Design Days Dubai is the first collectible contemporary design fair in the Middle East and Asia. The show kicked off on Monday and runs through tomorrow. Forty-four of the world’s most progressively minded exhibitors and forces of design from 20 countries have filled the exhibition hall with a ritzy mix of limited edition and one-off furnishings. This includes products by established and emerging designers, which are shown side-by-side at The Venue, an exhibition space built specifically for this event situated near the base of Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai. This is my third post featuring furniture from the fair, the foursome of cheeky chairs wrapping up a survey of seriously avant-garde products from madcap cabinets to tempestuous tables. The scintillating seating will no doubt prove we’re sitting squarely in the 21st century.
Zhang Zhoujie created the Bow Tie Chair (2014) that leads this post. Made of faceted folds of brass, it is nothing short of space-aged artistry at its best. The designer’s furniture is being shown in the Gallery ALL booth during the fair—a fabulous move for the gallery, I might add, since Zhoujie is one designer to watch. He was awarded Elle Decoration’s Young Designer of the Year award in 2012 and has been an avant-garde influence on the product development scene since: even a quick look at the press he’s received from top publications around the world (shown on the previous link) bears this out. One of the first design galleries in China that dedicates its exhibition spaces to limited-edition furniture and design objects, Gallery ALL was founded in 2013. Though launched in Beijing, it didn’t take the owners long to add a Los Angeles locale to its spaces so they could amass 7,700-square-feet of space to host a rotating program of large-scale exhibitions, events and presentations from an international cadre of artists.
Cities introduced the Chaise longue to the #DDD15 crowds. Made of burnished steel, oak and leather, the long, lean chaise was created by Atelier Rouge Cerise, a design duo of blacksmiths named Olivier and Jean-Benoit Biscarrat. The fact Cities has such a refined product within their booth is no surprise given that the gallery’s vision has been to introduce exceptionally crafted contemporary design and art since opening in 2006 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It wasn’t long before the progressive brand opened a second showroom in Dubai, and today, Cities has morphed into a concept space aimed at taking clients on a journey through the design landscape of the world. Sourced from points around the globe, every piece within the Cities collection is handpicked from the most visionary international and Middle Eastern talents. Cities also works hand-in-hand with many upcoming artists from the Middle East and the Gulf regions to develop audiences for their products, exposing their contributions in the fields of art and design to a larger number of potential fans.
Nakkash Gallery created an organically surreal vibe in their booth by filling it with natural connotations of edgy furniture by Portuguese designer Jorge Moura. Bench, by the designer, is made of upholstered fabric and metal (2011). Known for preferring effortless style and elegance, Nakkash Gallery offers an array of collectible yet affordable limited edition art pieces, furniture and accessories suitable for all spaces. Interior architect Wajih Nakkash founded the gallery in 1983, which is headquartered in Dubai. The owner has a penchant for mixing a diverse range of objects to produce environments that unite the contemporary and classic in subtle ways. Moura’s sources of inspiration are eclectic even while each piece he creates has a rigorous aesthetic thread running through it, one that links all of his passions—from architecture and fashion to travel, nature and art.
Among the special projects at the 2015 Design Days Dubai is World Design Capital Taipei 2016, which features the Bubble Chair by Yu Jui Chou, made of woven bamboo (but in a way you’ve likely never seen before). The retrospective of Taiwanese design showcases many young designers whose sole focus is to renew the imaginative currency in their worlds and beyond. Coming on the heels of its Cape Town location last year, the Taipei installment of World Design Capital (WDC), which takes place biennially, is being called “Adaptive City—Design in Motion.” It will hold sway in Taipei’s core during the 2016 iteration of World Design Capital event. The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), which organizes the event, just announced that the selection committee for the 2018 WDC has been formed so stay tuned for news as to where it’s heading after Taipei.
That’s a wrap of Productrazzi’s glimpse at #DDD15. I hope you enjoyed the ride and the vibe. I certainly did. I’d like to say congratulations to the young designers whose products are being shown for the first time—you are the future of design and I can’t wait to see where your point of view takes us all in the years to come!
Text of Design Days Dubai Sitting Ritzy © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here and Stranded on the Road to Promise. Saxon is also the co-founder of Sharktooth Press. She also produces The Diary of an Improvateur and is a columnist on Architizer.