Design Days Dubai steps things up a gear for its 2014 outing

'Pixel' tables, by Russian designer Ilia Potemine, presented by Gallery S Bensimon at Design Days Dubai. Three block stepped shaped tables in different colours.
'Pixel' tables, by Russian designer Ilia Potemine, presented by Gallery S Bensimon at Design Days Dubai.
(Image credit: TBC)

Parisian-born Cyril Zammit launched Design Days Dubai (DDD) in 2012 with 22 regional and international galleries. Last week, 33 galleries attended the 2014 edition of the fair, with eight of them returning for the third year in a row. In a short time, DDD has grown from a small, optimistic venture to an important fixture in the design fair calendar. And the event has a formed its own unique character - it is a fair about people, for people, and by people.

The loyal gallerists who have been part of DDD from the beginning include Lebanese architect Pascale Wakim and Canadian architect Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte, who founded Carwan Gallery; Parisian Loic Le Gaillard and Julien Lombrail, who established Carpenters Workshop Gallery; São Paulo-based Coletivo Amor de Madre founder Olivia Yassudo; Southern Guild's Trevyn and Julian McGowan; and Victor Hunt Designart Dealer founder Alexis Ryngaert. Their patience and endurance paid off in this third edition, when critical acclaim developed into good sales.

Housed under the sprawling canvas roof of the fair tent, beneath the teetering Burj Khalifa, were products from both regional and international contemporary designers and artists. Wakim and Bellavance-Lecompte channelled the style and skills of the Gulf creatives; works from Iranian artist Taher Asad-Bakhtiari and Lebanese artist Wyssem Nochi, designers Nada Debs and Chekerdjian sat seamlessly next to UK-based Michael Anastassiades' 'Miracle Chips' installation (originally commissioned for Wallpaper* Handmade 2013).

Galerie Yves Gastou, meanwhile, landed at the fair with elegant works by 20th-century avant-garde design masters Philippe Hiquily, Ado Chale and Paul Evans, accented with Emmanuel Babled's 'Osmosi' collection in carrara marble and murano glass. 'People here ask no bad questions,' says gallerist Victor Gastou, 'they are willing to understand all kinds of beauty.' This open-mindedness may, in part, be due to the increased diversity of the fair's visitors this year, who came to the DDD not just to browse and socialise, but to seriously invest in pieces and their creators.

A new addition to the fair was the 'Discovery' section, with French galleries Galerie Gosserez, Gallery S Bensimon, NextLevel Galerie and Ymer & Malta selected to exhibit. Elswhere, a hidden gem sitting modestly in a corner of Austrian silversmith Wiener Silber Manufactur's stand was Erwin Wurm's zuccheriera, a 'fat sugar box' evolved from his famous 'Fat Car' series - the artist's first encounter with silver.

There was a strong list of galleries from the region this year. FN Designs from Dubai showed works by 10 UAE-based designers, as part of a '10-100-1000' initiative; Pakistan-based Coalesce Design Studio gave a fresh perspective to its own nation's culture with its collection of offerings; and the 'Deglobalizer' project by Paolo Cardini, a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, displayed global IKEA products adapted to fit local life. The work raised questions about how international and local design can converge to create a common recognisable hybrid.

The highly anticipated Dubai Design District (d3) is due to open next year, and the next Design Days Dubai edition will see a new and extended venue. 'All the work is for the success of Dubai and to make Dubai a "must" in the global circuit,' says Zammit.

A marble hollow square with two glass shapes built into it in front of a wooden chest of drawers..

Galerie Yves Gastou showed Emmanuel Babled's 'Osmosi' collection, crafted from carrara marble and murano glass.

(Image credit: TBC)

Wooden side tables of different shapes on a raised white platform in front of a wall with logos printed on it and a wall with the wooden numbers 10, 100 and 1000 on it.

FN Designs from Dubai exhibited the works of 10 UAE-based designers as part of its '10-100-1000' initiative.

(Image credit: TBC)

A painting printed onto a carpet on a raised platform with a large window behind it.

South African painter John Murray joined forces with master carpet maker Paco Pakdoust to translate artworks into the medium of wool and silk, on display at the Southern Guild stand.

(Image credit: TBC)

From left: containers by Nada Debs; 'Baz' rugs by Taher Asad-Bakhtiari; 'Series 3' by Karen Chekerdjian; 'Petal' chairs by Wyssem Nochi; 'Landscape' table by India Mahdavi; and 'Bubble' series lighting by Lindsey Adelman, at the Carwan Gallery stand.

From left: containers by Nada Debs; 'Baz' rugs by Taher Asad-Bakhtiari; 'Series 3' by Karen Chekerdjian; 'Petal' chairs by Wyssem Nochi; 'Landscape' table by India Mahdavi; and 'Bubble' series lighting by Lindsey Adelman, at the Carwan Gallery stand.

(Image credit: TBC)

A close up view of a colourful patterned carpet.

São Paulo-based Coletivo Amor de Madre presented collaborations with Hong Kong Tai Ping Carpets, by Chen Chen & Kai Williams.

(Image credit: TBC)

A close-up look at German designer Elisa Strozyk's 'Reflecting Blue' rug, from the series ’Coloured Wooden Rugs’, for Hamburg's Stilwerk Design Gallery. A carpet made of many triangles of different colours.

A close-up look at German designer Elisa Strozyk's 'Reflecting Blue' rug, from the series ’Coloured Wooden Rugs’, for Hamburg's Stilwerk Design Gallery.

(Image credit: TBC)

Erwin Wurm's zuccheriera, a 'fat sugar box' evolved from his famous 'Fat Car' series - the artist's first encounter with silver - at the Wiener Silber Manufactur stand.

Erwin Wurm's zuccheriera, a 'fat sugar box' evolved from his famous 'Fat Car' series - the artist's first encounter with silver - at the Wiener Silber Manufactur stand.

(Image credit: TBC)

Four shell shaped bowls.

’Less: 'N°1. Catenary Pottery Printer', by Chilean design group Gt2p (Great Things To People), at the Coletivo Amor de Madre stand.

(Image credit: TBC)

A gold decorated wooden console with two ornament elephants on it in front of a wall with a large tapestry on it.

Carpenters Workshop Gallery called on Parisian antiques dealer Steinitz to wow fair-goers with a grand setting for its stand at the fair. Pictured is 'Swarm Study / VI' by Random International.

(Image credit: TBC)

A detail of 'Swarm Study / VI', by Random International, at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery stand.

A detail of 'Swarm Study / VI', by Random International, at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery stand.

(Image credit: TBC)

A white console with different shaped black ornaments on it next to a doorway.

'L'Age Du Monde Collection', by Mathieu Lehanneur, and a new edition of 'Fragile Future', by Studio Drift, at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery stand.

(Image credit: TBC)

A coffee table made of a metal wire grid with wood in some of the slots to form a pattern in front of various shaped chairs and ornaments.

Pakistan-based Coalesce Design Studio explored how heavily Pakistanis' lifestyle relates to the nature with its collection of furniture and objects.

(Image credit: TBC)

A cylindrical metal object on top of a black vertically rectangular stand.

ÉCAL presented 'Full Turn', by media and interaction design student (and Wallpaper* Graduate Directory talent) Benjamin Muzzin.

(Image credit: TBC)

A hollow square object with black on the outside and white on the inside with hanging light bulbs and circular white objects on the floor below them.

Carwan Gallery brought Michael Anastassiades' 'Miracle Chips' installation, first created for Wallpaper* Handmade 2013, to the Middle East.

(Image credit: TBC)

A room with different shaped mirrors on white walls.

'Please Don’t Tell Mom’ (left), by Marc Dibeh, and 'Oblique' (right), by Beirut-born designer Karim Chaya, at the Art Factum Gallery stand.

(Image credit: TBC)

A studio with a desk against the wall, a chair with a tree trunk for a base, long vertical wall lights and a glass tank on a black metal platform.

Victor Hunt Designart Dealer added Netherlands-based Commonplace Studio to its already burgeoning roster of designers.

(Image credit: TBC)

A chair where the seat and backrest is made of round objects along the rim and it is hollow between them.

'Crown' chair, by Roben, for Stilwerk Design Gallery.

(Image credit: TBC)

A floor area with a wooden rocking horse, a brown mat with Arabic text on it, various wooden toys and a square table with a tea set on it.

The 'Deglobalizer' project by Paolo Cardini, a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, displayed global IKEA products adapted to fit local life. The pieces raised questions about how international and local design can converge to create a common recognisable hybrid.

(Image credit: TBC)

Various sized and shaped tables with lamps and mirrors on them in front of a black wall with a large golden object on it.

Gallerist Marie-Bérangère Gosserez brought with her works by Gt2p, Valentin Loellmann, Os and Oos and Elise Gabriel.

(Image credit: TBC)