Dubai Design Week has become a permanent fixture on the city’s annual calendar, making its mark as the UAE’s largest creative festival. Last November marked its fourth edition in November where it hosted over 230 events and welcomed more than 60,000 design enthusiasts from the region.
This comes as no surprise, seeing how the Middle East’s interior design scene is booming and acting as a breeding ground for plenty of independent designers who merge contemporary design with elements of their heritage. The region is known to be the cradle of civilisation anyway, steeped in ancient culture and religion — much of which has survived to this day. Additionally, the Middle East is also where multiple influences meet to create colourful styles of art, architecture and interior decor, inspired from places like the souks of Morrocco to the deserts of Iran.
Some of the trends in Middle Eastern interior design include rich room colours with luxurious home furnishings, spiced up with handmade items and traditional decoration pattern — reflecting the richness of the culture and mystery of its ancient times.
Here are some interior designers you should add to your radar, and bring some Middle Eastern heritage into your home with their stunning creations.
Manal Al Maimouni
Kuwaiti contemporary textile artist Manal Al Maimouni designed the Sadu bench for Dubai Design Week last year. The name for the furniture is derived from Al Sadu, a form of embroidery hand-woven by Bedouin people that features geometrical shapes. To incorporate cultural relevance to her work, she uses natural materials like wool, cotton, silk and jute — combining it with unique weaving techniques incorporating wooden elements.
Cairo and London-based designer Salsabeel Amin is known for her innovative lighting designs made using some of the most fundamental forms of craftsmanship in Egypt, namely brass marble and blown glass.
Her latest lighting collection works on the most local traditional crafts, reintroducing them in a contemporary manner that resonates to the modern context we live in today, exploring and developing a dialogue between designer and craftsmanship. These pieces are designed in minimal form, so you can display lamps of different sizes together.
Take a piece of the UAE home with Dubai-based Aljoud Lootah’s creations. Her work, including the Tebr vase and tableware designs, are inspired from motifs carved into a door within the Al Ain Palace, the residence of the former UAE President (and the founder of the nation). The tableware designs have been embellished with 14-carat gold patterns while the contemporary porcelain vases are cast with similar decorative shapes and patterns for a striking and beautiful contemporary finish.
Luluwa Al Mehairbi
Incorporate one of Emirates’ most recognisable and historic pieces of furniture into a contemporary home with works by Emirati furniture designer Luluwa Al Mehairbi. She modernised the Takkya (an Arabic word for cushion), the traditional name for the low seating sofa-style pieces traditionally used by Arab families and royals. Under Mehairbi’s watch, the Takkya becomes a modern, chic representation of old meets new for the homeowner who wants a slice of the Emirates in their home.
This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia