Aezad Muzaffar Alam is a name you will want to remember. Seemingly just at the start of what will be a distinguished career, the Pakistani architect has recently been named the winner of the Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East Emergent Designer Prize 2020.
The Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East Emergent Designer Prize returned this year for its seventh edition, continuing its commitment to showcasing and nurturing the most promising designers from across the GCC. Through its partnership with UAE-based visual art and design organization, Tashkeel, the French high jewelry maison Van Cleef & Arpels offers regional designers a platform to present their work on an international level. Established in 2013, the Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East Emergent Designer Prize invites participating designers to create spectacular pieces that follow an annual theme.
This year’s theme was Flora, a concept which Alam’s creation embodied perfectly. The architect captured the harmony and symmetry of nature, harnessing floral elements to create his masterpiece titled, ‘Fragments of the desert garden’. His abstract creations reflected a petal-shaped design which were entwined together, highlighting the importance of assemblage and support, as opposed to a singular structure. The masterful design of the lounge chair, made from wood and rattan, exhibits historic features of decorative art paired with the simplicity of the structure, in what Van Cleef & Arpels calls a “new age hybrid design”.
“Drawing upon the decorative ornamentation of Arabic architectural motifs, my design of a lounge chair aims to fuse functionality with rhythmic aesthetics found in nature,” Alam said when speaking about the inspirations for his pieces. “I use design as a tool to challenge and innovate at a time when everything seems to have been tried, and artistic flair is all too often compromised,” added the 2016 Sheika Manal Young Artist Awards’ Young Artist of the Year.
The pieces showcased for the award were evaluated by a respected panel of jury members, comprising of individuals from Van Cleef & Arpels, Tashkeel, and the Dubai Insitute of Design and Innovation (DiDi), including award-winning landscape designer Kamelia Zaal and architect and designer Fadi Sarieddine. The jury panel assesses each designer’s finished creations, as well as their commitment and dedication to their initial design proposals.
“The seventh edition of the Prize received submissions from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE. Each year, the quality of submissions rises and 2020 was no exception, exemplifying the high level of design skill, aptitude, and innovation thriving among emerging practitioners across the Arabian Gulf,” said Lisa Ball-Lachgar, Deputy Director of Tashkeel. “After a great deal of deliberation and discussion, the jury selected Aezad Muzaffar Alam as the worthy winner. Intricately designed and rigorously explored, Fragments of the desert garden is a hybrid design that elegantly captures this year’s theme of flora through the symbiosis of Arabic ornamentation and the rhythmic aesthetics of nature,” she added.
As the winner of the Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East Emergent Designer Prize 2020, Alam has been given the opportunity to visit and study in Paris, with a one week trip to L’Ecole School of Jewelry Arts, supported by Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as being awarded AED30,000 to cover the costs of the materials and production of his design piece.
Alam’s winning masterpiece, ‘Fragments of the desert garden’ will be showcased at the Les Salons Van Cleef & Arpels Dubai Opera boutique.