With a foothold in the UAE and the UK, Lewis Adams is building a brand that celebrates the enduring appeal of handcrafted lasting leather goods that improve with age
There is design and then there is design that is ingenious and boundary-pushing. As the Middle East’s leading fair dedicated to original and high-quality design, Downtown Design subscribes to the latter, informing the tastes of the region’s aesthetes and enthusiasts
Far from a traditional fair, Downtown Design is a conduit to refined living. Its highly curatorial approach — from the brands and studios it showcases to the international industry leaders featured on its programme of talks — nurtures the region’s creative community with a strong emphasis on the importance of consuming and investing in design consciously.
Fuelling the aspirations of the well-travelled and design-conscious consumer, the fair’s selection of brands and studios is resonant of the highest values of artisanship, exceptional production and progressive design thinking.
Established in 1963, Pedrali is an Italian company producing contemporary furniture for public spaces, offices and homes.
As Dubai Design Week brings the international design community to Dubai this November, its centrepiece, Downtown Design, will offer a snapshot of myriad perspectives from around the world that are informing contemporary design.
Making its regional debut, the Italian furniture maker Pedrali will present its latest collections developed in collaboration with A-list designers such as Patrick Jouin, Patrick Norguet, Eugeni Quitllet, Jorge Pensi and Claudio Bellini, among others.
Thus far 2019 has been a year of creative renaissance for Minotti (top), with creative director Rodolfo Dordoni imbuing a fresh, contemporary identity to the family-run Italian house. Collections designed by French designer Christophe Delcourt and Copenhagen-based studio GamFratesi Design are strong and masculine, with vibrant statement pieces for a colour pop.
Individuality and modern design codes are at the heart of furniture brands such as Tacchini, Arper and Ethimo — all of whom will present their latest ranges in settings that are bound to evoke design envy even in the most stylish of design lovers.
With a penchant for unusual materials, Brazilian designer and sculptor Fernando Mastrangelo’s works are featured in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Working with sand, silica, cement and glass, he blurs the lines between function and art. At Downtown Design, he will present a new, limited-edition collection of mirrors inspired by the geographic features of Dubai.
As industrial design cues make a comeback, home, offices and even kitchens can’t resist their rugged charm. Aesthetic austerity and craft are the calling cards for American designer A. Jacob Marks. His studio Skram is known for its brilliant combination of an industrial ethos and warmth. Working with wood, metal and leather, and expressing them in a poetic composition of proportions and form, Skram pieces are ideal for those looking to elevate their homes with a strong, minimal approach.
USM, Swiss master of industrial design, is instantly recognised for its iconic, modular furniture and bold use of colour. Demonstrating the inherent versatility of the build-as-you-go approach, it lends new context to classics that have found pride of place in the most elegant homes, hotels and even palaces.
The bespoke kitchens brand Minacciolo also tips its hat to the industrial movement. For its debut in the Middle East, the Treviso-based firm presents the aptly named “Cooking Machine” concept. Classical design archetypes of the first cast-iron wood-burning cooking stoves inform this collection; natural materials and a sleek aesthetic bring it into present day.
Alongside other masters of crystal work such as Atelier Swarovski, Brokis, Lladró and St. Louis, Czech studio Preciosa will bring its awe-striking installation Carousel of Light to the Middle East. Interpreting the excitement of the fairground into a monumental canopy of glowing orbs, it is a joyous celebration of design at its best.
But as we said in the beginning, this is more than just a design fair. Downtown Design has enlisted the region’s top firms to create never-seen-before, large scale, immersive bars and cafés that will offer a dynamic design experience you will not forget in a hurry.
Downtown Design 2019 takes place November 12-15, at the d3 Waterfront, Dubai Design District
For the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People, a striking new fashion collection is born to celebrate the rock bands landmark album
On his first visit to the region, Debonair discusses trends, challenges and how to make light work for you with the Canadian product designer