|Title||Dubai Design Week 2015||Posted In||Design, Art, Exhibition||Venue||various venues in Dubai|
DUUnited Arab Emirates
|Official Website||Dubai Design Week||More Info|
On the cover: The Hammam Deluxe carpet by Samovar Carpets. Photo by Herald Herrera at Downtown Design Dubai 2015.
No matter what you’ve heard about Dubai or what has been written about it in the news, the city’s concentration of other sources of income - apart from its oil which will run out soon - is remarkable. Recent reports have unveiled that Dubai’s trade is growing by an average of 11% a year, that the MENA (Middle East North Africa) design-industry market’s value reached over $100 billion in 2014, that more than 85 airlines are linking Dubai to over 130 destinations worldwide while the UAE are ranked 20th based on GDP/Gross Domestic Product per capita (measured on life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices). Recently, the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) revealed the results of the MENA Design Outlook, a ground-breaking study across the Middle East and North Africa region which highlighted the impact of the design sector on economic growth; the study showed that the fastest-emerging markets currently in Dubai are in fact design-related and are based in Interior and Marine Design, Events and Experiential Design.
In synch with the market’s growth, the emirate has launched the Dubai Design District (d3) initiative, the first phase of which was delivered this year. d3’s vision is fully aligned with a wider development scheme, namely Dubai Plan 2021; award winning architects Foster + Partners have been commissioned to design facilities which will host over 6,000 craftspeople, artisans and designers in a dedicated area of one million sq. ft (approximately 92,000 sq. meters) for its second phase to be completed in 2018. An additional third phase will be completed in 2019, which includes a 1.8-km-long esplanade running alongside the Dubai Creek, which will eventually complete d3’s tailor-made design-industry ecosystem as the preferred place to work and live for over 180,000 local and international creative individuals! If this experiment succeeds, it will prove that Dubai’s role in the global financial market will be more intricate and long-lasting than it was in its oil era. More in-depth analysis from the experts - which I’m not! - of this promising development can be found here.
As we’re talking about Dubai’s thriving creativity, let’s have a look at some of the fairs which have taken place in the city lately, all established by the Art Dubai Group under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice Chairman of Dubai’s Culture & Arts Authority. First comes ART DUBAI, an international meeting point which unveils emerging and prominent artists from the Middle East, North Africa and Central and South Asia - the 10th edition of which will be held from 16 to 19 March 2016, to coincide with DESIGN DAYS DUBAI, a fair dedicated to collectible and limited edition furniture and design objects that turns four next year (14-18 March 2016). Then there’s the Middle East’s Trade Fair DOWNTOWN DESIGN DUBAI, the third in a row since 2013 - which I had the chance to discover this year between the 27 and 30th October, 2015. With the participation of world-famous brands such as Bolon, Kartell, Kvadrat, Herman Miller, Minotti, Moroso, The Rug Company and Lasvit, DOWNTOWN DESIGN “represents a crucial link in the region’s design ecosystem”, according to its newly-appointed Director Rue Kothari. Also taking place between 26 and 31 October 2015, DUBAI DESIGN WEEK (DXBDW) kicked off this year and has become a permanent date during the year in every design aficionado’s global agenda; under the supervision of Cyril Zammit, who is Head of Design at the Art Dubai Group, DXBDW aims to showcase ground-breaking design from the Middle East and beyond through a series of events around the city, as well as inspiring workshops and talks, including the one which I had the privilege to attend by Lebanese award-winning architect Bernard Khoury.
During the inaugural DUBAI DESIGN WEEK (DXBDW) we had the chance to witness local and international designs on the grounds of the “under-construction” Dubai Design District, as well as other locations across the entire emirate, such as universities, organisations, stores and galleries.
Some of the highlights of this citywide event are listed below. They are but a small taste of the vibrant atmosphere and booming potential of DUBAI as an emerging international hub for art and design.
>>> ABWAD (“doors” in Arabic) was a series of six pavilions which were built to celebrate and showcase the work of local designers, studios and curators from six different countries from the MENASA region (Middle East - North Africa - South Asia);integrated into the walkways of the d3 inside were six unique structures/containers designed by Dubai-based LOCI architects, which incorporated an innovative use of a local material, namely sand. The interior of each of these six pavilions was curated by talented locals from Jordan (Arini Creative Platforms), Kuwait (Waleed Shaalan), Pakistan (Salman Jawed), Saudi Arabia (Basma and Noura Bouzo), Tunisia (Chacha Atallah) and the UAE (Mobius Design Studio); all the pavilions were united under “The Element of Play in Culture” theme and the creative direction of Rawan Kashkoush. The “Untitled Swing Project” inside the Jordan pavilion and Tunisia’s “999” three-dimensional puzzle were definitely two of our favourites!
LOCI architects explain their inspiration for the exterior design of the six ABWAD Pavilions.
>>> The world’s first GLOBAL GRAD SHOW was curated by Brendan McGetrick and showcased the next generation of innovation through 50 projects which were organized into six categories (Construction, Health, Home, Memory, Play and Work), touching on themes like “Methods of reducing stress and promoting sleep” or “Life-enhancing applications for bio-responsive technology and behavioural monitoring”. The participating institutions were the following: Eindhoven University of Technology (Eindhoven), ECAL (Lausanne), Hong Kong PolyU (Hong Kong), KAIST (Daejeon), KMD Keio (Kanagawa), MIT (Cambridge, MA), National University Singapore (Singapore), Pratt Institute (New York), Royal College of Art (London) and Tsinghua (Beijing). Three projects definitely stood out in this show: Sik Sa, a cross-cultural dining experience by Olivia Hwayoung from Pratt Institute, Water Reactions by Chao Chen from the Royal College of Art, and the BioMirror by Bin Yu with Alissa van Asseldonk and Nienke Bongers from the Eindhoven University of Technology.
GLOBAL GRAD SHOW: The BioMirror by Bin Yu with Alissa van Asseldonk and Nienke Bongers from the Eindhoven University of Technology.
Sik Sa - cross cultural dining experience by Olivia Hwayoung from Pratt Institute.
I looked for projects with qualities that go beyond aesthetics. Design exhibitions often fixate on style alone - a lamp or chair, for instance, that looks beautiful (or just unusual) but doesn't provide a fundamentally different experience or benefit from any other lamp or chair. In the Global Grad Show, many of the exhibits are attempting to apply design to open up new possibilities or to meet currently unmet needs and desires.
GLOBAL GRAD SHOW: Water Reactions by Chao Chen from the Royal College of Art.
>>> Curated by Cyril Zammit, 12 site-specific sculptural works transformed the city, from the Dubai Design District and the Al Fahidi Historical District to Meraas Beach, many of these installations will remain in place permanently, acting as urban landmarks for the Dubai of the future. Some of our favourites were the following: The LOVE PROJECT by award-winning Brazilian architect Guto Requena in collaboration with D3, which captures the emotions people feel when relating personal love stories and transforms them into three-dimensional mandalas that can then be 3-D printed. The FRAGMENTS OF ‘NOW’ – REFLECTIONS OF THE IMMEDIATE PAST installation by Yohei Iwaki, co-founder of Tokyo’s TWOTONE INC, where viewers can exploretheir connection to the present moment through a series of screens acting as mirrors. The SOUNDWEAVING installation by textile designer Zsanett Szirmay and musical composer Bálint Tárkány-Kovács, which turned traditional Hungarian embroidery into music. The DETRITUS WALL by Iraqi architect Ali Al-Sammarraie, which redefined our perception of waste. The DECONSTRUCTING ZONE by Brazilian designer Henrique Stabile presented by Coletivo Amor de Madre, an area featuring a series of furniture pieces that can be manipulated to create different final products. The YAROOF installation by Dubai-based designer Aljoud Lootah, a geometric piece with a structure and components inspired by the traditional shore-fishing technique of the same name, which uses beach seine netting made of strong mesh. The EARTH HIVES by Emirati conceptual artist Latifa Saeed and Syrian artist Talin Hazbar, a re-examination of the potter’s craft within the region, redefining the context of terracotta and human interaction with it. The SCAFFOLDING/ TRUSS.T by Arab conceptual artist Zeinab Al Hashemi, an installation inspired by boat sails, and finally, the THINGS [EXTRA] ORDINARY collaboration between the regional lifestyle label s*uce & Paige Smith who created a series of pop-up urban interventions that elevate everyday objects into design pieces in places where you’d least expect them!
"Love Stories shaping everyday objects", a video which explains the LOVE PROJECT by ESTUDIO GUTO REQUENA in collaboration with D3.
Project by: Guto Requena
Estudio Guto Requena Development Team: Mariana Schetini, Vitor Reis and Victor Sardenberg
D3 Development Team: Edson Pavoni , Creative Director, with Diego Spinola, Luka Brajovic, Luiz Gustavo Zanotello
Support: 3D printing partner for the final 3 pieces: Anacom
Real time 3D printing Installation partner: Akad
Costume design: João Pimenta
SOUNDWEAVING 2014 / melodies 07-11.
>>> The unique cultural exchange of 18 innovative talents as seen in six other global Design Weeks under the title of DESTINATION, a showcase of Chinese, Finnish, Turkish, Australian, Mexican and American products by local designers. Participants included the design weeks of Beijing (Benwu Studio, Zaozuo, EOQ), Helsinki (Nikari, Saas, Johanna Gullichsen), Istanbul (Halit Berker, Day Studio, Escape from Sofa), Melbourne (Christopher Boots, André Hnatojko, Ben-Tovim Design), Mexico City (Ediciones Jalapa, Tributo, LCMX,) and San Francisco (Lumio, Council Design, Galanter & Jones).
>>> The first in a new annual series of ICONIC CITY exhibitions, “Brilliant Beirut”, curated and designed by Beirut-born and -based designer Rana Salam, traced the development of Lebanon’s design scene from the 1950s to the present day. The exhibition straddles architecture, education, graphic design, fashion, furniture and cultural trends (a comprehensive review of the exhibition will be featured on Yatzer.com this week).