1971 Design Space presents contemporary exhibition “Once upon design”

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Titled “Once Upon Design: New Routes for Arabian Heritage”, the exhibition will take place from March 3- July 2 at the 1971 Design Space in Sharjah.

It presents various new paths taken via traditional elements of heritage from the Arabian Peninsula. Collaborating across the fields of architecture, product and graphic design, a select group of designers have developed seven interactive installations that propose new routes responding to age-old traditions and customs.

Representing an innovative insight into the Gulf contemporary design scene, this exhibition encourages visitors to not only experience the works with their eyes, but also through listening, movement and touch.


“These seven installations go beyond the physical preservation or development of tangible heritage, and focus on advances in customs and oral traditions familiar throughout the Arabian Peninsula and inherited through generations,” says Giuseppe Moscatello, director of Maraya Art Centre and 1971 Design Space.

The 1971 Design Space supports this debut exhibition by Banafsajeel, a homegrown initiative that provides a platform for designers and artists in the Gulf to collaborate, develop and showcase their work.

“Once Upon Design makes clear how social behaviours within the spaces we occupy have been framed through design since the beginning of time, and how that can be enhanced or altered” says Noor Aldabbagh, Banafsajeel Founder and curator of the exhibition.

Designers Ayah Al Bitar and Reem Hantoush (Saudi Arabia & UAE), COdESIGN (UAE &Italy), Diana Hawatmeh (UAE), Latifa Saeed & Talin Hazbar (UAE), LOCI Architecture & Design Studio (UAE), Think Tank Co. (Saudi Arabia), and Studio Mieke Meijer (The Netherlands) all encourage the audience to interact directly with their installations. The Works respond to Arabian traditions and icons by enhancing or altering them: from an incense burner reimagined for the region today, to a deconstructed Majlis around a symbolic bonfire.

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