Manama-based design collective Bahraini Danish were one of the international designers selected to showcase their work as part of the Unsighted exhibition that took place during Milan Design Week.
Exhibited inside a 19th century palazzo in the heart of the city’s historical capital, 5 Vie, the exhibition was curated by Milan-based Canadian architect Nicolas Bellevance-Lecompte, who co-founded Carwan Gallery in Beirut in 2011, where he currently serves as director.
Lecompte has also curated Middle East-related design exhibitions for the Beirut Art Center and the Am Qattan Foundation in London, among others.
Having tasked designers to create objects while being unaware of the context, the objects become active and autonomous agents within their environments, with a focus on impacting space rather than complementing it.
In what is described as an “anti-brief”, the lack of context aims to withdraw from standard parameters, and emancipates a sense of style, spatial specifications, and project demands.
Bahraini Danish, formed by architects Batool Alshaikh, Maitham Almubarak, and Christian Vennerstrom Jensen, created seven individual coffee and side tables cut from Giallo Avorio marble, in various dimensions and sizes.
Each table is presented in rectangular form with a cut on the side, allowing it to be placed against any wall in any room, with an intention to create an object that stands out within any space.
All the cuts on the sides of the table are aligned to an invisible rectangle, inscribing a “space within a space”, and are then able to come together to form a group of “familiar objects” with an “implicit logic”.
The exhibition featured a total of eight designers, all creating a diverse range of objects.
Some of the other exhibitors includes Swedish-Chilean designer Anton Alvarez, who created a variety of objects in glazed ceramic, which had been pressed by a machine called the Extruder, which the designer himself created.
The collection is called Yves Kiln, a nod to French artist Yves Klein’s famous blue colour, in which the objects are painted.
Dana Barnes from the USA, who creates textural and sculptural works, objects, and site-specific architectural installations created a abstract and organic wood wall installation using raw fibers, created through a technique of hand-knotting and shearing to make up a wet-bonded amorphous structure.
France-based designer Eric Schmitt created a cast, spun, and lacquered aluminium lighting piece made up on two elements that can be installed on an axis or completely offset, combining both floor and ceiling lights.
South Korean designer Jeonghwa Seo created a set of stools and table that combine various tactilities, and made by different artisans, according to the materials used which include brass, oxidised copper, cast aluminium, acrylic, and rosewood.
Based between Vancouver and Berlin, Omer Arbel created a series of copper mesh glass vases, made by suspending a bubble of white glass within a fine copper mesh basket that is plunged into hot clear glass. Air is then blown into the matrix to gently push the white glass through the mesh, creating a delicate pillowed form that rests inside the the thick outer layer of clear glass.
Dublin-based Niamh Barry created what she describes as a “study of the human form under the precarious impossibility of balancing the weight of light”, while Italian designer Roberto Sironi designed various furniture pieces in casted bronze and glazed ceramic, conceived as “contemporary ruins”.