Three-generation old Beirut carpetmaker returns to Dubai Design Week and Downtown Design with groundbreaking presentations revealing collaborations by local and international design stars

Avant-garde expression and pushing creative boundaries have become part and parcel of Lebanese carpet maker Iwan Maktabi’s defining character. For decades, the company has merged oriental carpet design with contemporary carpets, made by collaborating with up and coming or established artists, designers and architects. The carpet maker is participating this year in Dubai Design Week and Downtown Design with new launches that showcase inspiring talents from the local Gulf region and internationally.

For Dubai Design Week, Iwan Maktabi is presenting the exhibition “Terminal G” inside a building in Dubai Design District (d3). The “G” in the title stands for Gulf and the word terminal refers to an airport terminal, a phrase that reflects on the constant travel that connects countries in the Arabian Gulf. The show reveals the carpet maker’s first collection of specially made carpets and woven arts deigned by creatives in the Gulf, including Emirati designers Afra and Sheikha Bin Dhaher presenting the Taghrouda collection; Architects Independent from Qatar; Aseel AlYaqoub from Kuwait presenting the ‘Water Memory’ collection; Saudi artist Sultan bin Fahad who will present the ‘Delights’ collection; Bahraini-Danish from Bahrain and Ibrahim Al-Jaidah from Qatar.

The exhibition was curated by Samer Yamani and through his guidance Iwan Maktabi discovered talents from across the GCC, including from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

“The Gulf region is known for its ambitious economies and fast-growing cities, which impacts its lifestyle and interactions,” explains Yamani. “The modern infrastructure and active aviation scene, the ease of mobility between the GCC cities, creates a dialogue around today's common subjects like local identity, water desalination, architecture, and urbanism, among others. Terminal G is a unique presentation of contemporary Khaliji culture through the eyes of its creatives using the art of weaving carpets as a medium of expression.”

The works on show draw their inspiration predominantly from the unique traditional practices of the Arab and Gulf region. Each creative is assigned a technique, visual reference, and topic to guide their conceptualization. Topics cover traveling rituals, local topography, the relationship of a city and its dwellers, nostalgia, tradition and much more through the works of the following regional creatives.

During Downtown Design, on the other hand, Iwan Maktabi is showcasing selections from cc-tapis, the Milan-based Italian design company. Featured will be new carpet collaborations with some of the leading designers of today including carpets by Bethan Laura Wood, Odd Matter, Patricia Urquiola, Mae Engelgeer, and a special focus on Duccio Maria Gambi.