A glimpse on Design Days Dubai - ahead of its time

Design Days Dubai - ahead of its timeImage Credit: Art Factum Gallery

Imagine coming home to your apartment a decade from now. It's the middle of the week and you've been swamped with deadlines for as long as you can remember. You desperately need to give the house a thorough scrub before your cat chokes on a dust bunny. So you decide to take your glamorous vacuum cleaner, which looks like something out of Kim Kardashian's laundry room, for a spin. The glistening horse head sculpted on to your vacuum cleaner frightens household grime into submission. After an exhausting hour's labour, you throw yourself on a geometric sofa and print yourself a 3D chicken salad.

Welcome to the future of interior design, as exemplified by last month's Design Days Dubai. The event would have made Charles Darwin proud with its sterling display of design evolution. Held at The Venue in Downtown Dubai, under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the event featured artists from all over the globe as well as Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai — a total of 44 exhibitors, representing 150 designers from 20 countries.

Futuristic furniture

The fair was a flamboyant display of conventional and contemporary furniture. Several exhibits looked as if the artists used imagination in its purest medium and stretched it into riveting designs. The furniture displayed were what you might have seen in futuristic movies as children, now brought to life.

Cyril Zammit, Director of the event, says, ''Design Days Dubai continues to cultivate recognition and awareness for design in the region, serving to establish the emirate as a global cultural hub.

''The fair offers enthusiasts the opportunity to not only meet international designers but also acquire collectable design and enhance collections for private and corporate use.''

Spotlight on newcomers

Design Days Dubai isn't just an exhibition featuring established talent. It also puts the spotlight on budding designers in the region through its Urban Commissions competition. Anna Szonyi won the inaugural contest for her perplexing Boomerang Bench. The unique design was inspired by time-lapse stills of movement across a space; the single element occupied by each moment in a different area in the space, but in a slightly shifted position following a linear spine. The bench will be housed in the emirate's upcoming artistic community — Dubai Design District (D3).

Design Days Dubai has been sprucing up corporate and residential spaces since 2012. Every year, the event attracts a wave of investors, designers and spectators. This year's event was the most successful, with its unique designs showing that the future is here.

Walk into the future

If you want to transform your space into a time portal to the future, here are some of Design Days Dubai's most innovative furniture exhibitors. These labels are available locally as well as internationally.

Chamber - Not only does this furniture gallery offer novelty designs but chances are that you own the only piece in the world. Chamber combines limited-edition articles with unlimited flair. The gallery claims to derive its inspiration from the Renaissance's cabinets of curiosities. Based in New York City, the gallery also offers vintage collectables.

Art Factum Gallery - Located closer to home is the Art Factum Gallery in Beirut. Transforming homes since 2011, the gallery started with itself. Its renovated exhibition space in Lebanon once served as a steel factory. The team of seasoned artists at the gallery incorporate culture in every element of their work. The designs are functionally industrial with a sprinkle of metamodern accents. Some of the furniture seem like they have been concocted in a mad scientist's laboratory.

House of Today - Everyone has skeletons in the cupboard, but this gallery gives the expression a literal twist. This Lebanese label uses its design to communicate messages to an international audience. The interior design gallery is also a non-profit organisation, which offers its platform to help stabilize aspiring designers with vibrant ideas and present their products to a global network. Its designs feature Arab heritage translated into an accessible medium and edgy structures.

Cities - Having conquered the cities of Riyadh and Dubai, this design gallery takes its visitors on a journey through time and space. The furniture is conceptual and narrates a web of interconnected stories. Wood is used as a primary material for construction and illustrates the relationship between nature and humans. The designs are a collaboration of elements you would find in the middle of the Amazon rainforest and in a metropolitan building. Cities offers a nature trail... in your living room.

Shauna Richardson - If you can't decide between your love for taxidermy or animals, Shauna Richardson's work is the solution. When stroking her furniture, it feels just like that sweater your grandma knitted for you for Christmas. London-based Richardson has put some heart in art and produces ethical taxidermy using her crocheting skills. Not a single animal is affected in the creation of her art; even the facial features and claws are plastic. Her collection of crocheted wildlife is realistic enough to tempt poachers and harmless enough to appeal to vegans.

Learn how to create an outdoor oasis with courtyards

Source: Nichole Nikoliovich, Special to Property Weekly


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