The first event in the series of the Art Week programs, ‘Design Days Dubai’, held from the 18th to the 21st of March, showcased limited edition and collectible design pieces brought over by 22 leading galleries from around the world. The event was held in Downtown Dubai, right at the foot of the iconic Burj Khalifa. The first of its kind in the entire region, the event attracted collectors, designers, enthusiasts and students.
The purpose-built venue was designed to give each gallery its own dedicated pavilion to showcase their work. Whilst some of the more popular names were present, there were a few galleries showcasing their products outside their native country for the first time.
Coletivo Amor De Madre from Sao Paulo, Brazil, brought with them some fun, vibrant pieces from various designers that were unique in concept and design. It's the gallery's first participation in an international fair. Among the designs were a lamp made from children's toys.
Award winning galleries like Carwan from Beirut, presented ‘New Perspectives in Middle East Crafts’. The work showcased around reviving traditional craft and modernizing it by commissioning both Middle Eastern and international designers to partner with local artisans and produce limited edition pieces.
Nakkash Gallery, based locally in Dubai, presented a solo exhibition by Vito Selma, a highly talented wood craftsman from the Phillipines. His simple sculptures made from natural material were functional yet fashionable.
Another unique aspect of the show included ‘Bespoke Design’, a section dedicated to showing the production side of design. PF Emirates and Moisonnier were the brands displaying works by design gurus Cassina, Cappellini and Poltrona Frau.
Joseph Walsh (Nilufar, Milan), Hans Kotter (Priveekollektie, Heusden), Vito Selma (Nakkash Gallery, Dubai), Christian Astuguvielle (Franziska Kessler, Zurich) were amongst the more famous design artists presenting their works.
Van Cleef & Arpels, one of the event's sponsors, also debuted their High Jewelry collection ‘Bals de Legende’. The unique collection showcased for the first time in the region, was inspired by five of the most outstanding balls hosted during the 20th century. All the jewels were designed around this theme; rich, dazzling pieces made of rare stones and unique designs had the audience captivated.
Design Days also invited leading institutions including Tashkeel from Dubai, Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar, American University of Sharjah and ECAL to participate and display their work.
A pop-up art store selling pieces like truck art t-shirts by Baltoot and other Arabesque themed clutches and homeware was also set up at the venue. An art bookstore was another popular section with coffee table books from different genres available for sale.
The four-day event, with pieces ranging from an affordable USD 650 to an unthinkable USD 393,000, under the patronage of names like Nada Debs, Rami Farook and Rana Sadik was an absolute success and a great initiation into a week full of art in the vibrant city of Dubai.
– Saira Malik
Images by Khaleejesque