If you happen to hear, the buzz around town is that March is the season for Dubai’s art and design.
There are many events running, all of them open for the public and collectors alike, bringing contemporary art and design from around the world into the minds and houses of any one in the UAE with the slightest interest in the subject.
The sixth edition of Design Days Dubai happening in Dubai Design District under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai is part of Art Week and is open to public from March 14–17.
This is a large window into the bold future of contemporary design. No sharp edges, unless they are meant to be razor-edged, nothing shiny unless they are meant to dazzle you with their brilliance. This fair is an incredible juxtaposition of classic Van Cleef & Arpel’s Art of Crafts to Shauna Richardson’s crochet rendition of the Town Musicians of Bremen.
Van Cleef & Arpels:
If you are a 30-something year old, you probably cannot afford Van Cleef & Arpels right now. Which is ok, because the jewelers who create Grace Kelly (Princess of Monaco)’s engagement set are worth the mention. Find their masterpiece this year Jeanne-Antoinette Transformable (can be worn in 15 ways!) Necklace and know that these emeralds, diamonds, rubies, spessartine garnet, cultures pearls, beads and Sevres Porcelain is to …die and kill people for. Though, I suggest you don’t kill anyone because that’s not a nice thing to do.
Audi Innovation Award:
I have no interest in cars, they don’t make me excited, they are not part of my #lifegoals but when you put the brand new Audi S5 in the middle of it all as an exhibition piece, you can get even the most ignorant of people spend a minute snap chatting it (yours truly!) and this will probably be a good excuse to ask your man to tag along, you can lure him with it.
However, the reason Audi is present essentially is because the first Audi Innovation Award for the Middle East was presented to Sahar Madanat from Jordan at the opening of Design Days Dubai for her ‘One-Handed Tableware Set’ design. The Audi Innovation Award theme for 2016 was ‘Alternative’ where the objective for designers was to offer concepts that integrate existing solutions into new uses, ranging from lifestyle, healthcare, mobility, education and urban public spaces.
Her one handed tableware set fitted perfectly in, enabling one handed users to cut food and navigate between courses while concealing the limitations imposed by their disability.
Crafts Council UK:
Established in 1971, they brought 11 of UK’s best makers achieving their goal of promoting UK’s contemporary craft to the world.
Shauna Richardson’s crochet rendition of the Town Musicians of Bremen is the instant connect to your childhood if you spent a considerable time of it reading Brothers’ Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Today when art is more public than, but accessibility to it still remains the a struggle, here is work that will make you connect, understand, not go over your head making you feel insignificant or stupid. No, that is not the purpose of design, it is done by humans for humans.
Another maker was Utopia & Utility whose products are meant to combine function and fantasy. Handmade, using different materials, stackable pieces open into many almost like a Matroyshka doll of pots.
Ithra: King AbdulAziz Center for World Culture:
I am not a cultures, especially went it comes to Arabic culture by experience and exposure was as limited as watching Lawrence of Arabia. Even now, grappling at it, I still look at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a lot like I would look at my Maths teacher. I am cautious, almost scared, without any particular reason why. I am sorry if KSA exudes a conservative reputation, but to find Ithra’s sponsored designer for the year and his creations of objects and furniture created from traditional Islamic geometry and objects. Imagine turning a kufya (traditional cap worn by Muslim men) into a ceiling lamp. Yes, it has happened and it is time to crush some of that pre-conceived notions about the country, because this modern, innovative design sensibility is coming from KSA with a hope we value the winds of freshness sweeping through their country.
Like is true for all Art & Design: any exhibition is meant for three groups: art professionals, the public and the wealthy.
Art professionals come for the learning and the critique, the public for entertainment and the wealthy for acquisitions. The artists can’t always have something to offer everyone and yet each category of humans leave heavy on exposure, knowledge and amazement.
It is also a testament to the fast-growing art and design scene of Dubai which like the city, is most different, from its counterparts around the world. Just like the city is the hotpot of cultures from around the world, acclimatizing slowly into its Arabic lineage, so are the exhibitions that bring international sensibilities under one roof creating design without boundaries.
Design Days Dubai will take place from March 14–17, 2017 in our new home, Dubai Design District (d3).
- Tickets can be purchased at the fair for AED 50.
- Children 18 years old and under are admitted free of charge. University students can also enter free upon show of student ID.
- Opening Hours
March 14 12–3pm Ladies’ Preview
March 14–16 3–9pm
March 17 1–7pm
- Careem for discounted rides to d3:
New user first ride up to 45 AED – DDD45
Existing user 15% off 2 rides – DDD15
Along with a lot of see, there are also workshops by most of the exhibiting artists.