Dubai 2019 – Dubai is a globalized metropolis very much projected into the future. At Downtown Design 2019, the Middle East leading fair on show during Dubai Design Week, we have picked eclectic furniture exhibitions and furniture designs by the new generation of local creatives re-thinking the region’s cultural and architectural heritage with a contemporary twist.
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Curated by Ghassan Salameh, the product-focused MADAR exhibition sheds a light on the current state of regional design and presents new works and innovations from emerging and established designers. Here, Beirut-based company BlockSfinj showcases a recyclable collection of squishy and sustainable geometrical blocks which look like they’re made of quarried marble but have actually been carved from manufactured polyurethane foam.
Palm weaved contemporary designs
Jawaher Alkhayyal is a contemporary product and interior designer based in Sharjah, UAE. For her debut at Downtown Design 2019, she launches the Sarab collection of hand-crafted furniture, celebrating the traditional Emirati craft of palm frond weaving. Each piece has been designed to reimagine the functionality and aesthetics of locally sourced materials and craftsmanship.
Bedouin tents-inspired screen by Yara Habib
Lebanese graphic designer and emerging product designer Yara Habib presents Katta, a screen with rotating elements that invites the user to decide how much to reveal or conceal. Inspired by the Bedouin tent’s divider, the design is a tribute to the UAE’s tolerance that traces its roots back to dialogues that occurred inside the tents. Yara showcases her work at the exhibition by Tashkeel platform. Watch the video interview.
Binchy and Binchy, launches ten new tables heavily inspired by architecture at Downtown Editions. The Dubai based design studio challenges themselves to determine a design language that is truly Emirati. For their Tribute Table, they explore local aesthetic languages of massing, decoration and mashribiya screens, an architectural element which is characteristic of Arabic residences. The tabletop uses the same pattern as the screen design for one of their villa projects, scaleddown, which is based on Sadu weaving.
Lighting design inspired by shapeshifting dunes
Abdalla Almulla presents Traces of Time, a light work inspired by sand dunes which mimic their formation and portray the passage of time. The lighting designallows the user to experience this natural phenomenon through the passage of time and movement of light. A built-in timer moves light across 6 acrylic dune silhouettes, gradually illuminating each of the profiles as the day progresses, using two different colours of light to represent day and night. As the light moves, it brightens each numeral positioned in front of the profiles to indicate the current time. Watch the video interview.
Rethinking traditional wooden chests
Emirati designer Aljoud Lootah launches Mudeemm a collection of hand-crafted storage boxes inspiredb y the traditional Mandoos wooden chests, introduced in an innovative way, to celebrate the deep-rooted values of our cultureand heritage.
Contemporary designs by craftswomen from Sharjah
UAE Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council exhibition takes cues from the desert landscape winding forms and beige hues, presenting a range of designs made form birch plywood, camel leather and metals. Irthi is made up of a group of traditional craftswomen from Sharjah, using traditional methods and combining them with international mentors to make contemporary pieces.