Founders of creative brand Wild Arab West (WAW) Hessa Ali Alechla and Iman Al Midfa quickly made waves during Dubai Design Week 2021 with their interactive installation, the WAW Machine, where they presented a unique concept to promote kindness through compliments and motivational sayings in the form of a vending machine, delighting visitors during the week-long event.

“The idea behind the concept was that we wanted to create something interactive that people would enjoy, but also promote spreading kindness – to yourself as well as to others,” Al Midfa said. “The messages that were placed in the machine were made up of affirmations, cultural sayings and compliments in both English and Arabic that were relevant to all genders and ages.”

Established during the global pandemic between long-time friends and UAE nationals Ali Alechla and Al Midfa, WAW is a platform aimed at highlighting the fusion between Eastern and Western culture though art, lifestyle and entertainment.

“We started our Instagram platform in May 2020 in the hopes of bridging the gap of such cultures in a way that is relevant and relatable to the current generation, while also spreading positivity as that is one of the key values of our brand,” said Ali Alechla.

After holding their own exhibition at Dubai Design District in 2020, the duo has since grown their Instagram platform to more than 60,000 followers, and have also launched a line of merchandise, including clothes, iPhone covers and stickers, with more to come soon.

Their latest project, the WAW machine, garnered much attention during Dubai Design Week last November, inciting positive feedback among visitors and a promise of similar interventions in the future.

“We were pleasantly surprised about the reaction of the audience to the machine and we look forward to sharing our exciting upcoming projects on our Instagram feed in the upcoming months,” Al Midfa said, adding “We are currently working on expanding on the idea of the vending machine and aim to have it exhibited in other places and events in the future.”