CROSS-CULTURAL DESIGN TOOLS
DESIGN IN TRANSLATION
In Spring 2013, I identified an opportunity for a cross-cultural design project between my colleagues and I at UArts and a partner organization in Beirut. That summer, as part of Beirut Design Week, we travelled to Lebanon to explore the application and translation of our daily design tools in a different cultural context. We conducted a research project for three weeks focused on theme of trust. Through two community workshops, we co-created and developed Beirut-specific boundary objects –physical objects that facilitate a conversation between two parties– to interact with the public discussing this sensitive topic. I also translated them to 4 different languages: English, Arabic, French and Armenian. We presented our project and findings at the Beirut Design Week 2013 Conference. This project highlights the need to design custom tools, products, or systems within a specific cultural context, taking into consideration language –both spoken and written– as well as empathy for cultural norms. In countries as vibrant, diverse, and also at times unstable, as Lebanon, a designer must be present and aware of these important issues.