Disarming design from Palestine (DDFP) is an independent non-profit platform resisting the dehumanisation of Palestinians. We are based in Belgium and perform as a design label that fosters thought-provoking and disarming designs from Palestine. We focus on artisanal products created in conscious and integrated ways, which speak of the reality they are manufactured in. With our label we center Palestinian voices and utilise our networks to amplify them.
Often rooted in a story or incident encountered in day-to-day life across occupied Palestine, the designs perform as cultural objects and conversation starters in homes, exhibitions, symposia, academia, media and other places of learning. How can design contribute to international solidarity and justice for the Palestinian struggle for liberation and self-determination?
For us, a ‘disarming’ manner is an anti-hierarchical approach, defying dominant and oppressive power structures. ‘Disarming’ positions design as a cultural tool to oppose authority, and create knowledge with affection, desire and imagination. In the context of Palestine, ‘Disarming design’ is an approach to design that upholds Palestinian narratives in the face of the systematic oppression caused by the Israeli occupation.
Our platform puts forward designs with a presence and narrative that open our gaze, and stimulate critical thinking. It is a way to trigger reflective moments and open conversations that encounter the anchored realities the designs embody. With our collection of designs we seek to uncover meaningful connections and patterns that help us better understand our histories and imagine shared futures.
The first years we supported new designs during yearly workshops in Palestine, or, as we like to call them, ‘create-shops’. With local partners, we brought together diverse designers and craftspeople. Collaboratively, they developed contemporary designs based on existing manufacturing processes, with local resources and techniques. From there we took several designs in production. In addition we select existing products (like the Nabulsi soap) and welcome proposals by artists themselves (like the Heirloom seeds).
We aim to connect with craftspeople, providing work, agency, fair pay and networks; thus uphold the heritage of making. One of our levers is countering the marginalisation that artisans and designers suffer from, no matter how active they are, as a result of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
DDFP started as a project in 2012 in collaboration with the International Academy of Art Palestine, the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, and designer Annelys Devet, with the support of ICCO. Since 2015, we are registered in Belgium as a non-profit association, and work directly with Palestinian producers, designers and organisations.
With a local team, we ran a Palestinian non-profit company from 2015, based first in Ramallah, and then in Birzeit. There we established Hosh Jalsa, a lively community centre which buzzed for two years. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and we had to close the company, which was no longer financially viable. Since then we work in a decentralized manner and continue our activities with different Palestinian actors.
We run the organisation from Belgium with a small committed team, collaborating with a broad network of friends and supporters from Palestine and beyond. The designs are regularly produced by an array of Palestinian craftspeople and designers, and shipped to Belgium, where we take care of the packaging, distribution and sales.
Today, the project is self-sustainable as our core structure allows to keep the overhead costs to a bare minimum; with no rental costs, generous volunteer work and occasional support by donations. Therefore we sell the designs with a minimal margin, and ensure that producers and designers are directly and fairly paid for their work. We remain flexible to changing insights and challenging conditions, and open to arising opportunities.
We are a small Belgium based-team, some working one day per week and others on project-base. Our studio is based in Sint Pieters Leeuw, near Brussels.
Annelys Devet, coordinator & facilitator
Annelys is a designer and researcher, who initiated the project in 2012. She has been co-developing it since with a broad range of partners; organising and facilitating create-shops, connecting designers, visiting craftspeople and caring for logistics.
Omar Kashmiry, communication & marketing
Omar is an architect with a flair in storytelling, community building and event initiation. He expands and reinforces our network by promoting the designs, amplifying stories and developing masterclasses.
Natalia Lopez Lopez, warehouse & logistics
Natalia is a designer sensitive to materiality and precision. She is in charge of warehouse management, as well as customer support and further logistics.
Intern, research & support
Every year we work with different interns. In 2022 Maut Schoofs empowered us with the organisation structure. Maut studies Networkeconomy at Howest and focuses on socially engaged companies, aiming towards sustainable and ethical development.
Mohammed Abusal, coordinator Gaza
Mohammed is a visual artist based in Gaza. He has coordinated the production and logistics there since 2015; connecting designers, artisans and resources often within extremely restrictive conditions.
Julia Mrad, storytelling & translation
Julia is a landscape designer and a bit of a bee. In 2021 they deployed storytelling and translation skills, as well as catalysing for collaborations and social encounters.
Elettra Bisogno, moving image
Elettra is a documentary maker, designer and activist. In 2021 she worked as an intern for DDFP, with a focus on editing product stories based on video’s by the artisans and designers — a talent that she now extends beyond the internship.
The board of the Belgian non-profit association currently consists of Annelys Devet, Hildegard Devuyst, Kurt Vanbelleghem and Yazan Iwidat.
We value collaboration and co-creation of knowledge, and therefore often join forces with people, collectives and initiatives with whom we share common creative and political grounds. For substantial social change, we believe in building other ways of exchanging, rather than reproducing behaviours and patterns that come from, and contribute to, oppression.
Acknowledgments to: the Palestinian Museum; Birzeit University; Ramallah Municipality; Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem; Eltiqa Group, Gaza; Open Studio, Khan Younis; BFTA; Dar Laila Publishing; Darat Al Funun, Amman; Amman Design Week; VCUarts, Qatar; The Mosaic Rooms, London; MacGuffin Magazine; The Prince Claus Awards; Onomatopee; Droog bv; Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam; Design Museum, Ghent; Sint Lucas School of Arts, Antwerp; WIELS, Brussels — amongst others.
This project has been initiated in collaboration with Khaled Hourani and the International Academy of Arts Ramallah. From 2015 to 2020 Ghadeer Dajani managed the production and designs; developing prototypes into high quality designs with a growing knowledge and network of the best artisans in Palestine; her work has been immeasurable. Raed Hamouri ran the organisation in Birzeit from 2018 to 2020 and developed a lively program in our community centre Hosh Jalsa. He stood on the shoulders of Mohammad Saleh and Sami Khaldi who registered the organisation in Palestine in 2015, based upon the founding work of Hourani and Majd Abdel Hamid. Through their committed work the organisation and network has truly fostered.
This would not have been possible without the inspiring, constructive and generous input of Dr. Jean Calder, Abed Al Kittana, Hazem Alqaddi, Alia Alrosan, Qusai Alsaify, Tommaso Anceschi, Derk Byvanck, Callum Copley, Moniek Driesse, Suzanne Groothuis, Samah Hijawi, Wisam Hourani, Michael Jabareen, Francisca Khamis, Juliette Lizotte, Natalia Lopez Lopez, Rudy Luijters, Inês Marques, Julia Mrad, Manar Nakleh, Kathrine Nicolaisen, Teresa Palmieri, Ingrid Rollema, Majdal Sobeh, Joud Toamah, Petra Van Brabandt, Mirelle van Tulder, Mieke Zagt, Isabel Zoetbrood and many more who joined in making other futures possible.
V&A Blog, Mariam Rossen-Owen, 16 June 2021
Pandemic objects: Keffiyeh mask
PALESTINE MONITOR, Patty Diphusa, 27 August 2019
Summer School of Design in Palestine
DEZEEN, Augusta Pownall, 12 July 2019
Disarming Design from Palestine is first design school for the West Bank
DOMUS, Giulia Zappa, 14 June 2019
Design in Palestine: an interview with the Disarming Design collective
MENA CATALYSTS, Leila, 31 January 2019
Disarming Design from Palestine
1 April 2019 تصاميم من فلسطين
MO MONDIAAL NIEUWS, Alice Devenyns, 27 February 2018 Disarming Design: Alles is verbonden met politiek
HENRY VAN DE VELDE AWARDS, Design Flanders, January 2017
HVDV 2016 – Disarming Design from Palestine
ONOFFICE, Grant Gibson, 8 December 2017
Grant Gibson reviews the Checkpoint Bag by Disarming Design From Palestine
AMMAN DESIGN WEEK, December 2017
Disarming Design from Palestine
WORKS THAT WORK, Kurt van Belleghem, December 2017
Reaching beyond borders
تصاميم من فلسطين,
12 October 2016, Dooz Nablus
Our studio and warehouse are located here:
Disarming Design vzw
VAT: BE 0719.331.115
Find our products at the following locations:
Books, Music and Art from the Arab world and beyond
Rue des Tanneurs 114
1000 Bruxelles (BE)
Museum for Contemporary Art
5611 NH Eindhoven (NL)
1093 KS Amsterdam (NL)
A.M. Qattan Foundation
226 Cromwell Road
London SW5 0SW (UK)
Palestine Center for Peace
Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA)
GPO Box 455
Adelaide SA 5001 (AUS)
Upcoming: Sharjah Art Museum
PO Box 19989
Arts Area, Sharjah (AE)
Website design team:
Annelys Devet, Arno Huygens, Elettra Bisogno, Joud Toamah, Julia Mrad, Natalia Lopez Lopez, Sascha Krischock — with the constructive input of Agustina Woodgate, Isabelle Zoetbrood, Kathrine Nicolaisen, Lama Aloul, Miquel Hervas Gomez, Mohamed Gaber and Yazan Iwidat
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