Surrounding the room are women’s faces wrapped in colourful scarves, two meters high, smiling down on the proceedings. The overall impact invariably brought a smile to those entering the room.
“Without doubt the visual impact of the design of the room and the branded products played a major part of the meeting’s success. The unusual approach and vivid displays gave an atmosphere of surprise, excitement and pleasure to the room as people entered. The high quality of the design products exuded professionalism and a sense of purpose, which dominated the mood and boosted the meeting format and speakers’ comments.”
The first objective was to create a visual impact with an exhibition and branded products, to cause participants to stop in their tracks and take note. Just as we see women surprising mainstream Somalia. The second intention was also to transport delegates away from the confines of the hotel Istanbul, and to transplant them in the reality of Somalia, saturated with light and colour.
Lysth spent five days in Somalia, working with partners, taking photos, collecting material, and undertaking site visits in Istanbul.
The concept Lysth proposed was to focus on women standing with arms outstretched, saying both ‘Stop and Notice Me!’ and ‘Welcome!’ The exhibition highlighted their faces; their stories and the colours they wear. Their stories would be on videos in the Exhibition and quotations scattered in the design. These themes would be encapsulated by #SomaliWomenMatter.
The entrance into the meeting Room was closed off into a corridor by black curtains which contrasted with the vivid sand coloured carpet. In the middle of the corridor were five larger than life sized women blocking the way. They were wooden cut outs of photographed women standing with arms stretched out – a mixture of welcome and self-assertion. Low level Somali music was played softly in the background. Immediately, the attention of the delegates was absorbed into these large vivid figures as they had to move around them.
The Meeting Room
The circular room had circular tables elegantly dressed with white cloth and cutlery, with colourful fans of promotional material. On entering the room, you see these tables stretched across the floor to the raised dais at the end of the room with a large backdrop of colour, the women’s faces, and chairs on the dais for the panel members. Surrounding the room are women’s faces wrapped in colourful scarves, two meters high, smiling down on the proceedings. The overall impact invariably brought a smile to those entering the room. The joyous surrounding was counterbalanced by the meticulous organization and placement and the high quality of the products.
The conference products
The folder and the notebook had the same theme of faces and colourful blocks of colour matching the headscarves. In the folder was background material including the Concept Note, which set out the key issues of justice, security, extremism, reconciliation, economic empowerment, political participation and women’s transformational agency. Pens with the hashtag Somali Women Matter printed on matched the walls, and brass peace sign key rings were inside the folders.
“It was thoroughly professional and fun and an intelligent combination of policy, experience and design.”
Exemples on short videos that could be reached from QR-codes on the floating faces