As one of the pillars of Art Week – the annual cultural program in March that signals the beginning of the New Year for the UAE’s creative community – Design Days Dubai has established a reputation for bringing some of the biggest names in collectible design to the Middle East. Vogue Arabia’s design contributor, Pratyush Sarup, highlights the exceptional works that set the new gold standard for innovation in design.
Since its inaugural edition in 2012, the fair has consistently raised the bar for makers and lovers of design with its tightly curated presentation of rare, museum-worthy creations.
This year, the fair presents 50 leading international and regional galleries, representing 39 countries and seminal works of more than 125 designers, each with an established history of informing museum collections and the clued-in aesthete.
Remix by Brodie Neill
Australian-born Brodie Neill cut his teeth at Rhode Island School of Design, where he harnessed the potential of computer-aided design. The London-based designer presents Remix, a multicolored, low chaise longue derived from layers of reclaimed plastic and wood laminated together and contoured by a five-axis CNC cutter.
Shamsian Nizwa Cabinet by Bethan Gray
Inspired by traditional Omani architectural elements and in collaboration with the Iran-born, Muscat-based artist Mohamed Reza Shamsian, the cabinet’s distinct ombré was created by hand with a technique called stain shading. A solid brass overlay recalls the beauty of repetition often found in Islamic geometries.
Hurricane Mirror by Fredrikson Stallard
Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard’s works have been acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, twice by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and shown at MoMA and the Museum of Art and Design in New York. The abstract Hurricane Mirror from the duo’s Crush collection is hand-created in mirror-polished aluminium to distort and reflect its surroundings.
Fin Chandelier by Nader Gammas
With a keen eye for geometry and the knack art of illumination, Dubai-based creative Nader Gammas presents the Fin Chandelier. The real worth of this antique bulb statement piece in patina brass is in its ability to reconfigure its size, shape and reflector fins to the wishes of the most exacting clientele.
Crescere by Molly Hatch
Hatch’s love for drawing lends itself effortlessly to quirky pen-and-ink doodles and as the white and gold plate installation suggests, to idiosyncratic ceramics, too. A composition of 37 earthenware hand-painted plates, the glazed surface presents itself as a fragmented canvas for Hatch’s delicate re-rendering inspired by an early 13th-century Islamic plate on view at the Metropolitan Museum.
Stellar Console by Jake Phipps
Naturally forming amethyst geodes and machine-cut diamonds inform Jake Phipp’s precious work that plays on reflection, refraction and the magical quality of light. Large reflective surfaces pose a striking contrast to the river of individually sized and angled mirrored sections running through the work.
Primary Fluorescence by OS & OOS
A symphony of the primary forms, the table lamp by duo Oskar Peet and Sophie Mensen, both graduates of the Design Academy Eindhoven in The Netherlands, plays on purity of form and purpose. The concrete base was formed in layers, using the lost wax method to allow the designers to thread the fluorescent ring through it.
Loop by Rand Abdul Jabbar
Rand Abdul Jabbar’s work is often infused with cultural resonances as she borrows from and transforms the context of place, history and heritage. Juxtaposing the rigid with tensile, the pure form with one that is responsive, this playful seating object further explores the designer’s fascination with materiality.
Beauty by Akya Design
Dedicated to the art of hand-knotted rugs, Akya Design was born from the efforts of award-winning interior designer K. Michelle Evans, who was always in search of rugs that were as rooted in tradition as they were progressive and edgy. Beauty is best described as floor art meant for the walls.
Sonuslexica by Apical Reform
This installation by the progressive studio from India pays homage to Dubai’s ascent on the world stage. The root is composed of digitally crafted wooden totems – the profile of each totem purely representing the soundwaves of the words Harmony, Peace and Growth extracted from recordings submitted by Dubai dwellers. A stylized Dubai skyline rises above as the work underscores the noble values as the foundation of all great civilizations.
The sixth edition of Design Days Dubai takes place at Dubai Design District. The fair concludes at 7pm on Friday, March 17.