Ahead of this year's inaugural Dubai Design Week, which promises to shine a spotlight on a hotbed of new and undiscovered talent from the Middle East, a little slice of the region has arrived in London with Shubbak; the UK's biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture. Intended to bring Arab creative talent to a new audience, this year's edition of the festival will feature the work of influential Emirati object and furniture designer, Khalid Shafar, who has teamed with the glitzy new Dubai Design District (known as d3), to produce an interactive public installation.
For his international interactive design debut, Shafar has conjured a contemporary architectural reinterpretation of the Arish – a traditional Gulf house made from palm trees and fronds – which functions as both a sculptural installation and a social space. Called 'The Nomad', an open framework of African teak planks sprout out of a central column arching downwards towards the floor to create a circular shelter. Within its walls, visitors can take a nap, meet, eat and drink on the curved bench system that lies within. The design of the freestanding structure was one of several proposals conceived by Khalid for a public seating design for d3’s new creative community in Dubai, UAE.
'Collaborations and co-creations are at the heart of what we do at d3,' says Lindsay Miller, Managing Director at d3, which is set to unveil the first stage of its vast development in October. 'So we are delighted to have partnered with London’s popular Shubbak Festival, which will showcase fantastic installations such as The Nomad. The festival also provides the d3 team with an opportunity to acquire new insight and expertise on global design trends that may support the successful development of our own creative community.'
Installed in the grounds of the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at Chelsea College until 26 July, the Nomad will make its way to d3 later this year in time for Dubai Design Week, where Khalid hopes it will inspire new emerging designers.