Held under the patronage of HH Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Dubai Design Week is the largest creative festival in the Middle East. The six-day programme is made up of events covering a range of design disciplines including architecture, product, furniture, interior and graphic design.
Every year, leading designers and artists wait eagerly to witness creative communities from all over the world to collaborate, interact and develop. This year, especially, saw an increase in international designers from 350 in 2015 to 560, including some high-profile names like Christian Louboutin. We’ve also seen a rise in local designers from 70 last year to 180, reinforcing Dubai’s status as an incubator for creativity and innovation.
With Dubai Design Week well behind us, we reminisce with a roundup of installations that left us in awe this season, and the ones we silently hope will stay on in Dubai Design District.
1. Barjeel by MAS Architecture
Modelled on the characteristic wind towers in Bastakiya, Dubai, Barjeel invokes architectural realism with pure functionality and symbolism. As you walk through this towering marvel, it becomes obvious that the structure is constructed from recycled materials like cardboard and strip lighting, also making it sustainable and functional.
2. Umbra by Tinkah and Finsa
A popular hit at the fair this year, Umbra symbolises traditional Middle Eastern architecture and the traditional “mashrabiya” brickwork that was used as a form of ventilation in courtyard houses. Throughout the day, the colourful architectural grids use light as a form of play to engage with visitors and create a sense of warmth as you walk through the gateway.
3. Qissa Ghar by The Busride Design Studio
One of the Abwab pavilions by India, Qissa Ghar invokes a sense of nostalgia, especially among Indians who’ve lived away from their homes for decades. The pavilion, designed by the Goa-based studio, presents stories and myths that have been collectively gathered, and retells them through a series of Mughal-inspired tesselations created with khadi fabric lamps - a cotton fiber material that originates from India. Among the labyrinth of these lamps, made with stained glass and wood carving, lie motifs that seek to bring together dreams, memories and childhood stories within one interactive space.
4. The Maze by Nyxo Design
An interactive installation, the Maze is designed with the user in mind, making it a fun experience to engage with. Created with metal components that rotate and change in configuration, allowing each user to transform it into a 3D dynamic puzzle, for the following person to solve.
5. WAL(L)TZ by T Sakhi Architects
A little bit of satire goes a long way in creating an impression, and Tessa and Tara Sakhi have accurately captured this year’s theme - learning - in this ABWAB pavilion. When you enter the pavilion, you’re immediately transported to Lebanon with its socio-political barriers and misinterpretation of religious and cultural beliefs. The pavilion takes you through an interpretation of a wall that comes alive with cracks and loopholes, to overcome barriers and encourage connections between people. It certainly takes you through a psychological journey that makes you realise how limiting walls can be, whether mental or physical.