was held at the Atrium of Building 4. It was preceded by a panel discussion around Zaha Hadid's work and legacy. The room was packed starting with the Zaha Hadid talk and continued to fill till Calatrava arrived. The organizers were forced to restrict entry and provide audio visuals outside the building for people waiting outside. He spoke about his experience working with the public authorities and his love for designing bridges and railway stations. He said such buildings have far-reaching effects on the city. He said it has the power to rejuvenate entire neighborhoods giving an example of the Brooklyn bridge. He further stated that it is possible to find a balance between budget and the requirement of providing a special building. even in public sector. He also took the opportunity to praise all the clients he has worked with and stated 'not a single good building exists without a good client.' He showed examples of his sculptural work that turned into concepts for architectural projects demonstrating the close relationship between architecture and art.
After the high-profile speech by Calatrava, the exhibition that created a buzz was Iconic Cities: Cairo Now! City Incomplete. It had a casual air and housed projects ranging from architecture to illustration. It aimed to highlight the atmosphere of incompletion prevalent in Cairo. The somewhat sombering topic is presented with a hint of modernity, lending a feeling of peering into a foreign world.
Zeinab Al Hashemi's return to DDW happened in stunning fashion (literally) She combined Swarovski crystals and mirrored steel to create a stunning installations called 'hexalite', in the heart of d3.
Another favourite was the participatory pavilion of India at Abwab. Visitors were invited to create memory tiles using colored cement with shreds of paper on which they were asked to write a memory. It uses the joy of creating something with your own hands and intimacy to create a wall of memory tiles.
Th week ended with a lively Ripe market taking over the walkways of d3. It was reported that 23,000 people visited DDW last year. By the looks of it, this one outdid 2015 by a mile.