Dubai:  Furniture designer, architect and more. Anna Szonyi is a multi-disciplinary creative, whose Boomerang Bench, the urban seating installation, saw the designer win the inaugural Urban Commissions competition. We ask Anna about her work and the annual Design Days Dubai initiative, which aims to to transform Dubai and nurture the city’s design talent. Urban Commissions is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Dubai Design District (d3).


Creativity and artistic work shall not have limits or rules


Your work is very diverse – architect, furniture designer and painter – did you have a creative upbringing?

As a creative person I believe in cross-disciplinary methods when working. Each creative project or idea can be inspired more from another discipline then what it actually is. I studied at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, where other than gaining technical knowledge I learnt to paint, draw, sculpting, art philosophy etc… Therefore I have a wide range of tools and I like to use them without boundaries. Creativity and artistic work shall not have limits or rules. What you learnt or know is your tool only and it should be used the way you can execute projects and express your ideas the most efficient way.

Tell us about the Boomerang Bench.

The idea was submitted for the Urban Commissions competition by d3, Dubai Culture and Design Days Dubai and it won first prize. A prototype of the bench was prepared for Design Days Dubai competition. It is an urban seating installation that attempts to reflect the never ending momentum of our cities.

What attracts you to furniture design and is the bench now a permanent fixture at d3?

Furniture design marries functional planning, structural thinking, sculptural imagination, composition of colors, finishes and materials. Unlike architecture that usually remains only a fiction, a final furniture piece can be executed in a relatively short period of time, and ta-da something new has been born. It can be validated without words or description just by looking at it and trying it.

Furniture is tangible and people (the viewers – the users) have a physical connection and can develop emotional links to these objects. It can be very personal or very general. It is free artistic expression but it has to be functional and logical at the same time. I like that it has many aspects.

The bench is now a permanent fixture at d3 and I am hoping that I will be able to install more pieces there once the area expands.


What was it like to win the Urban Commissions and have your work displayed at Design Days? What was the public’s response to the design?

I took it as an opportunity from life to prove that I am able to create an unusual idea and execute it in a really short period of time. One of the biggest concerns I had before the exhibition was about the final quality. I was concerned that visitors naturally will compare it with the other exhibitors’ pieces, which would be of much higher quality due to the fact that those were developed throughout years and fabricated with the highest quality of manual or machine made craftsmanship.

Thanks to the fabricator’s enthusiasm and professionalism the quality of the Boomerang Bench was above expectation at the end and the public’s response was incredibly good. Everyone who passed by noticed it, had an urge to touch it, play with it and sit on it. Even the exhibitors often came to have a rest on it during their breaks, the area around the bench became quite sociable place. It means that it is functional and comfortable as well.

What’s next for Anna Szonyi?

Firstly, whats next for the Boomerang Bench… I have set up partnership, perfected the details and improved for industrial production with a french urban furniture manufacturing company, Aubrilam. It will be available on the UAE, GCC, US and European market by the end of the year with a new name “IDO”. I am currently developing a full range of urban furniture around this idea and aesthetics, as well as some limited edition pieces.

In the mean time, I have started to work on a large conceptual art project for public spaces that focuses on human perception, our senses, on meteorology and climatic studies as well.