Design Democracy at Design Days Dubai 2013

Exclusive to, Pratyush Sarup, the Dubai-based Contributing Feature’s Writer for Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, takes us into the heart of the new global hub for collectible design – Design Days Dubai.

Above – Jens Praet busy shredding – who thought a shredder could be a design tool.  Photo © Karen Dias

In addition to the amazing catalogue of investment worthy pieces presented by the participating galleries, Design Days Dubai 2013 was also a hub for design enthusiasts, students and professionals looking to be inspired!

Through their well planned roster of public programmes, some of the leading names in design were at hand to host talks, lead workshops and seminars – all with the aim of starting design-based conversations that would continue well beyond the DD13 white marquee.

For me, two such programmes left a lasting impression.

Jens Praet, in collaboration with Industry Gallery led workshops on his famous ‘Shredded Ware’ concept. Students used shredded paper, resin and easily available moulds like plates and bowls to create their own designer pieces. I was lucky, he gifted me a bowl he made himself!

Jens Praet’s Live Performance ‘Shredded Ware’ creates design peices with paper shredded on site.  Photo © Karen Dias

Shredded Ware – Jens Praet leds his workshop with attendents creating design peices with shredded paper and resin. Photo © Karen Dias

Future Classics, a panel discussion lead by Harper’s Bazaar Interiors editor, Rue Kothari took on a deeper meaning. Rue and the participants –  Southern Guild, R20th Century and Jens Praet – veered the conversation from  the basic concern – how do we describe, predict and price a future classic – to the evolution, longevity and sustainability of the design investment market.

Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Editor Rue Kothari leads the panel FUTURE CLASSICS with Southern Guild, Jens Praet and R20th Century. Photo © Rue Kothari

The live performances planned by DDD allowed design lovers to come closer to the life of a design piece. It was very inspiring to see an object go from concept to reality in front of your eyes.

Jens Praet adapted his workshop to a live performance format  – leading to a stunning console completed on the last day of the show.

Designers Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves from Studio Swine (presented by Gallery + Coletivo Amor de Madre) put up ‘Construction Series’. Over the course of the show, they created a collection of five furniture pieces using Dubai’s construction waste.

Construction Series –  by Studio Swine – presented by Coletivo Amor de Madre uses construction waste to create furniture in front of a live audience. Photo © Karen Dias

Emarati designer Khalid Shafar presented ‘Illusion Pearl’ in association with Carwan Gallery. His performance revisited the region’s famous Pearling history and weaving techniques to create a stunning accent chair.

Khalid Shafar’s Illusion Pearl live performance uses the traditional craft of Peraling to create a bespoke chair. Photo © Karen Dias

The final result of Khalid’s performance. Photo © Karen Dias

From heritage, luxury brands creating bespoke pieces with regional flavour especially for the show to renowned designers from all corners of the world – India, Korea, U.K to Kuwait – at DDD13 there as something for everything to draw inspiration from!

The Bespoke section featured the legendary French makers Moissonnier. Custom cabinets by Emarati designer Khalid Shafar were inspried by Dubai’s horse race.  Photo © Karen Dias

Also part of the Bespoke section – Tai Ping Carpets featured regional designs and crafts. Photo © Karen Dias

_Croft Gallery from Korea added pops of colour and a simple low key approach to their presentation. The leather version of Ja-ri was an instant success.  Photo © David Nascimento

Continual Slow Drip by Antony Hall was a big conversation piece. Presented by Gazelli Art House. Photo © Karen Dias

The AlwaysNever light installltion by United Visual Artists for Gazelli Art House, UK was stunning. Photo © Karen Dias

A detail of the AlwaysNever light installation. Photo © Karen Dias

La Galerie Nationale brought bold statement pieces. The iconic wall bracket by Jean Royere is an investment for life. Photo © David Nascimento

The Meltdown Chair and Molecular chair were the highlight of Industry Gallery – chic and super comfy. Photo © David Nascimento

Indian design Gunjan Gupta, presented  by Erastudio Apartment-Gallery, Italy reinvented the indian design ethos for the collectible design market. Photo © David Nascimento

Mother of pearl inlaid From the Glitter by Kang Myung Sun is an openable wall unit presented by Gallery Seomi. Photo © Karen Dias

Contemporary Art Platform from Kuwait presented special Bokja & Wyssem Nochi armchairs. Photo © Karen Dias

You can follow me on twitter @PratInTheCity , go directly to the heart of all things Design Days Dubai 2013 @DesignDaysDubai . Keep track of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors with @HB_Interiors or download it online at

All images are leased to the author by the organisers exclusively for this article. They remain the property of Design Days Dubai and cannot be copied or reproduced in any manner without their prior written consent.

+ To read our other exclusive reports, please jump to : All Eyes On Dubai and Design Days Dubai 2013 set the bar high.

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