The art of craft


This issue we explored the status of good craftsmanship in the region and whether or not it’s still a valued profession. Industry experts including Cristina Romelli Gervasoni, Khalid Shafar and Dorian Pauwels expressed their opinions of the traditional art form and agreed that it’s still an industry necessity, and I wholeheartedly agree.

“I believe that there is a sustainable element to maintaining craftsmanship,” explained Gervasoni. “Something that is well designed, handcrafted and built that will stand the test of time ensures a timeless elegance of a product or piece of furniture.”

This past month, I visited the old souk in Al Bastakiya, and it was there that I witnessed a small hub in Dubai that thrives on the quality of good craftsmanship. From Syrian rugs that are meant to withstand the toughest sand storms to porcelain mugs imported from Iran, the products found at Al Bastakiya reflect an older creative tradition that’s still very much alive.


Gervasoni hit the nail on the head when she noted that craftsmanship isn’t solely about the glamour of antiquity; it’s also about sustainability. A product’s ability to endure the test of time is perhaps the most beautiful quality of all.

Good quality craftsmanship leads to products that have not only lived through history, but that have survived it as well.

And while any one of us can stop at Ikea to pick up a new rug, we may have to do the same the following year because what we’re really doing is avoiding dishing out big sums of money in that immediate moment for poorer quality works. But when you pay for well-crafted products, you pay once and receive a lifetime of story-telling, beauty and antiquity.

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