Dubai Design Week: announcing the 12 Installations
Dubai Design Week recently unveiled its full installations programme: a diverse series of high-impact sculptural, architectural and experiential works designed to challenge conventions, inspire through innovation and help establish Dubai as the Middle Eastern hub of the world design community.
The Installations are a core strand of Dubai Design Week’s mission, underlining Dubai’s status as a city where wonder, beauty and creative expression can be found everywhere. Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), Dubai Design Week is managed by the Art Dubai Group in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) and supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and the Dubai Design and Fashion Council.
The 12 site-specific works have been created by a handpicked selection of renowned international and local designers, artists and architects and will be positioned at strategic locations around the city for the duration of the event.
“d3, as a destination dedicated to design, is committed to nurturing the growth of emerging local talent whilst providing a global platform for established international artists. Through supporting and hosting events like Dubai Design Week, we hope to position Dubai as global design hub for the region’s creative community,” says Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, COO, Dubai Design District, d3.
“We looked for proposals that presented bold ideas, questioned conventions and responded to the issues faced by global society today,” says Cyril Zammit, Director of Design at Art Dubai Group. “But most importantly, we chose the works on the basis of context; each of these pieces has been selected for its sense of belonging to the city – they all celebrate the creative dynamism and diversity of Dubai in unique ways.”
Many of the installations will receive their world premiere at Dubai Design Week. After the event, many will remain in situ, acting as urban landmarks for the Dubai of the future; others will be rotated around the city to introduce them to different audiences and alternative contexts.
1) LOVE PROJECT
Designer Guto Requena
Location Dubai Design District (d3), Building 8, G-05
The installation The Love Project is a study in design, science and technology that captures the emotions people feel when relating personal love stories and transforms them into three-dimensional mandalas. Sensors applied to participants measure their reactions while they tell the defining love story of their own lives. As participants tell their tales privately, data drawn from their changing emotions is relayed to specially developed software. Via a graphic
interface, this data moulds every aspect of the mandala, which is then fabricated using a 3D printer. The exhibition site will present real-time projections showing the emotional data collected by the sensors, as well as the physical mandala structures that result.
The designer Guto Requena is an award-winning Brazilian architect who has lectured and exhibited worldwide. He was selected by Google and Walmart.com to develop the firms’ Brazilian headquarters, a commission that won him ‘Building of the Year’ from Arch Daily in 2013. The work of his studio explores memory, digital culture and poetic narrative.
2) UNTITLED (ARCHWAY)
Designer Anjali Srinivasan
Location Dubai Design District (d3), Building 8, G-05 - outside
The installation Untitled (Archway) is a transparent arch built entirely using web-like glass filaments, in real time. The design of the structure is guided by the principles of indeterminate inflorescence – a process of unending growth mimicking the rules that determine the arrangement of flowers on a plant's stem. In biological systems that demonstrate indeterminate inflorescence, there is no true terminal node. Each node is a starting point; the system is mutable, self-supporting and ever expanding. Inspired by such plant systems, Inflorescent also toys with the strength and fragility of glass, thereby pursuing a fine balance between concrete form and ephemeral experience.
The designer Anjali Srinivasan studied Accessories Design at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi and holds a BFA from Alfred University, New York. She completed her graduate studies at Rhode Island School of Design in 2007. Her work seeks to erode the notion of the self-contained object by creating tools, devices, toys and installations that are incomplete without human presence. Her interests include creative collaborations with traditional artisans in India, and research and design initiatives aimed at socio-economic empowerment. Anjali currently directs the UAE’s only artist-run, handcrafted glass-making enterprise, ChoChoMa Studios, in Dubai, which sponsors the installation.
Designer Raudha Al Ghurair
Location Dubai Design District (d3), Atrium 5
The installation Blurring the boundaries between sculpture and science, LOT36587 is a site-specific exploration of the notions of both ‘container’ and ‘contained’. Inspired by the formation of cells and embryos, the installation represents the obsessively repetitive motion of an organic container as it takes over the unoccupied spaces surrounding it.
The designer Emirati Raudha Al Ghurair is an artist with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the American University of Sharjah. Raudha’s work explores the interaction between art, architecture and social psychology. Although immersed in the rigid practices of architecture, she maintains a passion for artistic exploration and expression. As an artist, she experiments with different media and employs gestural marking as a means of capturing the essence of the moment. Raudha has participated in multiple group exhibitions including ‘Remembering to Resist’ (2011), ‘Themes of Contemporary Art’ (2012), the Sikka Art Fair (2012), ‘Six Degrees’ (2015) and ‘Contents’ (2015). She was the first architecture student at the American University of Sharjah to receive the prestigious Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award in 2011.
4) FRAGMENTS OF ‘NOW’ – REFLECTIONS OF THE IMMEDIATE PAST
Designer Yohei Iwaki
Location Dubai Design District (d3), Building 8, G-05
The installation Simultaneously, a series of screens acting as mirrors each reflects a different moment of passing time, counting back from ‘now,’ to a few seconds into the past. The existence of ‘now’ is something that we take for granted and rarely examine. Just as we are unconscious of our own body temperatures or breathing, we tend to forget how the current moment is part of a constant flow of time. The shifting reflections of this installation force the observer to question and explore their connection to the present moment.
The designer Yohei Iwaki is an art director and co-founder of Tokyo’s TWOTONE INC. He has worked on a number of projects with global companies as art director of digital advertising and on-screen media design, receiving awards in various areas of international advertising. He has also recently worked on digital-media installations, exhibiting in Asia and Europe.
Designers Zsanett Szirmay and Bálint Tárkány-Kovács
Location Nad Al Sheba, Tashkeel
The installation Soundweaving turns traditional Hungarian embroidery into music. Holes are laser-cut into fabric strips that serve as bands for a hand-cranked music box, which visitors can manipulate. As the band is fed in, each hole is mechanically converted into a musical note, thus turning heritage textile patterns into melodies. For Dubai Design Week, textile designer Zsanett Szirmay and musical composer Bálint Tárkány-Kovács collaborate with the Fatima Bint
Mohammed Initiative to turn their patterns derived from rugs created by Afghan artisans into music.
The designers Zsanett Szirmay is a master’s student at the Department of Textile Design of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest (MOME). Her approach to design is characterised by experimentation and integrative thinking.
Bálint Tárkány-Kovács is a musician, composer and the founder of the Tárkány Művek) band, which takes a folk-led approach to jazz music. Művek is also involved with music education, song writing and record publishing.
6) DETRITUS WALL
Designer Ali Al-Sammarraie
Location Al Fahidi District, House 16
The installation Detritus Wall aims to redefine our perception of waste. In a world where vast quantities of leftover wood and cardboard are relegated to rubbish bins with no further use, Al-Sammarraie explores the use of such waste to create different forms, including dynamic furniture pieces and installations that act as sonic and visual barriers. Composed of dozens of reclaimed pieces of cardboard and wood, cut and assembled using CAD software, the objects engender playful interactions with their users and rekindle the overlooked beauty within their materiality. With Detritus Wall, Al-Sammarraie takes what is generally deemed useless and ugly and repurposes as a functional object that is both alluring and sustainable.
The designer Born in 1991 in Iraq, Ali Al-Sammarraie graduated as an architect and an urban designer from the American University of Sharjah and Louisiana State University, USA. His paper Future architecture in the UAE: A hybrid of tradition and technology is an award-winning exploration of society, context and present architecture in the UAE, which hybridises modern technology with local identity. His interests include religion, society, science and their implications for contemporary design.
Designers Bahar & Sawsan Al Bahar
Location Al Fahidi District, House 16
The installation The muqarnas is a form of architectural decoration composed of niche-like, honeycomb shapes, arranged in tiers that cover the undersides of vaults and arches. LUZ, in effect, is a solidified interpretation of the Alhambra muqarnas, transforming an arrangement of spaces into solid shapes through a process of deconstruction. The installation inverts the geometry, materiality and light source of the murqanas to create a collection of pieces in which each represents the physical manifestation of a surface. The regular half-tone pattern of these objects is reconfigured at it transforms into projected light, becoming fluid, organic and ethereal.
The designers Bahar Al Bahar is a Syrian architect and designer living in the UAE, whose work operates at the threshold between the digital and the material. He believes that through understanding the potential and limitations of both, their integration can generate rich and rewarding results.
Sawsan Al Bahar is a Syrian architect and artist, trained in architecture and visual media. She approaches art and printmaking as a cross-disciplinary practice, combining contemporary architectural production processes with traditional art techniques.
8) DECONSTRUCTING ZONE
Designer Henrique Stabile presented by Coletivo Amor de Madre
Location Al Fahidi District, Courtyard facing House 16
The installation Deconstructing Zone is an area featuring a series of furniture pieces that can be manipulated to create different final products. Their ultimate forms and uses alter depending on the ways those pieces are assembled, inviting visitors to build and rebuild their own furniture according to their own desires and imagination – for example, why not combine part of a chair and a table to create a garden? Despite its apparent playfulness and whimsy, Deconstructing Zone acts as means of promoting cultural exchange, enhancing urban experience and cultivating personal interactions in city settings. Deconstructing Zone is sponsored by Coletivo Amor de Madre, an initiative that seeks to create exchanges, share information and change our collective mindset by developing and trading works by contemporary designers and artists from diverse regions and cultures around the world.
The designer Henrique Stabile is a Doctor of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of São Paulo. He has worked in the fields of design and architecture at offices in Brazil, the US and China, and has been involved in architectural-design product management and creative project management for organisations of all sizes. Henrique has lectured at academic institutions across Brazil and his recent project, #deconstructingCITIES, has had exhibitions in São Paulo and Beijing.
9) NERVOUS STRUCTURE
Designers Cuppetelli and Mendoza
Location Al Fahidi District, House 16
The installation Nervous Structure is a site-specific interactive installation consisting of a sculpture composed of vertical and parallel elastic cords that are illuminated with a computer-generated video projection of lines. The motion of these lines is governed by a simulation, which makes them behave like soft ropes. The movements of the viewer influence the lines’ movements by means of a computer that translates physical gesture into virtual force, while the physical cords of the installation remain motionless. The piece revolves around the idea of interface – the point of contact between two different entities: the viewer and the piece itself, the real and the virtual, and between the foreground and background (as the projection creates an interference pattern with the sculpture). Nervous Structure is part of a series of works that investigate ideas of perception and participation through the exploration of the relationships between the physical and the virtual worlds.
The designers Based in Detroit, USA, Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza began collaborating as Cuppetelli and Mendoza in 2010. Their work has been exhibited in the Denver Art Museum, the Bienal de Video y Artes Mediales in Chile and at festivals such as Nemo 2013 (France), Scopitone 2012 (France), ISEA 2012, FILE 2011 (Brazil), FAD 2011(Brazil) and video_dumbo 2011 and 2013 (New York). Cuppetelli received an MFA in Fibers from Cranbrook Academy of Art, whereas Mendoza completed an MFA in digital and media from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Designer Aljoud Lootah
Location JBR, Meraas The Beach, on the sand
The installation Yaroof is a geometric piece with a structure and components inspired by the traditional shore-fishing technique of the same name, which uses beach seine netting made of strong mesh. Fishermen lay one end of the net on the sand and wade into the sea holding the other, creating a half-circle of netting that catches fish when it is pulled ashore. Yaroof consists of four octagonal frames, each with a nylon-rope pattern that reflects the shape and structure of a fishing net. Evoking complex Arabesque motifs, these patterns feature curved shapes created entirely with straight lines. Positioned on the beach, the installation’s half-open structure creates a shelter-like structure, providing shade for beachgoers.
The designer Based in Dubai, Aljoud Lootah is a multidisciplinary designer whose work explores the effects of contrast in form and function, often combining traditional silhouettes and concepts with modern elements. As a product designer, she has been involved in projects that interpret Emirati culture, traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design, and typically uses patterns, folds and geometric shapes to express her ideas.
11) EARTH HIVES
Designers Latifa Saeed and Talin Hazbar
Location JBR, Meraas The Beach
The installation Thousands of years ago, people discovered that fire had the power to harden earth into a permanent solid form. Such forms served as shelters and were used as containers for seeds, food and water. In fact, terracotta was one of the UAE’s first commodities. Living in the UAE inspired Saeed and Hazbar to explore the craft of pottery, its geometry and the artisanal process of shaping it on a wheel. The outdoor installation Earth Hives is a re-examination of the potter’s craft within the region, redefining the context of terracotta and human interaction with it. Featuring a lighting system embedded within terracotta hemispheres, the beehive cones of Earth Hives juxtapose the primitive, delicate and fragile with Dubai’s urban landscape.
The designers Latifa Saeed is an Emirati multidisciplinary conceptual artist and designer. In recent years, she has worked with traditional Emirati artisanal techniques and materials, reviving them in a contemporary context. She views design as a both a commodity signifying modernity and a system of preserving heritage.
Syrian Talin Hazbar’s work questions structures and materials. She experiments with materials to test their behaviours, challenge their properties, and recall built structures. Drawing inspiration from natural landscapes, Hazbar’s work often features time as a tangible element – many of her pieces seem to capture a frozen moment.
12) SCAFFOLDING/ TRUSS
Designer Zeinab Al Hashemi
Location Jumeirah, Meraas City Walk
The installation Inspired by boat sails, Unfolding is a series of abstract shapes made from scaffolding poles. Using the idea of negative space in sculpture, the installation aims to capture the moment of making as a work-in-progress and express the artist’s exploration for a concept as a piece in itself – elevating the unfinished to the status of finished work. The piece in influenced by the designer’s experience of growing up in Dubai as the city was constructed around her.
The designer Born and based in Dubai, Zeinab Al Hashemi is a conceptual artist specialising in site-specific installations, modern sculpture and public-space artworks. Her practice is driven by an ongoing exploration of the concepts of space and time, using a place’s history to explore its outcome and deconstructing and reconstructing her chosen medium to foreground what would normally be overlooked.