FANTASMEEM – New Program Supporting Design in Lebanon

FANTASMEEM is a newly launched design program by the Goethe-Institut Libanon aiming to enable and foster cultural entrepreneurship in Lebanon’s design industry. FANTASMEEM consists of four independent training modules as well as accompanying activities targeting designers, startups and entrepreneurs. Applications are now open for a two-week design residency and job shadowing opportunities.


In the last 10 years, the Lebanese design scene has witnessed the emergence of new design studios and initiatives as well as design fairs and exhibitions. However, Lebanon’s designers still face challenges and only a small number of designers succeed in surmounting the challenges they face, as Ghassan Salameh, Beirut based designer and consultant for Goethe Institute Lebanon, explains: “Most of what is called design today is strongly correlated to craft and intangible heritage resulting from generations of artisans that master specific manufacturing techniques related to objects, furniture and decorative items. The new popularity of design is due to two factors: First, the Lebanese became more interested in arts and craft due to the emergence of numerous art and design institutions and platforms; second, Middle Eastern design is garnering a lot of attention and curiosity on the international art and design scenes.”


But Ghassan Salameh emphasises that design is much more than merely the production of objects: “Design as a thinking methodology focuses on exploration, experimentation and problem-solving. Unfortunately, design in this regard was never really a characteristic of the Lebanese society and educational institutions started only recently to include design in their curriculums. One of the main challenges is therefore to overcome the gap between design education and the market”.



FANTASMEEM responds to these challenges with an integrated approach towards supporting the design industry in Lebanon allowing practitioners to dedicate their careers to their passion. Mani Pournaghi, director of the Goethe-Institut Libanon, explains the new program: “The cultural and creative industries, including the design industry, is one of the most dynamic economic sectors worldwide. At the same time, cultural entrepreneurs are facing specific challenges and are in need of programs targeting their individual needs. This is the starting point of FANTASMEEM which is a one-year program supporting the design industry in Lebanon. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Goethe-Institut and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) are supporting culture and creative industries in the Middle East and Africa. Our holistic approach involves capacity building, fostering cultural entrepreneurship and encouraging knowledge exchange”.

The program launches with the FANTASMEEM Faculty, a two-week design residency program including professional mentoring and developing startup ideas at Hammana Artist House. From January till March, 2019, the FANTASMEEM Factory offers funding for job shadowing in design related initiatives in Lebanon and abroad. Followed in April 2019 by FANTASMEEM Forward, which supports designers in implementing their innovative business ideas with startup grants, mentorships, workspaces and input sessions, while FANTASMEEM Fair provides opportunities to visit international fairs, conferences and conventions.

Product & furniture, graphic & type, fashion & textile, interior and landscape designers as well as animators and illustrators from Lebanon and the MENA region who are residing in Lebanon can apply to one or several training modules.

In addition to the four training modules, three parallel components will complete the program. FANTASMEEM Focus, invites experts to present topics relevant to innovation in the design industry. FANTASMEEM Findings commissions experts to conduct research on the legal and economic framework of the Lebanese design industry as well as on the specific challenges Lebanese designers face. FANTASMEEM Finals enables designers to present their services and products on online platforms.


Open Call FANTASMEEM Faculty – Design Residency

Designers, animators and illustrators who want to develop their business skills are invited to apply till January 3, 2019 for the FANTASMEEM Faculty. The design residency will take place from February 19 to March 5, 2019 at Hammana Artist House.


The FANTASMEEM Faculty responds to a set of identified challenges faced by young designers whose aim is to transform their innovative ideas into sustainable business models. The selected candidates will have the opportunity to develop their business skills through a mini-curriculum around cultural entrepreneurship along with a guided mentorship by local and international design experts.

For more information:

Open Call FANTASMEEM Factory – Job-Shadowing

Designers, start-ups and cultural entrepreneurs who want to benefit from job-shadowing opportunities are invited to apply till February 23, 2019 for the training component FANTASMEEM Factory. FANTASMEEM Factory will be taking place from January till March 2019.

The job-shadowing opportunities include an approximately 1-4-week long stay in design-related initiatives, start-ups or companies in Lebanon or abroad and enable the selected participants to develop the business idea further and to exchange ideas on content and presentation. Candidates are required to arrange their own job-shadowing opportunity and to apply to FANTASMEEM Factory with a budget detailing their expected expenses.


For more information:


For more information:


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