Kinda Ghannoum – “during the war in Syria each one learns to build and improve”

July, 2017
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4.5 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

A Creative Road to Damascus with Kinda Ghannoum

This week Creative Chair in Damascus, Syria talking creativity with designer Kinda Ghannoum. Kinda Ghannoum comes from an architectural background and has since gravitated towards graphic design.

Her work is influenced by both the beauty and upheaval that exists in Syria. You can see a lot more work from Kinda Ghannoum on Behance, as well as the links within the interview.

Business Cards

Firstly, tell us a little more about yourself and what you do.

My Name is Kinda I am half Syrian half Polish. Actually, I like this mix between these two cultures.

I’m 26 years old, I studied architecture and graduated from Damascus University Faculty of Architecture.

Since I graduated I started training in MAG LAB and it is a part of Maksoud Architectural Group, then I worked with them as an architect.

But that didn’t stop me from trying new things, so I participated as a graphic designer in an event called Startup weekend Damascus 2015, which is held yearly. My team “Bma3itk” (Facebook Page) won the first prize, and there I found my passion for graphic design.

Bma3itk Ghannoum

Since then I worked in a lot of organisations as a graphic designer (TEDxyouth@Jahez [Facebook Page] – UNFPA – Youth in PowerEntrepreneurial Summer School – YPEER [Facebook Page] )


And I did many projects with Goethe institutes in Lebanon (Facebook Page) for Syrian refugees (Bibbus and Soccer Camp (Facebook Page).

BiBus Mobile Library

I am as well a member in Urbegony – Architects without borders. Syria, (Facebook Page)

I am also one of the winners in a competition promoted by Universita Luav de Venezia in Italy in collaboration with UN-ESCWA  called sketch for Syria. (Facebook Page)

Startup Weekend Youth Of Damascus

In addition, I was one of the organisers and the graphic designer coach at Startup Weekend youth of Damascus 2016 (Facebook Page) which held last year, and it was one of my favourite experiences. Working with those young talents really gave me hope that Syria will someday be the amazing place like we used to know it. Check this video about the event.

What sort of influence does living and working in Syria have on you as a designer?

At this time and during the war in Syria each one learns to build and improve themselves on their own and try their best to create opportunities and different ways that can make them feel alive and productive.

I tried hard to chase the best chances and give all that I can to make my ideas reach to the world and let them see the beauty that Syria holds away from the war and all the sadness and horror that have been connected to hearing the name of Syria in the last years

It was hard trying to implement all that I wanted in these bad circumstances but the happiness I got every time seeing my project achieve what I aimed for is worth more than the world to me.

Startup Weekend Youth Of Damascus

What is ‘Architects’ without borders’ and how are you involved?

A group of specialists interested and concerned with urbanisation and architecture that observes spatial, urban, and architectural changes of the built and social environment.

The importance of the observation comes from the need to document these rapid changes, learning from them, and switching from treating them with a reaction to treating them with pioneering responsible actions.

The observation isn’t merely direct documentation, but also, the interpretation of the researchers, even if it was possible to limit it to presenting a certain change, any suggestions to improve or treat that change is welcome.

I am one of the founders; we did many exhibitions, one of them was in Università Iuav di Venezia. My sister and I did the project ” The New Rules of the Syrian Conflict

The World and Syria

The project simplifies the meaning of the Syrian conflict and uses small icons to refer to some issues in the daily life of the Syrian families and Syrian people.

The purpose of choosing those simple elements (electricity source-light-food-movement-transportation … ) was to show the others that the war has changed everything in our daily routines and daily life and has made it harder in all those small details.

You’ve collaborated on several projects. What is the creative community like in Damascus?

About the creative community in Damascus; on one hand, due to the war and unstable circumstances many boundaries evolved in the field of graphic design which made it harder to express my graphic thoughts and views as I wanted.

These boundaries were a result of the loss of diversity and appropriate visual aspects in graphic design, in addition to considering graphic design as a secondary and unimportant field from a wide range of the community.

That made me push myself to the limits to reach the best functional and aesthetic solutions for the client, the viewer, and for myself.

On the other hand, many designers and artist were trying their best to raise the level of graphic design up, and I got to know and work with many of them which was an encouragement factor that helped me more to implement and evolve my graphical view.

The 97th 366 Award goes to Kinda Ghannoum for his outstanding creative work.

Entrepreneurial Summer School

And finally, if you died and became reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?

I think a song called Nour Khan – Ghorabaa. I like the melody, the feeling that gives you and also the lyrics of this song.

Ghorabaa - نور خان - غرباء"
Ghorabaa - نور خان - غرباء (2014)
Nour Khan
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What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
Kinda Ghannoum
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