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issue 37 - April/May 2017
CURVE magazine cover April/May 2017
Trend Focus
by Aljoud Lootah

     Aljoud Lootah launched her first creation, the ’Oru Series’, at Design Days Dubai in 2015. A collection of limited edition geometric furniture and decorative objects, her initial designs took inspiration from origami forms an aesthetic that we see spanning across her growing oeuvre. "I’ve been known for my use of geometry in a modern context," she says, "but I think it’s more than just trending materials and patterns it’s the way a designer shapes and breathes new life into their product that makes it very unique." For Design Days Dubai 2017, she worked with craftsmen in Thailand to create her first ceramic collection. Working from a studio in Dubai Design District, she continues to produce bespoke designs for individual to organizational clients.
by Aisha Al Sowaidi

     The 2017 edition of Design Days Dubai marked Qatari designer Aisha Al Sowaidi’s return as a solo exhibitor, bringing with her a line of seating inspired by the traditional majlis. "My designs are sentimental and poetic," she says. "They reflect an experience I went through or a feeling I long to have. I like design to be raw, reflective of times passed through change in color and surface. I have found my way as a designer through writing, then transforming my thoughts to sketches and prototypes." Playing with the connection to home and the traditional Khaleeji household, she conjures a sense of childlike nostalgia while adhering to high end quality and aesthetic values.
by Ayah Al Bitar

     The Dubai based furniture and product designer, Ayah Al Bitar, has created a niche for herself in the region,s ever growing spectrum of design. Through her work, she merges tradition and modernity, creating products that evoke a deep sense of the Arab world, from its rituals to its traditions. Raised in Saudi Arabia and educated at Parsons in New York, Al Bitar is motivated by the use of design as a tool for social change and the breaking down of cultural boundaries. Her most recent collection, the ’Sanctuary’, a series of portable storage structures made out of different metals like brass and copper as well as various types of wood, draws inspiration from the Muslim ritual of prayer but can be used for a number of spiritual routines.
by Marie Munier

     Beirut based Marie Munier’s colorful career trajectory started in the fine arts before she discovered her passion for jewelry making. Munier’s signature style, rooted in the splendor and aesthetics of early Mediterranean civilizations, bridges antique jewelry with statement costume pieces. "It makes me happy to see my early pieces withstand the test of time," she says. "I feel that featuring these antique elements, in a way, creates a longer life for them as heirlooms to be passed down from mother to daughter." After decades in the discipline, she has decided to expand the scale of her designs by creating jewelry inspired lighting sculptures and decorative pieces made out of varying shades of brass, yellow, gold and deeper shades of taupe.
by Nada Debs

     The highly established Nada Debs started her first design company in the UK, designing and producing bespoke furniture. After a 40 year hiatus, her yearning for home brought her back to Beirut, where she would go on to launch her second company East & East. Today, she’s known for fusing Middle Eastern tradition with East Asian minimalism. "I believe in a continuous newness," she says, "an evolution as we go through history and time. I found that I was able to give this newness to design in our region, and I get no greater joy when I receive a warm regional response." This year, she’s presented with Cities, the KSA, UAE based concept store. She showcased a series of stools made out of different metals, drawing from the geometric and minimalist forms and shapes that can be found in Arab cities.
by Zuleika Penniman

     Zuleika Penniman is a Lebanese American designer who exhibited at Design Days Dubai 2016 as one of a cohort of designers under Tashkeel’s Tanween program. That year, she presented a room divider and shelving system, entitled ’Coral I’, made out of gold and coral, which has since been expanded into the ’Coral Series’. The new creations saw her repurpose coral rock once commonly used as a building material in UAE homes. She returned to Design Days Dubai this year by designing a hypothetical office for a UAE based architectural practice.
by Rand Abdul Jabbar

     Rand Abdul Jabbar was born in Baghdad in 1990 and raised in the UAE. She debuted at Design Days Dubai in 2015, again as part of Tashkeel’s Tanween program with ’Forma’ a collection of crisp and contemporary teak chairs evoking the traditional dhow boat. Abdul Jabbar credits her aesthetic and personal identity as a result of the multi ethnic landscape of the UAE, and the appreciation of cultural exchange and dialogue that she grew up with. Her work is very much rooted in this interplay of culture and social dynamics. Abdul Jabber rejoined Design Days Dubai this year as the headlining designer for 1971 Design Space.
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