Building on the success of last year’s inaugural Downtown Editions, the 2019 showcase will present new stories and perspectives on design from the Middle East.
Downtown Editions, Downtown Design’s fair section for limited-edition and bespoke design is not only a platform for established and emerging designers from the Middle East to engage with the design community, but it also springs the diverse points of view that define the contemporary design emerging from the region.
Emirati designer Aljoud Lootah will present a numbered, limited-edition collection of boxes inspired by the Mandoos, a traditional Emirati dowry chest. Updating the box through material manipulation featuring leather and metalwork techniques, Lootah builds on her portfolio of products inspired by the UAE’s heritage.
Also seeking inspiration from the region, UAE-based designer Hajer Abdullah will launch her studio with a collection of furniture and accessories that draw from the region’s rich equestrian heritage and her passion for horses. She will present a seating collection that features braided leather – a nod to the intricate braiding often found on horses in the Middle East. A space designed like an urban oasis will set the scene for Abdullah’s debut.
Father and son duo, Wajih and Omar Nakkash are beloved names in regional contemporary design. For Downtown Editions 2019, the team behind the Nakkash Gallery sought inspiration from the Levantine design ethos, combining artisanal crafts and noble materials with a contemporary view.
Presenting the final works of the 2019 class of Tanween will also feature within Downtown Editions. Architect Abdulla Al Mulla, interior designer Lana El Samman and graphic designer Yara Habib will present a diverse collection of accessories to furniture. These works combine the knowledge and skills they gained throughout the programme with narratives inspired by their individual experiences and viewed through the lens of their chosen fields of design expertise.
For his fair debut, Kuwaiti designer Meshary Alnassar has collaborated with a workshop in Puglia, Italy to develop a family of lamps inspired by his childhood fascination with form. Using recomposed marble, he interprets Nature’s equilibrium inherent to stone, delivering a collection that is nimble and sculptural.
Working towards the social, economic and professional empowerment of Emirati craftswomen, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council will present its most ambitious project to date at Downtown Editions 2019. Their latest collection marries traditional crafts techniques with the aesthetics of leading regional and international contemporary designers, re-positioning Emirati crafts and the artisan women behind it within the present-day context
Also presenting at Downtown Editions 2019, studios such as 1971 Design Space, Kawn, Kashida, Jeel and Roudha Al Shamsi, amongst others, will bring their unique narratives to the regional design scene.
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