Top 5 Designers, Artists & Products at INDEX Dubai

Earlier this month Phil & I headed out to Dubai for the INDEX exhibition where we were involved in the creation of a Design Hub and Textile Installation, as well as overseeing the seminar programme.  I took some time out on the last day of the exhibition to walk the halls and identify the most innovative work on show.  Today I want to share my 5 favourite finds with you.

Hopefully you’ve had chance to watch the video of our time at INDEX and seen the work of the incredible creatives and manufacturers from around the world whose products were displayed on the Design Hub.  But off the Design Hub space, dotted around the exhibition halls, I discovered more inspiring work I’d like you to be able to see too.

Tasneem Salah

Tasneem was exhibiting a collection of interactive paintings on ‘Artist’s Avenue’ that could be rotated to reveal 2 different images.  I was fascinated by the artist’s invitation to see things from a different perspective.  Tasneem appreciates that we all see things differently from one another and believes we should try to “see the other view”.

In the video below you can see the circular painting initially shows a building and then I rotate it 90 degrees and a man knelt in prayer can then be seen.

Lee you Jung

Serene landscapes by Lee you Jung were being exhibited at INDEX as part of an exhibition by Kimmihyo Art Gallery of South Korea.

I initially thought the artworks below were tapestries, but on closer inspection I found they were oil paintings on a very coarse hemp cloth canvas.  Each painting was only 40cm square but the impact of the flat colours and bold simplicity of the mountains was immense.

Stephanie Ng Design

I was delighted to see products by Stephanie Ng Design being exhibited on the Malaysia Pavilion (under Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation – MATRADE).  They are an multi-award winning industrial design studio from Melbourne, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur.  I met Stephanie a few years ago when we selected her studio’s pendant lighting for inclusion on our Trend Tours at a show in Melbourne and I fell in love with the award-winning hand-knitted Luna Lana® lights made with 100% Merino wool.

LUNA LANA®, literally means “moon” and “wool” in Spanish, and the company name was inspired by imagining a beanie snugly fitted over a full moon.

Showcased on the Malaysia Pavilion were the latest lighting designs (or “personalities” as Stephanie refers to them) including ‘Zip Me Up’ (my personal favourite – pictured below), Ruffle accessories and a Fairy Tales collection…the designs in the Fairy Tale collection are particularly nice for children’s bedrooms.

Stephanie is an advocate of sustainable design, and designing systems that have minimal impact on the Earth’s resources in terms of manufacturing processes, materials and energy consumption.  Merino wool is a 100% natural and sustainable resource and has the highest fire resistance in comparison with other textile fibers.

Also being showcased were her new Cord Organiser Loops (below)

VG

Hanging over VG’s exhibition stand were their stunning Flower Power chandeliers, which illuminate room schemes in a truly original way.  It consists of a large number of artificial flowers, amongst which Murano glass lamps with LED lighting were placed.  These ceiling luminaire were both delicate and powerful.

Fahar Al Salih

Get ready for this!  You’re about to be amazed.

I came across a sculpture, quite small in scale, on an ‘Artist’s Avenue’ stand dominated by what I presumed to be glazed tile wall art.  The sculpture appeared to be ceramic or made using some sort of material from the building industry.  The colours and decal were beautifully applied but something about the mix of its destroyed, eroding texture and decorative aspects made me think of the Berlin Wall.  It wasn’t until later, when I was able to speak with the artist, I discovered that all the work on his exhibition stand was made from car wash sponges!!!  Take a look…

Fahar has been creating his unique mixed-media works since 2003.  His work is evidence of both the cultural diversity of his origin and his dialogue with contemporary Western art – he is inspired by the traditions of oriental mosaics.  Industrial sponge plays a crucial role in his works – like the clay of classical mosaics, it is soft, and only through his application of layers of materials, such as paint, does it become hardened and unchangeable.

Like miniatures of destroyed buildings, Fahar’s sculptures remind the viewer of fragments of a war zone.  Colourful pictures on the crumbling facades are symbols of humanitarian crisis in many regions of the world.

His sponge pictures (below) deal with the issue of freedom.  Fahar frees the colours from the restrictions of traditional mosaics and in doing so he speaks of the importance of individuality and freedom of expression.  A final note before I show you some more of his work – the sponges that Fahar uses are ‘seconds’ quality…so there is an element of the reuse of waste materials in his work and a level of upcycling that is truly beyond anything I have seen before.  His work is extraordinary.


Check back later this month when we’ll be posting a review of The Flooring Show and keep an eye on our Instagram feed for updates regarding our one day takeover of INDEX’s Instagram feed in November!

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