In support of the UK/UAE 2017 a Year of Creative Collaboration, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) – the Emirate’s dedicated entity for culture, arts and heritage –brought 10 celebrated UK designers to showcase their work during Design Days Dubai at the ‘Britain Takes Shape’ exhibition.
The exhibition, was very well received during its debut at the 6th edition of Design Days Dubai. Curated by Suzanne Trocmé, an award-winning furniture designer, the exhibit offered visitors a vivid glimpse into the minds of creators who are not afraid to push boundaries. Trocmé selected the 10 contributors for their distinct and original design vocabulary, and all of the designs that were on display were produced in the UK as one-off pieces or in small-batch production to be shown for the first time in the UAE.
Some of the designers invigorated old industries, including 1882 Ltd – a design-led ceramics brand that presents works by Max Lamb and Amy Hughes at Design Days Dubai.
Other designers pushed the envelope in the name of design advancement, including Frederikson Stallard’s avant-garde ‘Hurricane Mirror Silver’, ‘Rock #9’, ‘Species III’ and ‘Vendôme’ installations.
Furniture featured heavily in the exhibition and was taken to its limits by designers like Brodie Neill, who showcased a collection of custom-made chairs made with materials ranging from reclaimed plastic and woods to optically transparent glass and Corian. In a similar vein, Richard Woods and Sebastian Wong collaborated to create pieces that merge contemporary design with wood effects, including ‘Bent Wood Table’, ‘Circle Line Table’ and ‘Logo Chair.’ Michael Wolfson also redefined furniture at Design Days Dubai, by presenting mini origami chairs in acid patina steel, carbon fibre loungers, and the minimalist ‘Split High Chair’ and ‘Split Chair Low.’
Embracing the spirit of collaboration, Bethan Gray’s collection was created in partnership with Mohamad Reza Shamsian – a masterful Iranian artist – and his team of 70 highly skilled craftsmen in Muscat, Oman. The collection was inspired by Omani architecture and features intricate marquetry – a traditional Islamic craft dating back to the sixteenth century.
Running alongside the exhibition were a series of talks and workshops hosted by the British-based designers, giving UAE audiences a compelling and personal insight into the UK’s design scene.
Dubai Culture is a strategic partner of both Design Days Dubai and the Year of Creative Collaboration, which is led by the British Council and held under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The initiative aims to encourage collaboration, cooperation and cultural exchange between UAE, regional and international government entities and private sector companies.
In this context, ‘Britain Takes Shape’ served as part of Dubai Culture’s diverse cultural and artistic programme, which strengthens existing relationships and creates new ones between people, institutions and businesses to further establish the UAE as a thriving cultural destination, attract international talent, resources and visitors.