A journey of self discovery

Underlining Dubai’s strategic position as a bridge between Europe and Asia, design days dubai saw 22 galleries from countries such as Korea, Brazil, Lebanon and the UAE, display collectible and limited-edition furniture and objects of exceptional quality, ranging from prototypes to 20th Century classics.

Design Days Dubai is the first fair in the Middle East and South Asia region dedicated to collectible and limited-edition design. It featured more than 400 rare design masterpieces and was a huge hit with interior designers and architects alike.

From Dominic Harris’s Ice Angel, an interactive work that gives visitors electronic wings to artist Najla El Zein’s ‘6302 spoons’ at smogallery (Beirut) and a chandelier using Dandelion seed heads by Lonneke Gordijn & Ralph Nauta at Carpenters Workshop (UK/France) there was enough to entice everyone.

Other highlights included; The Fragmented Clock by Nada Debs for Carwan Gallery (Beirut) and Return to Nature, a chair made from pine cones by artist Jaehyo Lee for Croft in Korea.

“The open format of Design Days Dubai helped make design accessible and more understandable, even to those who are completely new to design,” said Salem Al-Qassimi, founder Fikra Design Studio. “By offering direct access to designers, collectors, and gallerists it encouraged people to have conversations and ask questions, allowing for a discussion and debate.

Thanks to this event, it taught people about the future of design in the UAE as well as the wider Middle East.” The event was organised in partnership with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), The Address Hotels + Resorts, and design patrons Audi and Van Cleef & Arpels. It also coincided with the contemporary art fair Art Dubai, and was an integral part of Art Week.

Each day of the fair were workshops that gave local designers an opportunity to integrate with some of the world’s designers such as The Khatt Foundation in its Arabic lettering and product design and Korean designer, Kwangho Lee, who demonstrated camel leather weaving.

Other features included a creative weather station by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur named “Tomorrow is another Day” and Dutch design studio, Drift, with its exhibition Shylight based on lamps that open and close like a flower to attract bees.

Mark Marin of Mark Marin Design said the overall standard at Design Days Dubai was surprisingly high with a lot of interesting work which broke new ground for Dubai.

“The highlights were seeing original classic pieces of design by the great architects Mies van der Rohe and Oscar Neimeyer – both chaises,” he said.

“The 70s marble ‘Eros’ table series by Italian architect Angelo Mangiarotti and pieces by Ron Arad. Gallery Nilufar also stood out with some beautifully crafted pieces including a sinuous bed and tables in timber by Irish craftsman Joseph Walsh.”

“We wanted to spark the curiosity of our visitors and support emerging designers through a rich programme that covered the fundamentals of visual art, with mentoring and the transmission of on-the-job skills from leading names in the business,” said Cyril Zammit, fair director, Design Days Dubai.

The fair was held at an Emaar pavilion, Downtown Dubai (March 18-21).

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