At Design Days Dubai 2015, established international designers like Zaha Hadid and Nada Debs and emerging talents from Lebanon, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates showed how women are shaping Middle East design. Their work showed also how design, architecture and craft can both represent the values of the modern Arab women but also look after the millenary tradition of arabic culture.
“Someone has told me that the best way to preserve culture and tradition is to modernise it”. Latifa Saeed wove palm trees leaves to give life to mobile creatures. The collection of children toys includes a walking crab, a levitating takes and fan taking inspiration by the designer childhood memories.
Latifa focused on the values of local craftsmanship and materials but added contemporary technologies and design like laser cutting and kinetic mechanisms. “Of course appreciate my culture and tradition but I want to update it and make it relevant”
The project was presented by Tashkeel, a contemporary art organisation based in Dubai committed to facilitating art and design practice, creative experimentation and cross-cultural dialogue.
Zaha Hadid presented the VorteXX pending lamp for Zumtobel. In Dubai, the Iraqi born British architect showcased at David Gill’s her famous Liquid Glacial coffee table that represents her typical flowing, almost liquid design able to shape and restructure space.
Born in Lebanon and brought up in Japan, established designer Nada Debs returned to her homeland to found the EAST & EAST design company and a internationally renown gallery for modern Middle Eastern furniture. At Design Days Dubai the designer celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Nada Debs gallery and presented a sinuous seating collection that meshes arabesque patterns with Japanese style.
Nisreen and Nermeen Abu-Dail, presented a bespoke Jordan embroidery design that meshes tradition and craft with contemporary materials like corian, copper and leather thread. The project was produced with the help of the women’s community within the Palestinian refugee camp in Amman. Read more on Archipanic.
Shamsa Alabbar’s calligraphic jewellery combines traditional Arabic typography with contemporary and minimal graphic designs. ““This project is inspired by the contemporary arab woman: modern, minimal but still embracing her arab roots and traditions” says Shamsa. Read more on Archipanic.
Lebanese design platform House of Today showcased the Sensorial brushes by Najla El Zein Workspace studio: an unconventional set of pleasure tools made with eyelashes and feathers and gold nails. Read more on Archipanic.
Dubai-based designer Aljoud Looutah created the Oru Series, a design collection in teak, copper and felt inspired by origami tradition. Read more on Archipanic.