Dubai’s first Design Week, 26 – 31 October 2015, will be an annual citywide event which aims to place Dubai on the map as the emerging design capital of the world.
Established by Art Dubai Group in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) and supported by Dubai Design and Fashion Council and, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Dubai Design Week represents a key milestone in the Emirate’s journey towards achieving global recognition as a leading design hub.
A global meeting place for design this October, Dubai Design Week announces two key initiatives: ‘Abwab’, a showcase of emerging and established talent from six different countries in the MENASA region; and ‘Destination’, a showcase of innovative new talents from six global design weeks.
INTRODUCING: ‘ABWAB’ AT DUBAI DESIGN WEEK
A major initiative within the inaugural Dubai Design Week (26-31 October), Abwab is a series of six pavilions built to celebrate and showcase the work of the most exciting designers, studios and curators from six different countries in the MENASA region.
• Jordan • Kuwait • Pakistan • Saudi Arabia • Tunisia • UAE
‘Abwab’, which means ‘doors’ in Arabic, is a unique initiative that will act as a direct portal onto the region’s local design talent. A curator from each participating country has been elected to lead the designers to work individually or collectively and generate never before-seen design content under one unifying theme, this year being - Games: The Element of Play in Culture. Designers are invited to investigate the games of their countries and how the tools and rules of a place might be understood through its more playful activities.
Across the six purpose-built environments, Abwab will give the designers the opportunity to represent their country’s aesthetic, and in doing so to further define the increasingly rich design language of the region. Abwab will encourage and enable designers to make new connections with other professionals and influencers within the region while also providing them with an entry point to an international marketplace.
Rawan Kashkoush, Creative Director of Abwab, comments: “In a relatively new city like Dubai, there are few trodden paths for designers. Nurturing a homegrown industry – and supporting that throughout region - means creating opportunities for emerging talent.
“Creativity, art and design act as vehicles for movement, as license to communicate without words. Being a part of this growing design community grants access to the thinkers and makers of the region: design is a passport, design has been my passport.”
Integrated into the walkways and open areas of Dubai Design District (d3), the six 50 square metre pavilions have been designed by UAE-based firm, Loci Architecture + Design, to be identical in size and shape, acting as capsules to house each country equally and for visitors to immerse themselves totally in the worlds within.
In order to contextualize the pavilions, the skins are composed of sand, an abundant yet underused local material adapted to perform as intelligent climate control and a veil between the exhibit and audiences before entry. Loci has adopted new techniques and modelling real- size mock-ups to achieve the end results.
Hamad Khoory, Partner at Loci Architecture + Design says: “The greatest challenge for us, was how to design a pavilion that suited our aesthetics both from the inside and outside without affecting the curations of the interior. We selected sand as the structure’s core material; a playful material in the way it moves, accumulates, shifts and the endless interactions we had with it growing up.”
Mobius Design Studio (UAE) is a Dubai-based trio of visual communication designers whose approach spans a wide range of design disciplines, from experimenting with kinetic typography to Design House, a curated space of non-commercial design created for Dubai’s Sikka Art Fair.
Waleed Shaalan (Kuwait) is a multidisciplinary architect, artist and storyteller, who is not only the recipient of a series of awards, but has worked with a number of design firms from Perkins and Will in Chicago to SSH Design in Kuwait and has collaborated with esteemed organisations including Atelier Jean Nouvel and Cloud 9 Barcelona.
Salman Jawed (Pakistan) melds new ideas with local materials to create a hybrid of past and present. Leading the way in industrial design in his native country, Jawed is the co-founder of Karachi-based studio, Coalesce.
Arini Creative Platforms (Jordan) is a creative platform that promotes learning in the fields of design, architecture and urbanism. Founded by a trio of architects, the programme endeavours to expand the boundaries of architecture and urbanism through projects and publications.
Basma and Noura Bouzo (Saudi Arabia) are sisters, who between them have helped grow the Saudi art and design scene with their magazine Oasis and the launch of the Saudi Design Week.
Chacha Atallah (Tunisia) showcases her scrupulous eye for detail, which is evident in her collections from ceramic stoneware to furniture build with Tunisian artisans. The founder of architectural firm, Fleury Attalah, she trained in Japan at practices including Shigeru Ban and Kengo Kuma.
INTRODUCING: ‘DESTINATION’ AT DUBAI DESIGN WEEK
The launch of Dubai Design Week (26–31 October) is not only set to celebrate and showcase the most exciting emerging designers and studios operating in the Middle East, it will also champion the work of pioneering young design brands from six other fledgling design-week cities around the world:
• Beijing • Helsinki • Istanbul • Melbourne • Mexico City • San Francisco
Each participating city presents a co-curated collection of three of their leading young brands, thus giving them the opportunity to present their creativity and craftsmanship to the buyers, designers and visitors attending the event. Entitled ‘Destination’, this unique cultural design exchange is intended to highlight Dubai’s role as a global design hub, and to provide an entry point into the worldwide design scene for both the local and international talents of tomorrow.
‘Destination’ has been set up to provide a commercial platform for promoting young design brands and will enable them to connect with the region's trade professionals and influencers. Established in cooperation with trade fair and Design Week centrepiece Downtown Design, Destination will play a key part in Dubai Design Week’s mission to provide a commercial platform for smaller, creative design brands from all over the world.
Rue Kothari, Fair Director of Downtown Design said: “We are thrilled to present these 18 emerging international brands at Downtown Design in Dubai. They each represent the spirit of their city; showcasing lighting, furniture and textiles, expressed with indigenous materials, traditional craftsmanship, innovative technology and a strong contemporary aesthetic that will both broaden the diversity of the fair, and provide a breath of inspiration for all visitors.”
Not only does ‘Destination’ provide a showcase for partner design weeks in the Middle East but the arrangement is also reciprocal. Dubai will Guest City at Beijing Design Week 2015 in September.
Beijing Design Week presents characteristically playful work from the Shanghai- and New York-based Benwu Studio, alongside contemporary furniture by Zao Zuo and imaginative industrial products from EOQ.
Helsinki Design Week brings the sustainable wooden furniture of Nikari to Dubai, as well as evocative lighting designs from Saas and Johanna Gullichsen’s remarkable reinterpretations of traditional Finnish textile patterns.
Istanbul Design Week contributes bold wooden furniture from Halit Berker; crafted objects in natural materials from Day Studio, plus an insight into the welcoming modern interior spaces that Escape from Sofa’s furniture can create
Melbourne International Design Week introduces Dubai to the bespoke, handcrafted lighting of Christopher Boots, the strong and simple lamps of André Hnatojko, and the lighting and furniture of Jonathan Ben Tovin, who is unveiling a new work exclusively for Dubai Design Week.
Mexico City’s Albierto de Diseno is represented by Ediciones Jalapa, who have created a collection of objects reinterpreted through artisanal traditions across Mexico; home wares, accessories and soft furnishings that merge heritage and modernity from Tributo; and furniture and lighting from LCMX, a Mexico City architecture and design studio specialising in solid wood.
San Francisco Design Week exhibits lighting for small spaces from architect-founded, crowdfunded company Hello Lumio, collaboratively crafted furniture from Council Design and luxuriously comfortable outdoor seating from Galanter & Jones.
For more information, visit: www.dubaidesignweek.ae
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