Dubai’s Design Days boasts art inspired by the region

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Local and international designers converged at this year’s edition of Design Days, one of many events marking the Dubai art week, where they showcased their work in the form of artwork, jewelry and furniture.

The four day event, which wrapped up this weekend, brought together architects and designers who showcased their pieces to a scores of buyers, students and art aficionados.


The works also reflected on the region’s culture, shown by the Jordan-based Naqsh Design House.

The art of Levantine embroidery is most commonly noticed on fabrics, but sisters Nisreen and Nermeen Abu Dhail set out to document the art in more concrete material.

“We’re inspired by Palestinian embroidery in specific, and were trying to protect this craft and art by documenting some of the motifs that have already been there, that women created,” Nisreen told Al Arabiya News.

Design days
Design days

Some of the works are inspired by historical events such as the emigration of a large number of Palestinians to neighboring countries at the start of the 1948 war. Two installations, one called “Road to Egypt” and “Road to al-Sham” explore that event.

“What we’re trying to reflect and document the hard trip that they took, in a way we want we also want to prove, even if some of them struggled to keep their culture and heritage and melted in other culture, we want to emphasize on the background and the engraved history of the Palestinian people all over the world,” she explained.

The Middle East did not inspire the Abu Dhails alone. Talin Hazbar’s work, a light installation, was derived from a folk tale born in a village in the United Arab Emirates.

Design days
Design days

“The story is about a creature that lived in a cave and kills people with stones, whoever gets closer to the cave,” she told Al Arabiya News.

“I was interested to continue that and to actually transform this tory from a verbal thing to a physical installation,” she said as she stood under her work which protruded from the ceiling lighting up her firm’s booth at the fair.

“It’s made out of travertine,” she explained, adding that she worked with a local stone manufacturer in the neighboring emirate of Sharjah.

Arabesque patterns are widely found in art all around the region, from Turkey to Egypt to the Gulf countries.

Amer al-Dour, who worked with both architecture and enginnering according to state-run news agency WAM, decided to explore the process through which one would reach the intricate pattern.

“We looked at the way these patterns are formed or drawn, and realized that most of the patters start by drawing a set of interlocking circles and through connecting the lines, between the intersections of these circles, we end up with an endless array of possibilities of patterns,” he told Al Arabiya News.

Design days
Design days

He described it as an “Intelligent or responsive installation…if you hover your hands for a few seconds, it starts in the place closest to your hand.”

Passersby were mesmerized by the installation as it interacted with onlookers who hover their hands over the work only for it to begin moving a few seconds later. “We have a very complex pattern here, it’s not necessarily arabesque, but is inspired by arabesque…when it moves really fast it gives you the impression it actually looks like a circle, so we’re physically representing that it is a drawing process.”
The movement then leads to “beautiful accidents” which then “takes a life of its own, a form of its own.”

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