The exhibition at the Dubai Design District outlet of Nakkash Gallery will present creations by designers from the UAE, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. The names include Ahmad Bazazo, Ayah Al Bitar, Eva Szumilas, Nader Gammas, Sahar Bizri, and Tarek Elkassouf. Wajih Nakkash, founder of Nakkash gallery comments: “We are very excited to be launching Design Collective. It is our role as an established design organisation to continue to support the industry and provide a much-needed platform for our talented emerging designers."
The participating artists explain the inspiration behind their pieces:
Fin X and Wind by Nader Gammas, Dubai-based Jordanian architect and lighting designer
Fin X was initially made for a private villa and was a much larger piece, this version of Fin X has been converted to fit two stories, as opposed to the original three stories and I also chose to make the brass colour darker.
The Wind pieces, the other two chandeliers, were produced as a custom piece for a villa in Dubai Hills and take inspiration from Emirati heritage. The inspiration came from a visit I took to the Dubai Museum where I saw the original mock up of the Wind Tower; when standing underneath it, I immediately knew there was something special about it and i needed to translate it into my work.
I kept the geometry of the Wind Tower intact, but inverted it to make the wind catchers at the bottom, rather than the top. I also choose a dark finish and paired it with incandescent lighting to create a feeling of warmth. With the second Wind piece, when deciding how to suspend the boxes from the ceiling, I decided not to go with the single rod style of conventional chandeliers. Instead, I took further inspiration from the vertical palm leaves thatching on the Wind Tower, which lead to the vertical suspensions I used.
The material I used is brass, with a dark finish, in order to avoid getting a luster effect from the large number of light bulbs used, but the darker colour also it gives it a more graphic finish with the bottom of light bulbs peeking out from the wind tower. Additionally, everything is incandescent because it is a naturally glowing material, and I wanted the natural reaction between the brass and the light source itself.
Black and Gold Vol 2 by Ahmad Bazazo, Beirut-based architect and designer
All inspiration comes from the past, this collection, Black and Gold Vol. 2, is a continuation from last year's collection which was Black and Gold Vol. 1. The collection is specifically inspired by the New York Art Deco era; I looked at the lines and the way that everything created was very bold and in your face. These pieces take that style as a base but at the same time, I chose to inject my own modernity to breathe a new life into it.
Also, as an architect, I always try to add a structural aspect, so when you look at the collection and see that something is floating, it is done intentionally. If it linear and thin, you can see how it is connected, and how two different materials are brought together. This is the way I have always chosen to work, to begin with the base and then add on to it.
Revolve coffee table
I always like to work with materials such as solid wood, brass and certain linens. They are simple, but it's not so much about the material to me; it's more about the way the materials can be manipulated. They may appear basic and standard at first but the way they connect to each other is quite unconventional. For example, the way that the brass is bent and the way it connects to the wood is not very simplistic, that experimentation is where you can get the best out of your materials, it is important to make sure that there is always some sort of harmony between the materials.
There is also a continuity that I work with, when you look at a piece there is always a line and a motion. Nothing juxtaposes in an abrupt way, rather they always blend together. It is very important to me that although they are all very hard materials separately, when put together, they have a soft and comforting aesthetic.
Furniture collection by Sahar Bizri, Lebanon-based interior architect and product designer
When I first began my career in product design, furniture and home accessories, my idea was to create linearly, and then finish in order to create a 3D effect instead of a one finish level product line.
This year, I launched the coffee table with the pouf, mirrors and screens. The materials I used are all luxury materials such as brass, solid marble and iron, and the challenge is to combine these materials together to make a refined and smooth aesthetic that fits perfectly in someone’s home.
All my products are designed with a core principle of functionality. My pieces must not only be beautiful, but it must be usable and comfortable. A good example of this is the pouf. I used a lot of the same material I work with often, such as brass, but the pouf needed the addition of fabric to give it a sense of comfort and make it welcoming.
I also think it is important to constantly re evaluate your work, and while creating the pouf, I had the idea to experiment with translating a fabric-less pouf into a table.
Coconut by Ayah Al Bitar, Dubai-based Saudi Arabian product and furniture designer
Ayah Al Bitar
I like to consider my work as a combination of problem solving and thought provocation. All of my work revolves around things that I perceive as not satisfying both form and function and redesigning them or finding design opportunities and what the market is supplying for consumers and filling that gap.
My work is focused on form and function,everything is designed with a very particular thought of the technicalities of the piece and how things are put together, the craftsmanship and of course the initial thought concept.
For the Coconut chair, I was inspired by the concept of bending plywood, as simple as it sounds and as overlooked as that concept has become, when it was created in the '30s by Charles and Ray Eames, and it was an industry-changing movement. Their work with plywood had a huge effect on the furniture industry.
The Coconut chair was created with that concept as well as the idea of its form fitting in with its functionality. It's all made with solid walnut wood and the process of bending it to be like plywood was the biggest challenge I faced. My problem solving was not conceptual but rather physical, through the experimentation with the wood and leather and upholstery. The specific problems I was seeking to address were ergonomics, proportion and technique as I felt that they were lacking from most of the everyday options and the choices the consumer has.
Eva in the da house by Eva Szumilas, Beirut-based Polish architect, furniture and product designer
I have been following the work of Nakkash for quite a long time. I’ve always found their work to be very interesting and elegant. That elegant aesthetic is also what I try to create and as such, I thought my furniture would be a perfect match with their interiors. I had contacted them to discuss some of my work and they asked me to be a part of the Design Collective exhibition, I was very excited and decided to design exclusive items for the Nakkash gallery space.
These new pieces, the coffee table, side table and table lamp, are the continuation of my collection entitled Eva In da house. The collection has grown to include more than 20 different pieces, consisting of coffee tables, side tables, dining tables, sideboards, bookcases, desks and lighting pieces.
My design is fuelled by my life experiences, background and passions, which in turn are influenced by both my experiences with Middle Eastern and European cultures.
The collection is, in a way, a throwback to the essence of design, as I see it - the spirit of decorative art where the aim is beauty, aesthetics, purity and elegance. It is influenced by Eastern European Constructivism movement as well as stark unadorned structures modeling bold combinations perfect squares, cylinders and circles.
It is a mixture of minimalism and soft feminine curves. This timeless, pure and discreet design is easy to love and integrates harmoniously in any space. The use of the brass and marble and advanced craftsmen techniques have been used to manufacture the pieces.
Tarek ElKassouf, Sydney- and Beirut-based product and furniture designer
Nakkash is a great platform for local and international designers and we’ve always been interested in collaborating with them. The Melting Lamp started with a daydream. I tried to materialise this daydream by experimenting with light and marble and how I could change their physical form. The melting process is accentuated once the lamp is lit; I wanted to provoke a feeling of daydreaming for anyone you who looks at it.
In terms of materials, I chose Statuario marble, which is the rarest Italian marble. Its timelessness accentuates the day dream. As for the Nero Marquina, usually famous for its unique black colour, it works as a dark canvas for the stainless steel frame.
The exhibition runs at Nakkash gallery in Dubai Design District alongside Dubai Design Week until November 17.