Downtown Design: Dubai Design Week 2018
Posted on November 19 2018
Dubai took the spotlight on the international design stage with the third edition of its annual Design Week programme. See highlights below of their Downtown Design showcase.
Hosting the third edition of its Design Week programme, I had the great privilege of visiting Dubai to experience what the fair had to offer. Showcasing a beautiful curation of local and international design, the week hosted a range of talks, programmes and projects from the design, interiors, art and technology industries. A personal favourite from the week was a section called Downtown Dubai - providing a space for local and international designers to showcase their works. See below highlights from my visit.
Marc Ange 'Le Refuge'
French-Italian designer Marc Ange created a reinterpretation of his renowned 'Le Refuge' installation, seen at design staple shows such as Salone del Mobile during Milan Design Week. The installation created a moment of bliss on the fair's waterfront terrace set on Dubai Creek. The luxurious day bed was created with soft foam cushions on a green marble base, presented with gold-plated palm frond style leaves to create shade, reflecting the glistening desert sun.
Having discovered this wonderful brand earlier in the year during Milan Design Week, I was thrilled to see pieces the show space by Manfredi Style at the fair. The stand was set up and styled by Studio Milo and included a striking backdrop of blue PVC drapery that created an essence of mystery, distorting the forms and reflections of the furniture and lighting behind. Favourites with visitors included the 'Wink' gold plated lighting designs with fringe - a humorous and abstract take on an eye with eyelash detailing. The beautiful, internally illuminated kocohedron chandelier design by Willem Schouten immediately caught the eye with its impressive sculptural beauty. The design was suspended in the centre of the stand for all to see, along with a beautiful mirrored cabinet by Effetto Verto, adorned with sixty beautiful glass diamond tiles.
Always one to attract attention with their innovative and eye-catching works, Czech-based lighting designer Lasvit were on hand to share their exciting new artistic pieces. Guests were captivated by the beautiful 'FLOW' lighting installation - a collaboration with Abal Design Studio, taking inspiration from the beauty of light and water. The piece is composed from various organic shapes, structures and surfaces to create a transition and manipulation of the light, exposing beautiful colours and a depth of texture.
A beautiful play between heritage and contemporary design, New Delhi-based furniture, lighting and jewellery studio stood out with their impressively detailed pieces from their 'Shamanic Soul' collection. The centrepiece to the stand was an the impressive 'gypsy caravan' - an installation featuring blown glass totem pillars, a pipette screen and Art Nouveau lighting designs. Within, the caravan houses a range of products, from lighting to jewellery that takes inspiration from shamanic power symbols such as totems, tigers and eagles.
Local to the area and one of the leading interior design and furniture brands for the region, NAKKASH launched their latest collection - a collaboration between father and son Wajih & Omar Nakkash. The Collection comprises of two parts: the Liberty Window and the Tawazun Collection. The Liberty Window is a statement piece, conceived as an observation on the political, social and economic state of the Middle East. The piece depicts a window frame opening out to the sky, framing four birds flying into the distance. The second collection called 'Tawazun'- the Arabic word for balance. The three designs create a literal balance between the use of materials used and how they present, elegantly feeding 'balancing' off one another.
Preciosa’s 'Breath of Light' installation had to be one of the most photographed installations at the fair and it is easy to see why. The playful and interactive installation was created from a series of clear, opal and frosted crystal bubbles. Visitors were invited to blow or gently breathe into a microphone and watch the installation respond with a movement and flow of light, creating a connection and engagement between strangers exploring the installation.
In only its third year, you cannot help but be impressed by the diverse range of designers and styles showcasing at Downtown Design. This exhibition, paired with an impressive curation of talks and workshops has quickly helped Dubai Design Week establish itself as a staple in the international design calendar. For further information and news on the fair, click to view the official Downtown Design website.