Dubai buzzed with creative energy as Design Days Dubai #DDD2016 launched the city’s annual Art Week and Art Season. Running March 14-18, Design Days Dubai is the Middle East and South Asia’s only collectible design fair and presents more 250 limited edition modern and contemporary design pieces from more than 45 of the world’s established and emerging galleries and design talent, alongside a public programme of special projects, talks, workshops and guided tours.

In its Downtown Dubai location, under the shadows of the iconic Burj Khalifa tower, Made Journal couldn’t help but notice how the fifth edition of the fair more than ever served as a true focus for international design in the region; it is a place where local Emirati design talent and UAE-based-designers comfortably showcase shoulder-to-shoulder with exciting, contemporary international designers and galleries.

With such world-class, design creations on show Dubai Design Days sets the tone for the city’s international design vocabulary. Nature and the use of natural materials – woods, leather, marble – was a reoccurring theme across the fair. Many of the design creations also capitalised on the dualities of the organic and the engineered, of the highly technical and the traditional crafts.

Read on to see the Design Days Dubai trend for all things natural…


Michaela Schleypen’s Woodheart from her Floor-to-Heaven series, presented by Samovar, Kuwait. The Cologne-based designer’s hand-tufted rug mimicks the pattern of wood grain.Fadi-Sarieddine,-Hang-On-Hanging-Solution-Leather-and-Wood-Dims-Variable-(2014)-Courtesy-Fadi-Sarieddine-Design-Studio-web

Fade Sarieddine Design Studio’s Hang on Hanging Solution in leather and wood.AljoudLootah,-Unfolding-Unity-Stool-update-webMultidisciplinary designer, Aljoud Lootah, takes inspiration from patterns, folds and geometric shapes, including the eight-pointed star. The designer’s keen interest in the idea of contrasts in form and function saw the creation of The Unfolding Unity Stool, made of Carrara marble is specially created for Design Days Dubai. The stool is designed to explore the versatility of the structure by experimenting with various materials.ammar_1_1013x722.jpg

KALO, the UAE design studio founded by Ammar Kalo, presents work that interrogates the relationship between digital technology and traditional craft. Using production techniques that blend conventional material process with advanced digital fabrication methods, the designer and architect Ammar Kalo produces pieces that are both unique and functional. Ammar, who designs, fabricates and assembles all his prototypes utilises laminated plywood is much of his work. The unique formal and visual qualities of his Stratum chair was born out of a desire to create a piece of furniture that expresses its function and the material it uses in a very organic fashion, while taking advantage of advanced milling and fabrication technologies.


Gallery S. Bensimon presents Tempio Del Sole,- a design object by Marco Guazzini named MARWOOLUS. The materiality of the design is a representation of where he belongs to and where he grew up. Prato a textile industry town and Pietrasanta the town of marble, and Made Journal’s former home base! Informed by his identity of place, the designer combined the two resources, marble and wool, in a melted form to create a new material, which when broken down is a mixture of powdered marble and wool waste.


This year Art Factum Gallery presents Marc Dibeh who combines whimsy, rigour and elegance in his designs for interiors, furniture and objects. Souheil is an understated lamp made of brass and statuary marble.


Art Factum Gallery also presents acclaimed Lebanese designer, Karim Chaya, whose individual furniture pieces on show include the ‘Ferdinand’ and ‘Arlette #2’, a rocking chair made from American walnut and black leather.


Latoos, wooden stools, presented by Coalesce Design Studio. Local crafts and culture is a consistent and integral part of Coalesce’s design as an attempt to revive Pakistan’s dying crafts, while showcasing and celebrating its significance in a contemporary style.


Veronica Todisco’s Adaptations Lamp in carrara marble, presented by Milan’s Camp Design Gallery.

rick_tegelaar_bymashabakker-5675Atelier Rick Tagelaar, part of the NE-AR collective that is presented by the Dutch Creative Industry (DCI), juxtaposes natural materials, such as wood, bamboo and leather with industrial materials and processes. The designer, who often develops new tools, machines and processes to facilitate his designs, is fascinated by the way new tools and methods for working with common materials can unveal new hidden qualities and purposes.


Joe Bou Abboud wood lamps, presented by Squad Design.


‘Almost Natural Shelter’ by Architecture + Other Things, presented by Sharjah’s 1971 Design Space, is a striking installation that explores an alternative and nebulous relationship between natural and synthetic things. The installation’s structure of high density foam organically takes the shape of delicate coral.


Stephan Siepermann, represented at Design Days Dubai by Judy Straten Art-Design, handcrafts furniture objects, material concepts and interior products from his studio in Utrecht, Netherlands. The limited edition Mr.Knox is a ‘safe’ carved of oak, complete with moving and lockable gears that conceal wooden ‘gold’ bars inside.


And finally…Designer, Ranim Orouk, was announced as winner of 2016 Edition of ‘The Middle East Emergent Designer Prize’ by Van Cleef & Arpels with Tashkeel & Design Days Dubai.

Orouk’s winning design, which responded to the theme of Nature for the 2016 instalment of the Prize, was inspired by the effervescence of a school of jellyfish. With a dual function as a ceiling chandelier, or floor lamp, the piece Glow, takes the form and function from the sea creature, combining the production methods of traditional glassblowing and the advanced digital fabrication of 3D printing. To create the lighting pice, spheres of 3D printed glass are fused using curved acrylic rods that mimic the form of jellyfish legs. Once lit, the transmission of light throughout the piece emphasises the radiance emitted from a bloom of jellyfish.

Keep an eye on for more highlights from Design days Dubai, including the diverse international showing and creative homegrown talent.

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