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Image Credit: Instagram @irthiconcil

Sharjah’s Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council (Irthi): took centre-stage at Milan Design Week, 2022. The council showcased Emirati crafts and traditions at the event that plays host to culture enthusiasts and creatives in the art, architecture and design fields. Irthi unveiled “an inspiring selection of exclusively curated, cross-cultural design collections at the Milan Design Week 2022 … at the picturesque Italian city.”

Irthi is the only Arab entity represented at the pre-eminent design fair, where about 2,000 exhibitors from around the globe converged. The council celebrated the spirit of innovation and creativity of indigenous craft heritage with five design collections. These collections: reimagined “Emirati crafts and culture through a contemporary lens, in the presence of Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations (DGR) in Sharjah and Her Excellency Reem BinKaram, Director, NAMA Irthi.”

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The council was part of the prestigious Milan Design Week Image Credit: Instagram @irthiconcil

Irthi curated exhibits that took discerning visitors on a multicultural journey through the region’s geography, customs, and generations-old techniques and materials.

There was a stunning interplay of materials, colours, techniques, and craft traditions in each of the collections that are also pushing the boundaries between art and design. Irthi’s collections, which were showcased at Milan Design Week underscored the council’s efforts to re-contextualise the craft traditions of the UAE and adapt them to contemporary tastes. The main goal behind this effort was to preserve the crafts for the future, as well as to ensure long-term sustainable economic empowerment of women artisans.

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The Irthi Series showcases traditionally crafted products. Image Credit: Instagram @irthiconcil

There were five collections at the event, which were related the diverse stories of “the region’s artisanal techniques and heritage find new expression in the five design collections as they intersect with novel materials and cutting-edge design to eloquently showcase the virtues of cross-border collaboration.

As many as three collections from Irthi’s Series merge tradition with innovation. Moui Collection Drop and Nadd Collection Drop from Irthi’s Series interpret Emirati Talli being among them.