Dubai-based Jordanian designer Hamza Al Omari has been awarded this year’s Middle East Emergent Designer Prize by Van Cleef & Arpels in collaboration with Tashkeel and Design Days Dubai.
In November 2016, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tashkeel, in partnership with Design Days Dubai, called emerging designers from the GCC region to submit proposals in response to the theme of ‘Growth’.
The winning design is Mahad- a contemporary baby cradle comprising wood, leather and felt, inspired by a Bedouin piece of furniture called ‘Al- Sameel’, traditionally used to turn goat’s milk into cheese.
Constructed with dual functionality in mind, Al Omari’s Mahad can be used to turn goat milk into cheese during the day and a child’s cradle at night.
“Living in Dubai, one quickly forgets those who came before us. A people with a legacy that still echoes between the ever-shifting dunes. Much like Dubai, Bedouins have always been on the move, rapidly adapting to their environment in search of the next opportunity to grow and prosper,” Al Omari explained.
“The continuous state of movement has left Bedouins with a challenge that deeply influenced their design language. It all revolved around functionality and minimalism with a very tight definition of necessity. This approach to design resonates with my personal ethos, with form following function at its core.”
The other finalist designers included Ibrahim Ibrahim and Ricardas Blazukas who were awarded runner up titles.
Ibrahim’s piece Painterly Structures/The Growth Process is a reciprocal structure made up of digitalized twigs produced using 3D scanning techniques. Implementing the scanned digital model, a resin seat was then designed and fabricated.
Ricardas Blazukas combined modern and traditional approaches using materials, crafts and methods of DIY production to present his concept, Ceramic Stools Collection.
Six other finalists from the Middle East each submitted concepts ranging from a contemporary shelving system, adaptive to suit the nomadic needs of an urban dweller entitled Hive to Rubberesque which recreates the Islamic interlock technique “latticework”.
The nine shortlisted concepts will be exhibited from November 7 until 25 at Hai, d3 as part of the L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels, the pop-up design campus from the Paris-based school of jewelry arts.
Al Omari receives AED 30,000 to produce his design, while the runners up received AED 10,000 to produce real size mock ups. The six semifinalists were each granted AED 2,000 to showcase mini prototypes of their work, as well.
Van Cleef & Arpels will showcase his piece entitle this November at the Dubai Design District (d3).
The aim of the Middle East Emergent Designer Prize is to nurture emerging talent across the GCC and create global awareness by highlighting the region’s best designs.