The Gulf Today - Time Out - - ART - SAYS MUHAM­MAD YUSUF

MB&F M.A.D. Gallery, Dubai, has col­lab­o­rated with In­dia-based gallery Api­cal Re­form and its branch AR Gallery, Dubai, to cre­ate two ki­netic art sculp­tures to be launched dur­ing Dubai De­sign Week (Nov. 12 – 17).

The art­works are in­spired by me­chan­i­cal art and are ti­tled “Tor­nado” and “St­ingray” re­spec­tively. Em­body­ing the aes­thet­ics of us­ing me­chan­i­cal mo­tion and move­ment to con­vey artis­tic ex­pres­sion, a third piece ti­tled “Schermo” will also be on dis­play, which pays homage to the me­chan­i­cal prow­ess of su­per­cars. It fo­cuses on the play be­tween light and move­ment.

The lim­ited edi­tion art works will be on dis­play from Nov. 12 to Dec. 30 at both AR Gallery in d3 (Dubai De­sign Dis­trict) and MB&F M.A.D. Gallery in Dubai Mall.

“Tor­nado” mim­ics the power and rhyth­mic rise and fall of a whirlpool, held as one of na­ture’s most beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral phe­nom­ena. “St­ingray” is a study in the syn­ergy be­tween art, math­e­mat­ics, me­chan­ics and elec­tron­ics.

Seek­ing its in­spi­ra­tion from the mighty st­ingray, this ab­stract ki­netic sculp­ture pays rev­er­ence to the majesty of na­ture and cap­tures the beauty and trance-like move­ment of the st­ingray in slow mo­tion.

The un­mis­tak­able forms of Fer­rari GTO 250, As­ton Martin DB5 and Lam­borgh­ini Miura 19661973 pro­vided great in­spi­ra­tion for “Schermo”.

Renowned in­ter­na­tional de­signer Leyla Uluhanli will also be launch­ing her lat­est fur­ni­ture col­lec­tion at Down­town De­sign ex­hi­bi­tion dur­ing Dubai De­sign Week 2018 (Nov. 13 – 16). Pay­ing homage to mid-cen­tury Amer­i­can in­te­ri­ors, Leyla Uluhanli In­te­ri­ors Stu­dio will be de­but­ing nine be­spoke pieces that de­fine the uni­fy­ing theme of ‘har­mony’. It will be a bal­ance be­tween tra­di­tional and modern, lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional, ho­moge­nous and the eclec­tic.

The launch will not only mark the en­try of the stu­dio to the Mid­dle East, but will also be a mile­stone cel­e­bra­tion with the Mid­dle East­ern launch of ‘Mosques: Splen­dors of Is­lam’, an au­thor­i­ta­tive book on mosques and Is­lamic de­sign au­thored by Uluhanli her­self.

Leyla Uluhanli In­te­ri­ors Stu­dio was es­tab­lished in 2005, and its fur­ni­ture is cre­ated from nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing fine wood, bronze and an­tique brass, gal­iusha shark-leather, semi-pre­cious stones and ex­otic se­len­ite.

All the pieces are con­structed us­ing com­plex tra­di­tional meth­ods in Italy and Por­tu­gal, with some in­tri­cate el­e­ments be­ing pro­duced by Rus­sian crafts­men.

Max­i­m­il­ian Busser, Founder and Cu­ra­tor of MB&F M.A.D. Gallery, speaks to Time Out

* How did you be­come ac­quainted with Api­cal Re­form/ AR Gallery? What im­presses you most about their vi­sion?

Like most, if not all, of our col­lab­o­ra­tions, it starts with a meet­ing be­tween two cre­ators. I loved Am­r­ish (Founder and Prin­ci­pal, Api­cal Re­form) and Dar­shan’s (Di­rec­tor, Api­cal Re­form) work (was blown away by Sonuslex­ica they pre­sented two years ago at De­sign Days Dubai).

So when Am­r­ish con­tacted us, I was ea­ger to dis­cover the man and his work. We im­me­di­ately got along su­per well, and I loved some of the ideas he pitched us. The rest is his­tory. * Api­cal Re­form is head­quar­tered in In­dia - what made you choose them for this col­lab­o­ra­tion?

I have al­ways had an im­por­tant at­tach­ment to cul­tural In­dia. My mother was In­dian and my fa­ther Swiss. Even though I was brought up in Switzer­land very much like a lit­tle Swiss kid, I was aware I was dif­fer­ent (es­pe­cially 50 years ago!). My artis­tic side is most prob­a­bly the In­dian one whilst my prag­matic one is clearly Swiss.

* Ac­cord­ing to you, what are the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween dig­i­tal art and me­chan­i­cal art?

The big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween me­chan­i­cal or ki­netic art and the rest of art forms is the hu­mon­gous tal­ent one needs to en­gi­neer and craft a piece. In much of con­tem­po­rary art to­day, the idea makes for 90 per cent of the value, while the work in­volved in cre­at­ing it is barely

10 per cent. With me­chan­i­cal art, the in­sane work and ar­ti­san­ship needed is more than 70 per cent of the value.

Am­r­ish Pa­tel, Founder and Prin­ci­pal, Api­cal Re­form, speaks to Time Out

* What is the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the name ‘Api­cal Re­form’?

We see de­sign as a tool for so­ci­etal change. We un­der­stand the power of de­sign in build­ing com­mu­ni­ties, bring­ing peo­ple and thought to­gether and mo­bil­is­ing them for com­mon good.

We want the re­form that de­sign brings about to be of the high­est or­der: thus, Api­cal Re­form. As you can see, we are al­ready de­liv­er­ing on our name, hav­ing pre­vi­ously fo­cused on hu­man­ity and com­mu­nity at De­sign Days Dubai 2017 (Sonuslex­ica) and Global Warm­ing for Dubai De­sign Week 2017 (State of Earth).

* Can you tell us why you chose to col­lab­o­rate with MB&F M.A.D. Gallery?

Since child­hood, I have been fas­ci­nated by mov­ing ob­jects and that fas­ci­na­tion grew into an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of horol­ogy and ki­netic DE­SIGN. I WAS iRST IN­TRO­DUCED TO MB& FM. A. D. Gallery’ s me­chan­i­cal and ki­netic art at De­sign Days Dubai 2016 and since then have fol­lowed their work closely and al­ways dreamt of a col­lab­o­ra­tion with MB&F.

Fi­nally, an in­tro­duc­tion to Max led to many con­ver­sa­tions and we agreed to col­lab­o­rate. Work­ing to­gether on this col­lec­tion with MB&F M.A.D. Gallery has been the most amaz­ing and chal­leng­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Leyla U lu han li, In­te­rior De­signer and Au­thor of ‘Mosques: Splen­dors of Is­lam’, speaks to Time Out

* Why does Art Deco and Mid­cen­tury Amer­i­can aes­thet­ics in­spire you?

I be­lieve that Mid-cen­tury was in many ways the great­est era for de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture. A huge cul­tural shift was ac­com­pa­nied by quick de­vel­op­ments in ma­te­ri­als and tech­nol­ogy.

Never be­fore did de­sign­ers en­joy such amaz­ing cre­ative free­dom, and en­tire new branches of de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture were shaped by my per­sonal de­sign he­roes – Gio Ponti, William Haines, Ed­ward Worm­ley, to name a few. So I often come back to those mo­tifs for in­spi­ra­tion.

* WILL YOU DEiNE YOUR STYLE AS min­i­mal and un­der­stated?

I often re­fer to my style as con­tem­po­rary clas­sic, mean­ing that I try to reimag­ine many of the clas­si­cal mo­tifs and shapes in a more modern, re­served way. In that way, my fur­ni­ture and in­te­ri­ors can be con­sid­ered un­der­stated. But they are hardly min­i­mal.

While I strive to keep the form of my pieces sim­ple, I em­ploy a lot of in­tri­cate de­tails, rang­ing from us­ing in­cred­i­bly rare lux­u­ri­ous ma­te­ri­als to adding sub­tle dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ments that un­der­line the com­plex­ity of the pieces.

* In ‘Mosques: Splen­dors of Is­lam’ you don’t seem to have touched on con­tem­po­rary mosques of Europe. Why?

IT’S TRUE THAT WE’VE ONLY BRIElY touched upon some of the more modern mosques from Europe, like the Is­lamic Com­mu­nity Cen­ter and Mosque in Copen­hagen or the MAGNIiCENT SANCAKLAR MOSQUE IN Is­tan­bul.

But we had some very tough de­ci­sions to make when work­ing on this book. We had to limit the num­ber of mosques men­tioned to about 50 – and we’ve started with hun­dreds of them.

So, in this book, we con­cen­trated on beau­ti­ful ex­am­ples of mostly his­toric Is­lamic ar­chi­tec­ture, show­ing the long and wind­ing road the mosques made through the cen­turies.

* What links you as an In­te­rior De­signer and an Au­thor?

Both these parts of my life are tightly in­ter­wo­ven. As a de­signer, I often draw in­spi­ra­tion from the amaz­ing ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior of the mosques I’ve stud­ied while work­ing on my book.

Their in­tri­cate dé­cor, the amaz­ing ef­fects cre­ated us­ing such a lim­ited pal­ette or­na­ments and colours push me to­wards be­ing a more mas­ter­ful de­signer. On the other hand, I might have never come about to writ­ing the book if it wasn’t for my back­ground as a de­signer.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque — im­age from ‘Mosques: Splen­dors of Is­lam’.


Mosques: Splen­dors of Is­lam, book cover.

Am­r­ish Pa­tel

Max­i­m­il­ian Busser

Leyla Uluhanli

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