Design Days Dubai: Rendezvous with Nature

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Cities set to be at the forefront of regional design

10 Innovative Global Designers Showcase Interpretation of Nature Through Functional Designs at Upcoming Design Days Dubai

The Cities collection at Design Days Dubai portrays the art of nature and the art of man, and how these two forces interact while using wood as a chief material for creation. The exhibition is an extension of Cities boutique in Riyadh and Dubai, which exists as a concept space, which takes clients on a journey through the design landscape of the world.

“When forming the Cities exhibit, we searched for the common thread which tied these diverse pieces together,” explains the owner of Cities boutique Hazem Aljesr, “Upon examination, we realized that we were repeatedly drawn to works which featured wood as a main element in creation. The natural element of wood presents a challenge, a history and a link to our surrounding world. Our exhibit can be read as a journey through creation using wood. We hope to encourage a reassessment and a re-evaluation of this essential material which is often overlooked despite its vital impact on our lives.”

With its versatility, beauty and natural texture, wood is art created by nature, yet placed in the hands of an artist, it can also become a tool of creation.  Each piece portrays a different interpretation of the medium and highlights the high quality craftsmanship and innovation of the designers.

Acclaimed Lebanese furniture designer Khaled El Mays is displaying work made specifically for the Cities’ exhibition at Design Days Dubai. His Oyster love seat, made of wood and mother of pearl, is an excellent representation of man shaping nature to fit his vision. That the seat resembles an oyster shell adds another layer, as it using natural materials to reference another aspect of nature.

Oyster love seat.- Khaled El Maysjpg

A Lebanese group consisting of an architect, a designer, and a social worker, Hawini is known for their versatile style and unique, statement-making pieces are presenting work made specifically for the exhibition, Hawini has created a series of tables called “Vernacular Tree Carving.” Presenting a blend between the art of nature and the art of man, each table is made of lumber wood and is covered with vernacular carvings of memories from all over. Each piece is unique in its presentation of memories that can travel with you through time and place.

German designer Ruediger Weidemann is contributing with the Konsair desk, made of cherry and plane wood, and raw waxed steel. An imposing, yet highly functional item, it perfectly reflects the theme of the Cities’ exhibit as it depicts nature and man working in harmony; the wood and steel materials are highlighted by the clean-cut design. Each element works in tandem to create a cohesive and visually appealing piece.

Konsair desk.- Ruediger Weidemann

UK based Christopher Duffy is revealing the anticipated Abyss Table which the design team at Duffy London spent a year developing, experimenting with sculpted glass, Perspex and wood, arranged like a 3-D representation of a geological map, until they re-created something of the mesmeric abyss that had first captured Duffy’s imagination. While previous works play with gravity, this new design is concerned with depth, and creates a geological cross-section as mesmerising as the sea.

Abyss Table - Christopher Duffy

The French Biscarrat brothers self-described as “Blacksmith Designers,” are known for their wrought iron creations. As members of the Ateliers d’Art de France, Olivier and Jean-Benoit have made a name for themselves with their high quality and carefully crafted pieces. But in this exhibition they were chosen for inclusion due to their exquisitely detailed work with wood. The chaise longue, which rests on a forged steel base, is a perfect depiction of man exerting his will over the beauty of nature and forming it into a desired shape and image.

chaise longue- Olivier and Jean-Benoit

German award winning designer Sebastian Herkner is not so much influenced by trends or current consumer criteria, because what interests him is a collage of simple techniques and traditional materials coupled with a simple mechanical principle and an unambiguous function. He was chosen to contribute to this exhibition because of his idea that sustainability consists of employing traditional manufacturing techniques and their unique character and then combines and interprets this by employing new technologies and finishing methods.

Einstein was right- Jérôme PereiraFrench designer Jérôme Pereira comes from a scientific background and is showcasing his floor lamp entitled Einstein Was Right (a story of light propagation…) is a thoughtful illustration of the theme of the Cities’ exhibition. Pereira’s focus in creating the lamp was to reference Einstein’s hypothesis that gravity and light travel at approximately the same speed. Proving this assumption correct reinforces the accuracy of many of Einstein’s theories and his theory of relativity is dependent on the veracity of this claim. For Cities, the use of wood as an integral part of the piece provides an interesting juxtaposition as the sharp angles and the movement suggested through the placement of each piece of wood could symbolize velocity or even suggest possible paths for the dissemination of light. Conversely, the precarious balance of each piece of wood is a reminder of the unarguable force of gravity.

Spanish Máximo Riera is to display the Wings of Life, one of the pieces from his Millennial Consoles collection. Each console is made using found pieces of wood from millenarian olive trees from the south of Spain. The consoles are manufactured from trees that are sourced as a whole, and only two or three consoles can be obtained from each tree. The preparation process involves removing the tree sap, drying the tree, and stripping it of its bark. The ancient wood is then treated and polished and placed on a custom-made metallic structure.

Wings of Life- Máximo Riera

Italian Filippo Dini brings Arca horn sculptures to the exhibition, chosen for their unique use of wood. Arca’s quality is globally recognized and the workshop houses approximately 20 craftsmen, using techniques that are centuries old, the horn is worked over open fires, each piece passes through at least 12 hands before it is finished. Each sculpture is placed on a base of wood taken from the canals of Venice. The use of repurposed wood connects each piece to its country of origin and provides a built-in history for each creation. It is a weighty statement on nature and its ability to sustain its usefulness and beauty despite evolving forms, its exposure to different elements, and the passage of time.

Arca horn sculptures-Filippo Dini

Pearl Cork’s main raw material is cork sourced in Portugal for the design, creation, manufacture, distribution and marketing of decorative products and furniture. Stocork’s Beak is a baby crib carved from a single cork block in a shape reminiscent of a nest. The use of cork shows not only a commitment to the environment, but is also an example of the future of design, where high-quality and sophisticated items can be created without doing any harm to our surroundings. As such, it is this piece which can be looked at as the crux of the Cities’ collection. Here, man is not in contrast to nature, nor is he exerting his will over nature to its detriment. Instead he shows his ability to use what nature has provided to improve his own life while not causing any damage to our physical world.

Visit Cities Exhibition at the Fourth Addition of Design Days Dubai from 16-20 March at “The Venue”, Downtown.

About Cities:

With a vision to introducing exceptionally crafted contemporary design and art, Cities first opened its doors in 2006, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  After successfully building a solid reputation in its first location, a second showroom was introduced in Dubai U.A.E. Today, Cities exists as a concept space, which takes clients on a journey through the design landscape of the world.

Sourced from all around the world, each piece within the Cities’ collection is handpicked from a variety of International and Middle Eastern talents.  Artisans and renowned designers from all across the globe choose Cities as an arena to display and share their authentic creations.  Cities also works hand-in-hand with many upcoming artists from the Middle East and Gulf regions to highlight their contributions to the field of art and design.

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