This year, Dubai Design Week has selected Cairo to be the focus of the the popular 'Iconic City' project.
Back by popular demand, Dubai Design Week has selected Cairo to be the focus of this year’s ‘Iconic City’ project, which will entail an exploration into the culture and design scene within Cairo. The project explores the current design landscape, as well as celebrates emerging talent and developing innovation in design and architecture in one of the world's largest and oldest cities.
This year’s curator; Cairo-based architect, independent researcher and writer Mohamed Elshahed places emphasis on sustainable design, along with the culture of upcycling within Egypt as a major focus for this project. "Cairo Now! sheds light on the city's emerging designers who, despite the lack of a marketplace or an infrastructure supporting their practices, continue to innovate, to turn the city’s trash into new products and revive fading traditions with a contemporary edge.” Explains Alshahed.
Dina Naguib’s Ehem, develops the concept of upcycling through seeking new meaning for humble-found objects, and using them to create experimental, abstract and functional art. She produces operative lights using pipes as the main body. This upcycled use of the pipes is the perfect example of the city’s trash being restructured into a functional household object. Similarly, Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem, through the design studio Reform, have put to use old chairs and reconstructed them to create modern looking and functional furniture, with a taste of the ubiquitous chairs of the street coffee shops or 'Ahawi' sprawled across the city's alleyways and neighborhoods.
Another pair of designers, Yara Yassine and Rania Rafei, from Up-fuse design and produce bags made out of upcycled plastic bags as well as other environmentally friendly and locally produced materials. Up-fuse is a Cairo-based startup company that promotes a sustainable and eco-conscious lifestyle. It celebrates both the sustainability of design, as well as the importance of promoting the skills and talents of local artisans. The Lighting Wheel, designed by Mohamed Nabil Labib, is a decorative discarded bicycle wheel with lights along the circumference producing a festive design.
These pieces all celebrate the limitless possibilities there are when it comes to upcycling, in terms of design and innovation, and are nod to the city's aesthetic and traditions. The theme of incompleteness is a reflection of the city’s status quo from its disjointed transport system, partially restored historic buildings and speculative urbanism where buildings are never fully completed to avoid taxation.
Works from over 65 Egyptian designers and creatives will be on view; from architecture, product, furniture, graphic, and typeface design. Iconic City: Cairo Now! City Incomplete exhibition will be showcased at d3 from October 24-29, 2016.
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