What made a mark at Everything Architecture 2022, Dubai

Held over two days, Everything Architecture hosted its inaugural edition on the 5th and 6th December at Za’abeel Hall, Dubai. A part of the 43rd edition of the annual trade fair, the Big 5, Everything Architecture was focused on showcasing the latest innovative products in the design industry. Wrapped in black with strips of yellow, Everything Architecture’s venue looked to match its focus on bringing out cutting-edge products to its visitors. Although humble in size, the event managed to pull a good crowd of designers, manufacturers, students and other wide-eyed enquirers.

With talks, discussions and brand showcases aplenty, here are the highlights from the very first edition of Everything Architecture, Dubai….

A Fusion of Flooring, Finishes and Ceilings

While flooring, finishes and ceilings often do not make for the most eye-grabbing features in interiors, they are often what support and highlight interior other elements like furniture and lighting. They also make for the basic elements in a room, and are often seen as a long-term investment. At Everything Architecture, there were quite a few brands showcasing them. 

Ege Carpets, whose wide range of carpets boasts an array of colors and styles, chose to focus on how the brand gives back to the community. With sustainability on their mind, their stand threw a spotlight on how they have a circular and sustainable economy that focuses on recycling and replenishing materials. 

Knauf Ceilings, on the other hand, flaunted their elegant products in various materials at Everything Architecture. Their ceiling system solutions, especially Armstrong WoodWorks Grille, was a testament to the brand’s quality supply. 

Benjamin Moore, one of USA’s top paint and coating manufacturers, also displayed their range of paints at Everything Architecture. Soon to-be-seen at Seaworld, Abu Dhabi, the brand took pride in the superior quality rich colors and offerings like Aura, Scuff-X and Stix. What was most notable about their products was their zero or low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Gerflor also put on show their innovative and sustainable product range. Mipolam Affinity, their offering of interlocking tile, was one of their most intriguing products on display.

Sanitary Scenes

Sanitary giant TOTO showcased two of water closets (WCs) from their Neorest collection that are not just remote-controlled, but are also tankless at Everything Architecture. Invent, the odorless toilet also presented a technology that was enthralling and exciting that would, as the name suggests, eliminate the need for air fresheners and raise the bar of hygiene in sanitation.

A third generation French faucet manufacturer, Presto, described themselves as ‘obsessed’ with water and thus, focused on saving it. Established in 1927, their products such as the timed flow and sensor taps and availability of finishes such as metallic rainbow are proof that they are a brand that has kept up with time.

Lighting it up

DCW Editions, Paris was the one booth that probably everyone who came to Everything Architecture visited. And who wouldn’t? With their suspended lights reminiscent of bubbles, a closer look is definitely called for. Designed by a Japanese designer, the combination of acrylic sheets and lens to give rise to an iridescence aesthetic gave the star product an edge over all the other lighting displayed. 

Stretch Ceiling’s usage of cloth for illumination was also worth a visit at Everything Architecture. They had also collaborated with 4space, to come with a multi-coloured seating installation termed ‘Megalith to Metalith’ at the exhibition, which was inspired by human’s construction progress from bulky stone structures to the Metaverse today. A.A.G. Stucchi and Eutrac’s booth made use of a wooden background to showcase the elegance and functionality of their lights. Their track lights did not just shine, but also moved (even on curved tracks) in their woody shelter. 

The Architectural Products Fete

Stalwarts like Lindner, MarianiTech, Ecophon from Saint Gobain and Vitro Architectural Glass were also part of Everything Architecture’s exhibit and put forth their products with panache. Ecophon displayed on their booth the products that are a part of the Museum of the Future, amongst their other offerings. 

Vitro Glass put on display their various glass offerings, and one in particular, that had vacuum in between two glasses and hence could maintain a thermodynamic balance between interiors and exteriors, piqued interest. MarianiTech showed their metal meshes that have been used arenas for privacy and the inlet of natural air flow.

Innovation in Materials

Generation 3D, a 3D-printing service provider based in Dubai kept it simple but attractive at Everything Architecture. With their wine-like winding installation that had the aesthetics of bamboo but were finished like grainy concrete, they were sending a clear message ‘anything and everything can be 3D-printed.’ Their vision for the future aligns with the UAE government’s focus, to build quickly, sustainably and with minimal waste. 

Metis Seagrass, a fully-sustainable material brand from Athens, Greece boasted an unpretentious and colorful booth. Clear as day in its nomenclature, the secret behind their finishes is compressed seagrass. The thin sheets made from it can be used as wall-coverings and furniture, and has also been used in spaces such as the Ikea in Athens and much more.

Talks and Panel Discussions

The scope of exhibitions seems to have changed in the past year. From brands and products being the sole or majority crowd-pullers, visitors of today also seem to attend exhibitions owing to the topic of the talks to be held and the speakers featured in them. Whether or not this is thanks to ‘the TedTalks’ culture or a direct result of the restrictions due to the pandemic opening up, is something only time can tell, but either way Everything Architecture boasted an impressive sequence of talks and experts. 

One that particularly stood out was the Keynote speech by Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner, BIG on the second day of the event. Anybody can imagine the future and everybody probably has their own predictions about – but Kai-Uwe addressed and spoke about what can be in our today that can help shape and steer the future of design towards a better path. Speakers such as Andrew Mason, Director of Contracts, Calatrava International and Will Plowman, Partner, Foster + Partners also provoked thoughtful dialogues on health and well-being and bringing the outdoors in, respectively. 

Baharash Bagherian, CEO, URB gave an insightful presentation about the upcoming sustainable cities and how one differs from the other, and what the future of sustainable developments look like. Succeeding was  the ‘Fireside chat: Impact of the Metaverse – architecting around the hottest buzzword in the tech scene’ featuring Love That Design’s Co-Founder, Siddharth Peters and Dr. Georges Kachaamy, Director of the Center for Research, Innovation, and Design (CRID) and Professor of Architecture at American University in Dubai (AUD) dived into the technological aspect of design.

Another panel talk at Everything Architecture titled, ‘Architects of the future –a collaboration between academia and industry’ saw Mihir Sanganee, Design Director, Designsmith; David Lessard, Design Director, H+A; Juan Roldan, Associate Professor, American University in Sharjah; Prof. Albert Fakhoury, Director, Innovation & Sustainability Centre, Canadian University Dubai; Rashiq Muhamad Ali, Founder/Director, RqMAs Architecture + Design and Ralph Shelbourne, Architecture Executive Director-Project Delivery Division, Red Sea Global discuss the differences between curriculum of design and the practicalities of the profession. 

Overall, Everything Architecture had equal parts – talks, product showcases, engaging activities and a good turn-up. For its first edition, of hopefully many to come, Everything Architecture managed to establish itself as a worth looking-forward-to event. For next year, we hope to see even more innovative products from a larger and more diverse variety of brands as well as the even more stellar line-up of talks, speakers and panelists. 

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