A receptacle for gifting your best DNA, a tech-disabling glove for punishing cybercriminals and a device that harvests edible fungus from your own body are among the concepts presented by students of five Lebanese universities for the Speculative Needs exhibition.
The exhibition is on as part of Beirut Design Week (BDW), which each year focuses on an area of design that has not been much explored in the local industry.
This year that focus is on speculative and critical design, and a key initiative of festival organisers from the Middle East and North Africa Design Research Center (MENA DRC) involved engaging students of five Beirut-based universities with those ideas.
Noting that not a single Lebanese university currently offers classes or lectures on the subject, the organisers ran a series of workshops on speculative and critical design. These asked the students to imagine products that humans might need in the future, based on their observations about technology, society and the environment today.
“We use Beirut Design Week as an opportunity to explore new forms of design that might not have been introduced to designers in the country, and we do that through talks, exhibitions, workshops and the annual conference,” BDW creative director Doreen Toutikian told Dezeen.
“This year we aim to create awareness about critical and speculative design, which looks at design as a tool to question the discipline itself beyond the market-oriented norms.”
The students responded to themes like digital social rituals, cyberprisons and cybercrime, technospiritualism, and recreating nostalgia.
Driven by budget constraints, the workshop organisers sourced project materials from dollar stores,…