Tashkeel announces 2015 design programme

Woven hammock by Saher Oliver.

Tashkeel selected four UAE-based designers for its 2014-2015 design programme, the second edition of the programme, which is to run until March 2015 with its culmination at Design Days Dubai.

Khalid Mezaina, Tashkeel’s studio coordinator, explains: “This is the second edition of the design programme, part of a long-term initiative that highlights Tashkeel’s commitment to fostering local designers and talents in the UAE.”

He adds: “The whole reason we built the design programme was to create a movement where designers can develop products imbedded with Emirati aesthetics, very innate to the country and promote local talent through the collaboration of designers and local manufacturers.”

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The designers chosen by a panel of internationally-established contemporary design experts include Talin Hazbar, Rand Abdul Jabbar, Saher Samman and Latifa Saeed.

Mezaina says a number of elements were taken into consideration when choosing designers to be part of the 2015 programme.

“Several factors were considered,” he says. “Their integrity with their designs, refinement in their proposals and designs, the maturity and level of their thinking, and, of course, the projects. All the designers are in certain places in their lives and are ready to take the next step in their career—and the programme will help them get to that.”

Talin Hazbar is an Aleppo-born, UAE-raised recipient of various regional and international art awards. The designer is known for exploring structure and the material possibilities of natural resources and plans to work with travertine. Her creative lighting piece ‘Lithic’ will be on display at this year’s Design Days.

Rand Abdul Jabbar is originally Iraqi but has been living in the UAE since 1995, which explains her deeply rooted relationship with the land, people and its customs. “The multi-ethnic backdrop of her upbringing in the UAE has driven a desire and commitment to engage opportunities for dialogue and cultural exchange through a variety of creative processes,” says Mezaina. Abdul Jabbar will showcase a series of furniture including chairs and tables known as Forma this year.

In addition to Hazbar and Abdul Jabbar, Tashkeel is also supporting Saher Oliver Samman and Latifa Saeed. Samman, who is part English and part Palestinian, works with traditional leather design to create bespoke garments and objects. His work ‘Wove’, which identifies with the sadu aesthetic, will be on display.

Saeed, who has participated in Tashkeel’s initiative before, will be collaborating with artisans to create a seating collection made of cushion tubes in the form of braids. Adopting the khoos weaving tradition, Saeed’s designs consist of palm tree leaves.

Mezaina says: “The opportunity to always promote new talent [opens] ourselves into new and different audiences, potential collaborations, create dialogue with people in the industry and other design organisations and entities, and get recognised in an international platform.”

The programme is a joint venture between Tashkeel and UK-based PAL Labs to provide the designers with exclusive opportunities to work alongside established designers and curators through a series of workshops. Throughout the course of the programme, the designers have produced work individually and in group efforts.

The bespoke pieces were showcased during the fourth annual Design Days Dubai, which ran in March 2015.

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