Middle East Revealed: Wallpaper* and d3 celebrate design talent at Salone del Mobile
Wallpaper* had a first look at the multidisciplinary creative movements from the Middle East with a succinct compendium exhibited during London Design Festival 2014. This year we expanded on our view of Arabic design talent with the second instalment of 'Middle East Revealed,' our celebratory digest of design from the region in collaboration with Dubai Design District (d3). As part of our Milanese Wallpaper* Arcade during Salone del Mobile, the exhibition gave an insight into fields that span from furniture design to photography.
Curated by Wallpaper* editor-at-large Suzanne Trocmé in collaboration with Design Days Dubai founder Cyril Zammit, the exhibition offered a comprehensive view of the region’s rich cultural influences and the design approach of a new generation of creatives.
The Milan exhibition revisited the work of a few designers featured in Wallpaper’s first show, such as Khalid Shafar and Aljoud Lootah, both of whom presented new pieces that gracefully connected cultures and visual languages with striking design objects. Shafar’s ‘2:4 Chairs’ and ‘Puzzle rug’, for instance, are inspired by the popular sand souvenirs found in the Emirates which use different colors of sand to create graphic patterns under glass. His textile work takes the cliché souvenirs to the next level, transforming the subtle sand tones into vibrant shades arranged in abstract, graphic compositions and used both as woven and upholstery textiles. Lootah’s pieces, on the other hand, combine the intricate construction of origami with precise craftsmanship. The resulting 'Oru' collection gives a poetic three-dimensionality to flat sheets of wood.
New additions to the roster included young Istanbul-based designer Tamer Nakisci, whose ‘Futureisblank’ collection of felt hats give traditional Turkish headgear a contemporary shape. Also part of the show was David/Nicolas, a Beirut-based design duo whose sophisticated ‘Loulou/Hoda’ series of opulent objects bridged the gap between classic Lebanese aesthetic and modern design.
Overall, the exhibition painted a fitting picture of the current, and burgeoning state of Middle Eastern creativity.