Dubai Design Week 2019 kicked off with some unexpected weather. One day before the start, we were met with terrible rain and wind, hindering the set up of many installations. Luckily the morning of the opening day, Dubai gave us clear blue skies and some well-needed reduced temperatures.
The show, held at Dubai Design District includes installations, workshops, talks and an exhibition alongside competitions and events. It’s a chance for the design industry to showcase and celebrate the talent in the region and to inspire the growing interest in all aspects of design.
Here are my top five highlights…
I may be slightly biased with this highlight, but I was extremely proud that Nulty showcased a one-off lighting piece in Debbas’ showroom, which has been designed for Surge Design Dine and Make a Difference 2019. “Tapering Ratios” has been inspired by the geometric forms created by the golden ratio or golden spiral, seen in sacred geometry. The piece was handcrafted by Nulty Bespoke and is made from 85% recycled/ upcycled materials. Nulty is very proud to be supporting the Surge for Water charity, which helps to bring clean and sanitised water to those in need.
When looking for inspiration for our Surge piece above, we were drawn to an artist called Anthony James, so I was extremely excited to see his installation Portal Icosahedron in reality in the Downtown Design tent.
Anthony James is a British/ American artist, based in LA, with much of his work experimenting with light and space. The sculpture is made from steel, glass and LED lights. A steel icosahedron – a polyhedron with 20 faces – is lit with bars of LED light, illuminating the transparent mirrors within. When you peer inside the piece, the lines of light create an endless reflection within the icosahedron shape, without reflecting the outside world as it’s made from one-way glass.
This immersive experience framed the entrance to the Downtown Design tent, which was designed and executed by XBD collective. The shiny portal guided visitors to the main entrance, playing with reflective materials and surrounding light. Mirror Meander’s highly polished finish was designed to create a connection between the visitors and the outside surroundings, reflecting the scenery onto the posts, while casting water-like ripples onto the floor.
Manifesto For A Good Night’s Sleep
Our colleague, Emilio Hernandez flew to Dubai from our London office to do a talk on the links between sleep and lighting. He touched upon many aspects of how lighting can affect and aid sleep and general wellbeing, particularly focused on the hotel market.
Much of the conversation was based around circadian lighting and using different colour temperatures to mimic the natural changes of daylight. This is a hot topic in the industry right now, especially with the more frequent use of the WELL certification requirement, where colour tuning is required for regularly occupied spaces. There are clearly benefits to using this approach, especially where a guest may have jet lag. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about the lighting; external factors such as using the phone before bed emitting white light, light pollution and spill into a guest room (without a blackout blind), socialising and alcohol consumption can have very negative effects on sleep.
Carousel of Light
Again, Preciosa impressed with its large decorative light piece, Carousel of Light. This interactive installation cleverly connects to the viewer by tracking movement with motion sensors and illuminating based on where the movement is detected. The sensors were positioned and hidden amongst the 8000 mouth-blown glass orbs.
The curvaceous arrangement of the orbs was showstopping and although lots of equipment would be needed to pull this type of fixture off, it was very well hidden to allow the viewer to focus on the beauty of the decorative feature. The circular platform beneath the piece was on a slow rotation to mimic a fairground carousel, bringing back the joys of childhood.
Images: Amy Semple