A visit to Fikra Campus

Salem Al Qassimi gives me a tour of Fikra Campus. Image courtesy of Fikra Design Studio

Salem Al Qassimi gives me a tour of Fikra Campus. Image courtesy of Fikra Design Studio

This week, I paid a visit to the newly opened and newly revamped Fikra Campus. The entire place, conceptualised around the idea of community and collaborative thought is characterised by slick minimalist design and has an open feel with a library, coffee shop, work-desks, a place for a film screening and an experimental gallery – all in addition to the working design studio.

The word campus is meant in the same way as a university campus and the place offers a fully-rounded experience, meaning that designers or creative people in general can use it as a work space or just come to get inspired.

Fikra has actually been in the works since 2006, when its founder Salem Al Qassimi felt the lack of an experimental design studios in the UAE and decided to start his own business. At first, he focused mostly on Arabic typography and bilingual design but then moved into wider projects that investigated the Emirati culture through the lens of graphic design. One of those key platforms was Afkar Fikra (founded in 2011) through which he created a 3D bilingual alphabet that offered an interesting speculation into the future of typography.

The new campus is an extension of the work Al Qassimi and his team has been doing but with a key drive towards involving more people and facilitating creative energy. One of the most exciting upcoming events for 2018 is the designer-in-residence programme – for which the open call ends at the end of this month. Designer-in-Residence will take one international and one regional designer and allow them to work together in the experimental studio for three months and then display their work in the gallery.

The campus, which is located on the second floor of the Gibca building on Wahda Street in Sharjah also has a year-round informal education programme involving workshops, talks and tours that will be collated in an annual book at the end of each year. 

For more info visit fikradesigns.com