Out of Many, One Downtown

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

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Design Week JA 2018 — presented by Kohler — continued its series of conversations Friday last at 107 Harbour Street at F&B Downtown — home of the Kingston Creative Meet-up. The space was at capacity and comprised young creative minds, design experts, architects, historians and lovers of downtown. Chief architect of the group Andrea Dempster-Chung welcomed all to the cosy space dominated by the amazing black and white photo eassays of famed photographer Craig Phang Sang.

Design Week JA 2018 conceptualiser Novia McDonald-Whyte brought greetings on behalf of the Jamaica Observer and traced the organisation's 25-year journey. She also spoke to the Design Week initiative and stressed the importance of creatives honing and monetising their talents in order to become success stories themselves.

Mayor Delroy Williams lauded the efforts of members of the Kingston Creative but also cautioned against lethargy: “We have to move from just having ideas and being creative to transforming that creativity into a product...into business. This will enhance our vision of making Kingston the undisputed commercial hub of the Caribbean. It's easy for us to become the pearl of the Antilles, but then you have the daunting task of maintaining that status. We have to build the infrastructure to ensure that we not only attain [this status] but, that we can sustain it.”

The evening's guest speaker Dr Elizabeth Pigou-Dennis, architectural historian and associate professor and vice-dean, Faculty of the Built Environment, University of Technology, Jamaica, presented A Journey of Architectural Imaginaries, starting with a plan of Kingston from the 1700s to the evolution of present-day architecture. Hers was an informative lecture that included detailing of national disasters such as hurricanes, fires and earthquakes that destroyed and/or shifted the course of development over the years.

Post-Pigou-Dennis's presentation, Kingston Creative founder Andrea Dempster-Chung opened the floor for attendees to express their visions for downtown Kingston. Visions were in abundance and included a literary centre and poet library on the waterfront; an art district where locals and visitors can convene to appreciate more Jamaican art; a restaurant helmed by entrepreneur Nicholas Wright that would include as part of its menu offerings artisanal roasted-pumpkin and Scotch bonnet pepper sandwiches.

Herbie Miller, music museum director at the Institute of Jamaica, urged Mayor Delroy Williams to encourage his colleagues to assist with the renovation of several of the abandoned spaces in and around the area and to create art spaces for the “many young people with all of this creative energy looking for a space to express themselves”.

Formalities over guests and Kingston Creative members enjoyed scrumptious F&B fare and libations from the bar. Design Week conversations continued against Remixes from 8 Miles Music's DJ Fenix.

Heeding the words of Swiss Stores Limited Managing Director Ueli Bangerter “out of many, one downtown”, Tuesday Social probes some of Kingston's creative minds.

Jamaica Observer Design Week JA 2018 presented by Kohler, wrapped on Sunday, September 30 with the Kingston Creative after-party Riddim Sunday, hosted by Mutabaruka. Design Week JA 2018 was made possible by Tile City & Home Centre, National Commercial Bank, National Housing Trust, Spanish Court Hotel, Caribbean Airlines, Business Access TV and Wealth Magazine.

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