Traditional UAE crafts intertwined with 3D printing technology are what to expect when Syrian fashion designer Rami Al Ali joins hands with Barcelona-based architect Carmelo Zappulla. The two have come together for Expo 2020 Dubai’s Design and Crafts Programme Menasa, an Emirati Design Platform to tell a story through an exclusive window installation at the event.
Mainly inspired by nature and Emirati heritage, the installation portrays the evolution of traditional crafts in a modern way. The Dubai-based designer worked with four main materials adapted locally by Emirati culture and the city’s contemporary design scene. This includes Talli, intricate patches of embroidery made of different colors and geometric patterns, Al Sadu, a traditional form of weaving, fishing nets made from cotton, palm fronds, which were used for weaving, and branches and flowers to reflect Al Ali’s couture line.
All of these materials were hand-embroidered, experimented with different textures, colors, and malleability, After 375 hours of creation, and 1520 meters of materials, the designer was able to add depth and color to the contemporary model that Zappulla assembled. The designer is also offering hand-crafted limited edition commemorative boxes, made from white wood and maranti, in three designs in shades of gold, bronze, and beige. The boxes will be available to purchase at the Menasa Boutique located at the Rove Hotel.
Zappulla relied on the technology of 3D printing, to create an installation that is not only visually pleasing but also tells the story of a future that is nature-centric. He is the executive director and founder of the international studio for External Reference, an award-winning studio that focuses on architecture, interior design, exhibition design, and urban design. This project is among several others he has worked on an international scale, including the exhibition design of the Spanish pavilion in the 2012 Yeosu Expo in South Korea.
The window installation and limited edition boxes will be on exhibit for the duration of Expo 2020, from October 2021 to March 2022.