Driving the region
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