A simple tool for stamping bread before it enters the oven, a version of hair-cutting shears and a line of mail-order catalogue products are the innovative and thoughtful design products emerging from the 2018 edition of DRAK or Design Ras Al Khor. This collective initiative was founded in 2014 by four UAE-based designers aimed at drawing attention to the Ras Al Khor Industrial Area and its creative potential. Every year, under a different theme, the collective encourage research, innovation, and material exploration within Ras Al Khor to add momentum to the growing design movement within Dubai.
This year, the project is titled From RAK to DRAK and is dedicated towards the community of people who live in Ras Al Khor – one of the oldest areas in the city and the second largest industrial area. Three designers have been assigned to three commercial outlets to study the movement and use of the daily visitors at each place. Then, after much research and observation, each designer will come up with a product that fuses function with a contemporary aesthetic.
Khalid Mezaina, an Emirati with a background in graphic design was selected to observe the bakeries, where many passersby (mostly men from the Asian subcontinent) stop to purchase bread to eat at the affordable price of one dirham. Mezaina found that they buy bread not just for sustenance, but a taste of home. Drawn to the repetitive and efficient system of the baking process, Mezaina’s attention was drawn to the manual process of pressing dots onto the dough before it is cooked. The process is both to decorate the bread and it gives texture to it. Inspired by this simple gesture within the process, Mezaina is developing a tool that stamps designs and patterns onto the surface of the bread.
Amal Haliq, an Emirati jewellery designer who is fascinated by gemstones spent time at the Ras Al Khor barbershop for this project. She was mostly attracted to the tools of the trade, the hair-cutting shears - scissors specifically designed for cutting hair – and in particular the finger brace or tang, which is an appendage attached to one of the finger rings. Using innovation and creativity, Haliq has redesigned the shears and the finger brace into a surprising alternative.
Faissal El-Malak’s research went on inside the calligrapher and advertising signs outlet. As the activity of this company is mainly concentrated on promotional merchandise, it inspired El-Malak to consider the way in which we shop. For this designer, whose often works with Palestinian embroidery in his practice, he worked on his own contemporary language for a branded line of products and clothing.
The progress and design process of the entire project was documented by Ola Allouz, a professional photographer who is also filming in and around Ras Al Khor industrial area for her ongoing cinematography project.
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