DXBDW: Design in Dubai

Designers, artists and architects created 12 installations for the inaugural Dubai Design Week to put the city on the map as a global design destination. Dubai-based designer Aljoud Lootah drew inspiration from nets used by local fishermen for centuries to create Yarooof (above).


A memorial for the 45 UAE soldiers who recently lost their lives in Yemen, Khalid Shafar’s Win Victory Love comprised 45 stools that are made from American cherry and soft maple in collaboration with the American Hardwood Export council.


Anjali Srinivasan was building Untitled (Archway) in real time throughout Dubai Design Week using just web-like glass filaments, resulting in what she described as “an ephemeral transparent arch.”


Estúdio Guto Requena invited visitors to tell their most enduring love story to a recording device in a screened off area. The audio data was then translated (but not recorded) into instructions for a 3D-printer, out of which appeared one-off mandalas – spiritual and ritual symbols that represent the universe in Indian religions, and in this case represented each visitor’s unique love story, and created The Love project.


Dubai-based architect Raudha Al Ghurair created Lot 36587 as part of a body of work that explores “objects in space and containment”. As a site specific installation, it blurs the boundaries between “the container and the contained; installation piece and architecture; and sculpture and science”.


Zsanett Szirmay and Bálint Tárkány-Kovács have turned fabric into music, by transferring folk embroidery patterns onto bespoke punch card strips created for a music box, translating the traditional motifs into sound in their Sound Weave installation at shared workspace Tashkeel.


Yohei Iwaki’s Fragments of Now looks like a series of mirrors in a dressing room at first glance. It is in fact six film feeds – the center one is on real time, to its left the next one has a five second delay, to its right a ten second delay, to the far left a fifteen second delay, and so on. The experience is intended to make visitors hyper-aware of their every move.


Latifa Saeed and Talin Hazbar’s Earth Hives comprised 575 terracotta spheres in a water feature in Dubai’s ‘The Beach’ area, created to celebrate and preserve local craftsmanship. “We firmly believe that sustaining the Emirati identity and culture is our duty as designers,” said the designers.


Ali Al-Sammarraie’s Detritus Wall is made from waste materials, designed to “redefine our perceptions, taking what is inherently deemed to be useless and ugly, and reutilizing it to create an object that portrays sustainability and allure,” says the designer.


Luz by UAE-based architect Bahar Al Bahar and Syrian architect and artist Sawsan Al Bahar is a solidified interpretation of the geometry of the Muqarnas – a form of ornamented vaulting found in Middle Eastern architecture.


“When you move the projected lines move with you and it creates those beautiful rippling moray patterns, so the project is really about experience, about interaction, about perception, and we’re very keenly interested in those things,” said Cristobal Mendoza of Notional Field, his collaboration with Annica Cuppetelli.


Deconstruction Zone by Henrique Stabile is a radical new form of flat pack furniture in which a large sheet, containing all the flat pieces that combine to make three-dimensional furniture, becomes a perforated room divider once the furniture pieces have been popped out – an almost zero-waste product.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven journalist, author and, podcaster championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. She is also the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a program and membership community for designer-makers who want to join the circular economy. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.