PenguinCube

Mia Azar

Mia Azar is a lecturer at the American University of Beirut’s Architecture and Design Department, where she has taught various practical and visual design courses to undergraduate students since 2013. In 2010, she joined PenguinCube, an award-winning design consultancy in Beirut with projects ranging from brand design to product design, with a core expertise in wayfinding and signage.

WASHINGTON, DC – In a world that is increasingly complex visually, designers are experimenting with ways to enhance users’ enjoyment of the “real” world with creative experiential designs that communicate. Operating at the intersection of communications and the built environment, the field of experiential design embraces a wide range of disciplines including graphic design, architectural, interior, landscape, digital and industrial design.

Despite its (partly-justified) reputation as a commerce-driven city with a dearth of art and culture, the evolution of Dubai's socioeconomic landscape in recent years has given rise to a new demand for cultural spaces, in particular local galleries and contemporary art studios. Al Quoz district, once a bland industrial quarter on the fringes of the city, has been the unlikely epicenter of this awakening, with a vibrant art and design community sprouting up between the extant manufacturing estates.

By the Book

PenguinCube’s donor wall for a non-profit art school shows that big ideas can be better than big budgets.

The Ashkal Alwan Home Workspace is a unique, scholarship-driven contemporary arts school and artist residency space that opened in Beirut in 2011. It provides a tuition-free program for 15 young artists and cultural practitioners to work for 11 months alongside a resident scholar.  

Forgotten Cities

A new wayfinding system makes the cultural treasures of northern Syria’s Forgotten Cities more accessible to the world.

The Forgotten Cities Hiking Trails run along three different routes in the area of Samaan (Simeon) Mountain, the Limestone Massif of North Syria to the west of Aleppo. More than 700 dead or forgotten cities containing archeological sites and rich cultural and natural heritage features are located along the 140-kilometer north/south trail that varies from 20 to 30 kilometers wide.

The Ashkal Alwan Home Workspace is a scholarship-driven contemporary arts school and artist residency space that opened its doors to students in 2011. The space provides a tuition-free program for 15 young artists and cultural practitioners to work for 11 months alongside a resident scholar. 

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