Since its inaugural showcase, Dubai Design Week has annually brought the regional and international design community together in the Emirate, hosting the region’s largest festival of creativity, culture and design. Galvanising the design community, the festival attracts industry leaders and innovators from around the world, all looking to immerse themselves in the very best of what the regional and global contemporary design scene has to offer.
At the heart of the festival is Downtown Design. Over the past seven years, the contemporary design fair has built unprecedented momentum for quality and innovation in the region, establishing itself as the leader of the Middle East’s maturing design scene.
“The fair’s MO has always been relevance and originality,” says Rue Kothari, Fair Director. “Far from being a traditional exhibition, we are focused on nurturing the design community, delivering a truly enjoyable design experience to an industry that deserves a strong and credible yearly event.”
Advocating for and presenting high-quality design to industry professionals and design lovers alike, year-on-year, and the fair puts on a fresh and dynamic showcase, bringing a slew of new brands and studios to the Middle East’s design-savvy audience. Here we give peek into the calibre and diversity of top-end brands and makers you can expect in November.
In design, having a globally recognised visual language is the true mark of success. A Pedrali furniture is instantly recognisable for its form, colourways and exceptional production values that bring together the latest technologies and materials with artisanal making to deliver collections that are a 100 per cent Made in Italy. What keeps the brand fresh it is ability to collaborate with the A-list designers from around the world — all delivering their own unique interpretation of the Pedrali way. In November, they will present their latest collections developed in collaboration with designer such as Patrick Jouin, Patrick Norguet, Eugeni Quitllet, Jorge Pensi and Claudio Bellini.
American designer A Jacob Marks’ approach sets his studio, Skram apart with a sense of warmth that is inherent to all they create. Bringing together aesthetics and structural resilience, the studio’s commitment to sustainability emphasises minimalism or excess, innovation in process and in design. Working with communities to harness high-quality natural materials with the least environmental impact, they offer an uncompromising technical mastery in the use of materials like wood, stone, leather and metal. Skram pieces are a distillation of the essential, a beautiful negotiation of beauty, utility and durability, grace and proportion.
FERNANDO MASTRANGELO STUDIO
Jagged and often distressed, the Brazilian designer’s distinct style is a direct function of the unique materials he works with. With an eye on the life-cycle of discarded materials and looking to a cyclic design economy, his collections — from limited-edition furniture to art and flatworks — feature granulated substances like salt, quartz crystals, silica, and cement, masterfully bound by resin and a very spare, often invisible from the outside, skeletal formwork. With his pieces featuring in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Museum, and in the homes of private collectors, Mastraneglo will make his Middle East debut with a new limited-edition series of mirrors inspired by the geography of Dubai.
From 1967 till today, it is a strong creative direction and an expressive core concept that has guided the high-end furniture maker’s evolution into a global design powerhouse. Never confusing style with fleeting fashions or design with simple mass production, the atelier continually references all-important making traditions, whilst delivering collections that are as contemporary as they are classic. Seeking inspiration in how people interact with each other and their environment, their human-centric approach is exalted in designs by internally acclaimed creators such as Jason Wagell, whose Julep collection comes to the Middle East with Al Shaya Enterprises.