Design Days 2014

Art Dubai opening night is TOMORROW night.

Right now, I feel like one of those vintage toys you wind up with a key RIGHT before placing on the floor … literally RARING to go !!!

BUT having said that …there are so many OTHER interesting fairs and exhibitions to check out during Art Season, such as Art Nights, Sikka, Christie’s and of course Design Days Dubai. Since I’m rather greedy, I want to see it ALL…I can relate to Aerosmith’s song…I (really) DONT wanna miss a THING!!!

So I set off bright and early (ish) to investigate Design Days first, followed by a quick browse at Christies to see the watch exhibition.

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A heads up for newbies – Design Days Dubai is the leading fair in the Middle East and South Asia dedicated to collectible and limited edition furniture and design objects. The fair presents design from leading international designers and galleries alongside up and coming design from across the world.

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I started with The Carpenter’s Gallery, which is from Paris.

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This amazingly innovative lighting installation is made from REAL dandelions and the lightbulbs are inside…creating a beautiful fuzzy soft glow! I’ve taken a close up so you can see it clearly!

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The designers, Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijin have used a combination of dandelion seeds, phosphorus bronze, LEDs, perspex and concrete to create it.

Now, I need to talk a little bit about this clock called The Grandfather Clock by Maarten Baas as it’s unbelievable. At first glance, I just thought it was a rather plain ordinary clock but after a few minutes …what appeared like a MAN from INSIDE the clock came from out of nowhere …erased out the minute handle and drew a new one..right before my eyes!!! It was so trippy that I actually felt startled!! After all…this kind of behavior is NOT something one expects from a clock! I’m glad a have a photo ..because I sound insane when describing it. As if I’ve had too much of grandma’s cough medicine.

Grandfather Clock View 1

Grandfather Clock View 2

The gallerist explained to me that this has been achieved with a video. The designer had filmed someone drawing the handles on from behind glass. The clock plays this video on loop as time goes on and apparently, the character rings a bell and does other things like has a cup of tea, too. I really love the way the designer has succeeded in animating the inanimate! Very creative!

Here are some other pieces by Carpenter!

"Chartres" Studio Job

“Chartres” Studio Job

"Monkey Business" Studio Job

“Monkey Business” Studio Job

Miracle Chips is an installation by Micheal Anastassiades which was presented by Carwan Gallery. The designer has achieved the impossible – making a heavy material such as marble appear paper thin and flexible. Anastassiades was inspired by red fortune telling cellophane fish you get at Christmas crackers, and wanted his pieces to retain the appearance of marble but appear to curl up and appear featherlight.

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Next Level Gallery in Paris, featured some stunning and unique limited edition light installations by Phileppe Malouin. I love the way the light appears to breaks and filter through the delicate brass maze creating scattered lighting effects.

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As well as this, I also loved this cleverly designed wall piece which can also be used to sit on. Designed by fashion and furniture designer Jose Levy, he created this set of 2 pieces after his visit to Kyoto where he got inspired by his oriental surroundings. He has used a material traditionally used as mats that are normally completely flat and has somehow moulded it into these statement sculptures.

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Creating imagery and visual effects through shadow and reflection, this installation was commissioned by Giles Miler Studio and presented by Capsule Arts. I love how the pieces spin and the optical illusion it creates. It constantly switches from exposing negative spaces to “closing up” into tighter compressed pieces.

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The next piece is from The Fabrik Lab, Hong Kong which is an installation by designer, Elaine Ng Yan Ling. She brings together textiles and electronics in a wonderfully creative way. Centered around biomimicry, she’s inspired by a certain resilient desert plant that constantly expands and changes according to the moisture in the air.

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Her organic and magical approach has been described as creating designs that move and grow like trees – but faster. It’s true, for it appeared as though her intricate wooden designs were morphing, curling and spinning before our eyes..literally coming alive. It is made from layers of smart veneer. I had the good fortune of speaking to the designer and she is so full of eloquence and passion. Here’s a photo of her in her “garden.”

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Like Ng Yan Ling, it seems that Paula Rodriguez from Nakkash gallery was ALSO inspired by biomimicry, when she created this chic nautilus shell-shaped storage and divider unit. I love the way it creates nooks for showing off your stuff as well as an artwork in itself. This sculptural piece is constructed with a wood frame and veneered in natural-finished bamboo.

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Another very patriotic and regionally inspired piece that caught my eye were these victory chairs designed by Omar Nakkesh. These quirky chairs incorporate the distinguishable salute invented by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

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There’s even an ascot “dressed” chair. Once again, adding animation to the inanimate and lending so much character!!

I would love to write more about ALL the furniture, but there is just TOO much to cover…so here are more photos of some other unmissable items at the fair, followed by some shots I took of some GORGEOUS jewelry from the Van Cleef and Arpel exhibition.

Enjoy!!!

Clear Edition Gallery

Clear Edition Gallery

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Art Factum Gallery

Art Factum Gallery

Art Factum Gallery

Art Factum Gallery

Tashkeel Gallery - rug made out of camel leather

Tashkeel Gallery – rug made out of camel leather

Carpenter Gallery

Carpenter Gallery

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PP Trees installation by Tom Price at Design Days Dubai! Made entirely from polypropylene pipes and cable ties

PP Trees installation by Tom Price at Design Days Dubai! Made entirely from polypropylene pipes and cable ties

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The Middle East Emergent Artist Prize

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Last Wednesday I felt very Holly Gollightly except instead of having breakfast at Tiffany’s, I had breakfast at Van Cleef and Arpels. (Close enough!)

The world-famous luxury French jewellery house had an important announcement to make. They were to unveil the much awaited theme of the Middle East Emergent Artist Prize that day. A handful of journalists, bloggers and people from the media industry were invited for an exclusive press conference at the jewellery boutique in Dubai Mall that morning.

In the sparkling warm glow of Van Cleef and Arpels, we all waited eagerly for the hot new news and were served macaroons in the meantime. (which if you ask me are even better than breakfast, so I guess I one-upped Holly on that account!)

Allan Belloir, managing director of Middle East India Van Cleef proceeded to tell us that Van Cleef has always had a rich history of being very much involved in the artistry of jewellery and the overall design and creative process. The art of design is a concept that they hold very dear to them. This is why they have collaborated with gallery Tashkeel and Design Days Dubai to support and nurture talent in the region with a competition open to artists of all disciplines.

Alan Belloir

Alan Belloir

“The Maison is an ardent defender of the artistic and design crafts and we are proud of our partnership with Tashkeel and Design Days Dubai that highlights this year the process behind works of art,” said Belloir. “We are looking forward to welcoming the winner at L’ECOLE Van Cleef & Arpels, where we share and teach knowledge and in our workshops where he will discover the secrets of the virtuoso craftsmanship that give birth to timeless creations.” This exciting contest is in their second year, and the theme for this year is called “Turning Point.”

Anabelle de Gersigny, manager at Tashkeel gallery went on to explain more about the theme. She mentioned that “Turning Point” is to focus on that beautiful moment the artist experiences when their work and their ideas just starts coming to life and flowing. In other words, that “eureka” moment.

This theme is aimed at shedding light on the creative process, highlighting the moment in the evolution of a project when the maker finds their voice – the point when they have understood, through the working process, the nature of the planned final work.

Anabelle de Gersigny

Anabelle de Gersigny

“In its second edition, The Middle East Emergent Artist Prize will draw on a lot of different media and practices, with works from artists all living and working in the Middle East,” stated de Gersigny. “Looking to works that may remain hidden away in the recesses of the artist’s studio is important for Tashkeel as a place where makers find space and time to develop their practice within the context of discerning and constructive criticism and discourse.”

Van Cleef & Arpels will reward the winner with a trip to Paris to attend courses at L’ECOLE, founded in 2012 with the objective of unveiling the very secretive worlds of jewelry and watchmaking, and sharing the most precious asset of the Maison: its savoir-faire. The winner will also be among the privileged few to enter the universe of Van Cleef & Arpels workshops where the Mains d’Or™ resides, the master craftsmen who give form to the Maison’s most sophisticated High Jewelry creations.

As well as being able to experience to attend the courses at the prestigious L’Ecole, the artwork of the awarded artist will be unveiled on the Van Cleef & Arpels stand at Design Days Dubai 2014, the world’s most diverse design fair that showcases local, regional, and international collectible modern and contemporary design pieces, whilst a selection of applicants will also be invited to participate in Tashkeel’s March exhibition, including a range of artists from the Middle East from the emergent to more established figures.

Cyril Zammit, Fair director of Design Days Dubai

Cyril Zammit, Fair director of Design Days Dubai

Last year's winner Salem at the VCA Ecole

Last year’s winner Salem at the VCA Ecole

As an artist working in Dubai, I am thrilled to hear about this breakthrough and the competition. It’s such an exciting new development and an amazing opportunity for artists in the region to not only showcase their work on a global platform, but to have the chance to experience working alongside one of the most elite, world-renowned luxury jewelery houses in Paris.

I am definitely interested in participating in this! I already have a few ideas swimming in my head and will be posting my artistic progress on the blog.

Fingers crossed and stay tuned! 🙂

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