Space age to recycled design ideas exhibited in Dubai

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Lithuanian designer Jonas Jurgatis claims he was captured by extraterrestrials who instructed him to bring the design for the sofa to earth.

A ‘Tufty’ chair looks like an exotic plant, while the “alien” sofa resembles something from the space age. “Night Flowers” are made from ceramics and designed as window shades.

The objects are all on display at the Design Days Dubai exhibition.

Also on display is a piece called the ‘Clock Clock’. All 24 clocks create one giant display similar to that of a digital watch. Every 60 seconds a mechanical choreography takes place.

Design clock
Design clock

An entire sitting room, complete with chandelier, is made from plastic wire and wool.

Cutting edge technology is used to turn these simple materials into a three dimensional space.

Created by Italian designers Andrea Mancuso and Emilia Serra, ‘The Analogia Project’ shows that age old materials are not exclusive from new technology.

The installation reflects the origins of modern design with references to the architect Le Corbusier shown in the ribbon windows. There’s also a Frank Lloyd Wright and a Mackintosh chair and a Noguchi table.

The show designer Cyril Zammit says they had brought together an eclectic mix of designers from all over the world.

“We are very proud this year to have the largest diversity of design in the entire world, and there are no design fairs in the world who can really claim the same thing that we do. It’s fresh, it’s contemporary and it’s extremely diverse - from Melbourne to Mexico. We have designers from Mali in Africa, from Taipei. We have designers from the Middle
East, so you can’t find a better choice of objects and panel of different objects than here.”

Nature was one of the themes of the show with these sculptures showing the beauty and texture of wood.


‘White Baskets’ is designed by American artist and furniture maker Christian Burchard, who exploits the wood’s natural color and properties.

‘Beyond the Maghreb’ is a wall piece made from sheets of wood that are cut when green and left to dry and bleach.
South African designs were some of the highlights of the show with Southern Guild exhibiting 20 designers’ work.

These included this wattle nest for adults by Porky Hefer. It’s called ‘Audrey Esca’ named after a fish that swims along the bottom of the sea with a light. The interior is made from handmade fishing nets.

Also on display was a glass bead-work picture by the painter Wayne Barker.

Design from recycled products was a major theme at the show.

Belgian designer Jens Proe, who lives in Tuscany, France, makes cabinets out of recycled paper. He was in the process of making a cabinet out of 12 Harpers’ Bazaar magazines.

“Offices at the school generated at least one bag of shredded documents every day. So I thought to myself in this digital world we should actually do something with it. So I did a couple of trials with the intention just to play with the material and when I saw that actually the material got quite sturdy and hard I decided to create a line of objects with it,” Proe said.

From recycled paper to cans, bottles and construction waste.

British designer Alex Groves and Azusa Murakami make lights from beer bottles and chairs from cans. For the show they were making a chair a day from construction waste and camel leather.

In Dubai, 70 per cent of landfill waste is from the construction industry.

The chair is made from reba, which is used to reinforce concrete and from marble scraps.

“We’re really interested in the opportunities that cities present. And in nature there is no such thing as waste but in our civilisation there’s lots of waste and lots of opportunities for transforming it into desirable things,” explains Alex.

Californian designer David Wiseman uses nature as an inspiration for his works.

Wiseman aims to capture and preserve the fleeting beauty of natural forms such as blossoming trees or a spider web.

The designs are based on fruits and trees and flowers are combined in works such as these branch chandeliers made from the remains of a tree that fell near David’s home.

This chandelier is also inspired by nature. It’s made from dried dandelions.

One of the designers Ralph Nauta says he wants to show that nature and modernity are not exclusive.
“It’s a way for us to show that nature and technology are more similar in ways that we can’t imagine.”

Around nine thousand pearls from the United Arab Emirate of Rak al Khamai were used to make this chair, designed by Khalid Shafar.

Lebanon features strongly at the show.

These sculptures, by Mary-Lynn Massoud and Racha Nawam, are based on actual buildings that were damaged during the war.

The Beirut gallery Twentytwentyone displays exhibits relating to war including these guns wrapped in flags.

There is work by Janette Laveriere, a major name in the 1950s, and Iranian Paris-based designer Maryam Mahdavi.

The show runs until 21 March 2013.

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