Driv­ing the re­gion

Identity - - EDITORIAL -

It’s not ev­ery day that we have a Pritzker lau­re­ate in­au­gu­rat­ing a build­ing in the UAE. But re­cently Dutch ar­chi­tect Rem Kool­haas, founder of OMA, flew in to cel­e­brate the open­ing of his first build­ing here. The event, held on-site at Alserkal Av­enue, was one of the highlights of Art Week…

Mean­while, the win­ners of this year’s Pritzker Prize have been an­nounced. Break­ing with tra­di­tion, the award was given to not one but three ar­chi­tects: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ra­mon Vi­lalta of RCR Arqui­tectes, who have worked to­gether for decades. The award-win­ning RCR de­sign­ers have also made their mark on the Dubai prop­erty scene hav­ing been com­mis­sioned to de­sign the lux­u­ri­ous Al Muraba res­i­den­tial build­ing on Palm Jumeirah.

The re­cent edi­tion of Art Dubai proved to be yet an­other enor­mous suc­cess – as did De­sign Days. Cu­rated by Cyril Sum­mit prior to leav­ing the team, De­sign Days was one of the best edi­tions to date. With a dis­tinc­tively re­gional theme, it sum­marised and recog­nised the grow­ing bed of re­gional and lo­cal tal­ent with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, giv­ing the fair a unique look and feel. We have to say: well done!

While re­tail may be trav­el­ling a bumpy road cur­rently, the Al Tayer team was nev­er­the­less in Kuwait re­cently, hop­ing to take a piece of the Big Ap­ple there. The new multi-brand Bloom­ing­dale’s store is of­fer­ing a num­ber of new op­por­tu­ni­ties to Kuwait’s con­sumers.

Back in Dubai, Robin­sons – with a ded­i­cated home­ware floor by John Lewis – was re­cently opened at the ever-ex­pand­ing Dubai Fes­ti­val City.

Archiprod­ucts, the on-line de­sign mega-store, also has its sights set on this mar­ket, which is ever-hun­gry for new sources of de­sign prod­ucts. The Ital­ian firm will open its UAE of­fice, ini­tially in col­lab­o­ra­tion with APID, and is plan­ning to en­ter the mar­ket in style…

Adding some va-va-vroom to the de­sign scene, John Paul Gre­gory, Bentley’s Head of Ex­te­rior De­sign, was also in town to present the lat­est in­no­va­tions from the Bri­tish lux­ury car man­u­fac­turer…

Span­ish celebrity de­signer Lorenzo Castillo was also in Dubai re­cently.The de­signer renowned for his abil­ity to seam­lessly weave tra­di­tional and mod­ern in­flu­ences pre­sented his lat­est col­lec­tion for The Rug Com­pany. Castillo, spent a day at The Rug Com­pany’s bou­tique in Al Serkal Av­enue where he met lo­cal de­sign­ers and clients and gave a talk on de­sign in­flu­ences as he pre­sented his geo­met­ric pat­tered and bold coloured col­lec­tion.

Chair­man of Pin­in­fa­rina, Paolo Pin­in­fa­rina – whose Turin-based fam­ily has led car de­sign for decades – has just an­nounced his plans to es­tab­lish a Dubai of­fice. The lead­ing de­sign firm, that has de­signed ev­ery­thing from wa­ter bot­tles to pens, is now con­cen­trat­ing on de­vel­op­ing its ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior di­vi­sion. Pin­in­fa­rina, who re­cently joined board of the Ital­ian Cham­ber of In­dus­try and Com­merce in the UAE, re­vealed that his firm has been com­mis­sioned to de­sign the in­te­rior of the In­no­va­tion Cen­tre at the heart of Sus­tain­abil­ity City de­vel­oped by Di­a­mond De­vel­op­ers. Lo­cated in Dubai, Sus­tain­able City is said to be the first en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly devel­op­ment of its kind in the MENA re­gion. This will be Pin­in­fa­rina’s first ma­jor project in the UAE. Over the past year or so they’ve ex­e­cuted a num­ber of smaller pri­vate of­fice and res­i­den­tial projects here.

Most re­cently, the com­pany won, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with AE­COM, the con­tract to de­sign the Air Traf­fic Con­trol Tower for the Is­tan­bul New Air­port. Al­ready, Pin­in­fa­rina has a con­tract or two for res­i­den­tial in­te­ri­ors and a new of­fice build­ing in Dubai… and id was hon­oured that Paolo was one of the jury mem­bers for the id De­sign Awards 2016.

The IN­DEX team is crank­ing up in­ter­est in the up­com­ing show (22-25 May), which is ex­pected to of­fer an in­ter­est­ing de­sign talk se­ries and pro­vide a plat­form for mid-range in­te­rior brands to display their lat­est prod­ucts. Top de­sign­ers sched­uled to at­tend in­clude Henry Hol­land, Bethan Gray and Jo Hamil­ton, among oth­ers.

The an­nual Salone del Mo­bile (4-9 April) is just around the cor­ner and many of us will be head­ing there to see first-hand the new fur­ni­ture and light­ing trends – as well as to mix and min­gle with some of the great­est names and peo­ple in the world of de­sign…

Group Ed­i­tor Cather­ine Bel­bin

Clock­wise (from top right): Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, Ra­mon Vi­lalta, Rem Kool­haas, Lorenzo Castillo, John Paul Gre­gory and Paolo Pin­in­fa­rina

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