Ahead of next months -ing Creative Festival, Beachroad Magazine head to Dubai Design District and chat with founder Ramy Alwassy.
-ing Festival unlocks creative potential through workshops, networking sessions and talks featuring some of the worlds most renowned speakers.
NAME? // You don’t know my name? lol. Ramy Alawssy.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // Graphic Designer.
YOUR OCCUPATION? // Founder of -ing.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN DUBAI? // JLT.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN DUBAI? // 10 Years.
YOUR TAKE ON DUBAI AS A CITY AND ITS RAPID CHANGES? // Incredible, I love the energy of this city, it’s so young and ambitious.
WHY SHOULD SOMEONE VISIT DUBAI? // Generosity. Arabic Culture. Desert. Everyone knows Dubai for its incredible buildings and supercars, but few know much about the locals, their generosity, their desert, their lifestyle, and this is something much more valuable than any skyscraper, building those bonds with the locals of the city.
BEST THING ABOUT RUNNING ING CREATIVES? // Meeting incredible people, those doing incredible work at companies like IDEO, Pixar, NASA, Fikra, and others who are building their path in this world with so much energy and positivity. Recently I met one of my biggest idols, Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize winner. And the fact that I was able to have dinner and talk about the future with a man that’s been transforming poverty for the last 50 years, reminded me of the journey I have ahead of me and -ing to make a difference.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START ING CREATIVES AND ANY CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY? // My dad has taught me and my brothers that our role in this world is to contribute positively and never harm others in the process. With that mindset, I was able to look for ways I can contribute, and it started with hosting creative events under Behance that were open to the public, but I had a bigger dream, to host a creative festival and bring the world’s best creatives together in one place, that’s when -ing came to be. And -ing comes from making and creat-ing, hence why we do a lot of workshops, the focus is to go beyond inspiration and into making, that way we can go from being consumers to creators.
The fact that -ing is constantly wanting to challenge the norm, and up its game, that is a challenge of its own, because it never gets easier, it only gets hard, it’s like climbing a mountain, the higher you go, the less air, and the stronger you need to be. The key is to keep moving forward and doing your best every single day.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF ING CREATIVES SO FAR? // We’ve been lucky to have many highlights, from the first year we hosted our festival in 2015, we’ve had incredible names wanting to come to the festival, till the latest one coming up, with Jessica Walsh, Seb Lester, Ramsey Naja, among many others that is just a dream come true.
WHERE DO YOU SEE ING CREATIVES BEING IN 10 YEARS? // A community of creative makers, a space where if you want to host a workshop, we will help you to do that. And space for Creatives to come and learn to be the next local makers, to help our local community to go from consuming to creating.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE DESIGN SCENE IN THE UAE AND WHICH DESIGNER EXCITE YOU? // The Design scene has scene is still small, although it has grown dramatically, we need to be honest and say that we still need to put in a lot of work to be recognized as the world’s top design scenes, and that’s why I am here, because I think it’s a great time to be in the UAE, because we’re are all one of those people that are founding the UAE Design scene.
One of the most exciting designers and design studios for me in the UAE is Fikra in Sharjah, run by Salem Al Qassimi, Graphic Designer. He is a very young and energetic person that has for the last years been working very hard to improve the design scene of the UAE and participated in many forms to do that from Talks to Exhibitions, to
Designs, to Events. And someone like him gives me hope that the UAE will one day have the chance to be great in Design.
WHO ARE YOUR DESIGN HEROES? // A hero for me is usually someone close to me that I can directly learn from rather than someone I watch online, although that helps too. One of my heroes is Wissam Shawkat, I learn a lot from him, and I grew up not far away from his home in Basra, watching him as he drew Arabic Calligraphy on books for my brother, 20 years later seeing him become one of the most established names in Arabic calligraphy is incredible and humbling to learn from him and listen to him. Another design hero that I been learning from is Mitch Sinclair from IDEO, someone that reminds you daily of why we do what we do, we all need someone like Mitch.
IF YOU COULD DESIGN FOR ANY BRAND OR INDIVIDUAL WHO WOULD IT BE? // It wouldn’t be for someone glamours, I would design for Kiva or a similar NGO, because I truly believe in what they do and it excites me to be able to magnify their reach.
IF YOU COULD SPEND THE DAY WITH ANY DESIGNER DEAD OR ALIVE WHO WOULD IT BE? // It would be Zaha Hadid, I like to ask her what kept her going all those years, and how did it feel to a woman, an Arab, and an Architect, that grew up in a world that didn’t believe in any part of her and then be able to make it the way she did. She didn’t only challenge being an Arab Women, she challenged how Architecture can be made, going from geometric to organic buildings, she completely challenged our perception of “reality”, a true contribution to humanity.
WHERE WOULD YOUR DREAM DESIGN STUDIO / OFFICE BE LOCATED? // I am happy with my office being in JLT, not sure changing it would make that big of a difference, location isn’t everything, it’s the people that I want to be surrounded with.
DESIGN ASIDE WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER PASSIONS? // Conversations with great minds, learning and spending time outdoors.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Design.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Me.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // 5 Years old, getting into my family’s car, escaping Basra as it was getting bombed by the Americans. True story.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My dad. Generous, respectful, and the kindest man I know.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // A book, Three Zeros by Muhammad Yunus.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Read. Read. Read.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I am not searching for it anymore. As long as I am not hurting others, I am happy.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // I gave that up.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // The Gladiator.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // Naseer Shamma’s Ancient Dreams.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Driving in Indonesia, trying to cross a car, only to be suddenly faced by another car in the opposite direction in the middle of the night. Never cross a car in Indonesia.
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Oman.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Not found it yet.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // My family and friends.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? // My family and friends.
YOUR MESSAGE? // I hope Creatives and Designers in this city stop being along, and collaborate and work to help one another, together we can go much further than alone. History has taught us that.