Mon, Mar 13, 2017

Art & Auctions
Dubai fair attracts record 125 designers

Design Days Dubai 2017 opens tomorrow featuring a record 125 designers from 39 countries as well as the largest UAE participation to date.

Now in its sixth edition, the event runs from March 14 to 17 at a new venue in Dubai Design District (d3), under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and in partnership with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

The fair showcases the world’s finest collectible, purchasable and limited edition furniture, lighting and accessories with more than 400 works on display, alongside a public programme bursting with leading design personalities and industry experts.

As a notable symbol of the growth and maturity of the design landscape in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (Menasa) region, the fair welcomes the largest number of exhibitors in 2017, with 125 designers showing more than 400 works, represented by 50 exhibitors from 39 countries. 

A record 21 galleries and design studios from the UAE are exhibiting their collections of furniture, lighting and decorative objects – a huge increase from one UAE design gallery in 2012’s launch edition.

Positioned as a fair of discovery, visitors will experience the vast variety and creativity that mark design today as well as having the opportunity to meet many of the designers and learn about their design process. 

“We are proud to have curated the world’s most diverse collection of modern and contemporary collectible design, placing regional galleries and design studios together with leading international exhibitors – and blending innovative design techniques, practices, and skills – to create a world-quality fair. Design Days Dubai has evolved and developed in unison with the region’s increasing appetite for design, and reflects the city’s status as a hub for innovative design and arts in the region, and beyond,” said Rawan Kashkoush, Head of Programming of Design Days Dubai.

Design Days Dubai appeals to the aspiring and seasoned collectors alike with its eclectic global selection of design and range of price points (from under $500 to upwards of $75,000).  


Middle Eastern premieres from best-in-class international design galleries include: ‘Metamorphosis’ bronze collection by pioneering French designer and Maître d'Art Pierre Bonnefille presented by Leclaireur (France/US); the sparkling, over-sized ‘Flying Chair’ light installation by French sculptress Geraldine Gonzales, her most ambitious piece to date exhibited by Territoire(s) (France/UAE); and, ‘Walking’ free-standing screen-sculpture by Irish designer Niamh Barry made of solid bronze inlaid with opaque glass and LED lights on show at Todd Merrill (USA)’s booth.

Premieres abound from the record number of design galleries and studios based in the UAE, GCC and wider region including: Lebanese jewellery designer turned lighting designer Marie Munier’s ‘Spirale II’, a hand-crafted brass and LED lighting sculpture (edition of 10); leading Emirati designer Aljoud Lootah’s hotly-anticipated first ceramic collection which depicts intricate patterns that adorned the historic architecture of the UAE; a series of tables innovatively combining upcycled wood and resin by emerging design duo Tarek Hreish and Farah Kayyal of Aperçu Designs, Jordan; and, new organic form-inspired wall pieces by Irish-born Dubai-based designer maker, Michael Rice. And, for the first time since the launch edition, vintage design will be presented by specialists in mid-century modern, UAE-based MCML Studio.


Design Days Dubai this year takes place in a new location at Dubai Design District (d3) with a refreshed layout, including a variety of new communal areas such as a terrace with adjoining radio station pod for live interviews, and a bookstore stocking architecture and design books from the region.

Parallel to the exhibitor programme is an exciting array of special projects as well as installations. Rising Dutch design duo Os & Oos presents a live design-in-the-making performance; the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) collaborates with seven UAE-based designers on its ‘Seed to Seat’ project; Coletivo Amor de Madre from Brazil showcases a design solution to ecological issues; and Molecule Radio will curate an audio landscape. Dubai Culture presents ‘Britain Takes Shape’ exhibition featuring the work of 10 pioneers of British design, all never before seen in the UAE, in support of the UK-UAE Year of Creative Collaboration (an initiative led by the British Council).

Visionary international design luminaries Sebastian Wrong (UK), Fabio Novembre (Italy) and Marko Brajovic (Brazil/Croatia) host talks and hands-on workshops in the fair’s more extensive public programme to date. 

Emerging designers are championed by the fair’s faithful supporters Dubai Culture, Van Cleef & Arpels and Audi through respective initiatives: Urban Commissions, The Middle East Emergent Designer Prize and Audi Innovation Award.

For the first time, the fair’s public programme moves beyond its new venue at d3 with an offsite series of talks at Dubai’s new Etihad Museum, bringing design to a broader audience of design enthusiasts, the design curious and collectors alike across the wider city.

For design enthusiasts, Design Days Dubai is an annual fixture to meet designers from all over the world and acquire collectible design not seen anywhere else. This year, visitors will be able to truly lose themselves to design,” added Kashkoush.

Design Days Dubai is owned and managed by Art Dubai Group and is held under Art Week, an umbrella initiative bringing together the UAE’s arts and culture-centred happenings in the month of March with the aim of promoting the cultural activities of the region to both residents and visitors.

Design Days Dubai has the support of its sponsors including the strategic partnership with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, French high-jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels, Audi, and, d3.

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