Favourite Four

Dubai is buzzing. EXPO 2020 is in full swing (have a look at our lighting scheme for Rove’s onsite hotel here) and Dubai Design Week 2021 has just wrapped up after another successful year.

Now in its seventh year, the design festival – set in Dubai’s Design District, d3 – celebrated all things design and offered free to attend exhibitions, installations, activities, pop-ups, talks and workshops. The Making Space programme is a highlight of the event, and this year it offered workshops and activities, each curated with people and the planet in mind, with an emphasis on environmentally friendly practices and materials. Alongside this, designers hosted interviews and discussions covering topics such as women in architecture, sustainability, and the future of design.

As always, it was great to witness how the design festival pulls together as a community, involving not only the design industry, but families, school children and people of all ages and backgrounds.

Here are some of my installation highlights from the event…

Connectivity by Kart Group

Connectivity by Kart Group Dubai Design Week 2021

This outdoor installation offered up an eye-catching burst of colour. Made from recycled ropes that intertwine in the centre, the delicate-looking piece symbolises the significance and beauty of social connections and celebrates the diversity in Dubai.

Interestingly, as you moved around the installation your perspective completely changed because of the angle of the suspended ropes and colourful composition of the piece.

Refractions by Beyrac Architects x PEAHEAD.eco

Refractions by Beyrac Architects x PEAHEAD.eco Dubai Design Week 2021

The heavy focus on sustainability at Design Week meant Refractions was particularly pertinent. The installation brings to light the reflections we have about our own consumer responsibility when we look in the mirror. The piece is coated in 2700 plastic bottles, which scarily represents the consumption of six typical UAE residents per year. Refractions was an interesting piece of interactive art and sculpture, but more importantly it stressed the plastic crisis that we face.

The plastic bottles encased inside the arch were washed with a warm linear light, encouraging visitors to interact and walk underneath the structure to view their reflection in the mirrors, and crucially to “reflect” on how much plastic they use.

The WAW Machine by Wild Arab West (WAW)

The WAW Machine by Wild Arab West (WAW) Dubai Design Week 2021

This really made me smile. What looks like a standard vending machine from the outside, actually holds positive affirmations, cultural sayings and compliments in both English and Arabic. All you had to do was choose your language and a little box popped out with your message. Spreading a little kindness goes a long way.

The Shape of Light by Shuster + Moseley

The Shape of Light by Shuster + Moseley Dubai Design Week 2021

Having a focus on light, this installation naturally caught my attention. The piece explores geometric prismatic forms that are optically coated, reflective, and refract a unique spectral fingerprint of the surroundings.

I’ve always been a huge fan of dichroic glass and its ability to adapt and change at different viewing angles and light levels. The installation relies on sunlight during the day, whilst in the evening, four projectors placed at the perimeter cast light onto the shapes and reflect dramatic sparks of colour onto the floor.

Images: Amy Semple