As the Middle East Design and Hospitality Fair comes to a close, we sift through our collective research over three intensive, design fuelled days, to bring you an overview of INDEX and Workspace 2019
INDEX brings with it a sea of manufacturers, and interior design and landscaping products from around the world. And within this massive fair, quality and aesthetics can range from ‘interesting enough’ to ‘simply astonishing’. We waded through this jungle of art, furniture, textiles, flooring and more, and brought you the cream of the crop.
This was our most favourite section by far, with some of the best installations located in here too. Tashkeel displayed their Tanween Collection, which was one of the highlights of INDEX Home (you can read more about it in our preview here). Their Tanween arm is where a selected cohort of emerging UAE based designers are taken through a nine-month development programme, to design a product inspired by the surroundings of the UAE, from concept to completion. The results were inspired and beautifully crafted.
Above: The Tanween Collection by Tashkeel at INDEX Home
Ventura stole the show with their Octagonal floor plan, filled with creative, artisanal works of design – furniture, art and accessories from around the world, that really stand out from the milieu. Our walk through this octagon of creativity unearthed some fantastic pieces of work, both still and interactive. SOM Tales of Perfume (more about it here) brought earth and organic ingredients into an interactive experience of scents. Creative Chef’s Composition Table combined music, textile design and AI (yes, you heard that right), creating a unique, experiential installation. The designers recorded their own music and captured the physical data via the art of weaving. Bring a phone camera close to the patterns and create a tune of your own.
Above: Fons Venner; Below clockwise from top left: New Citizen Design, Modomoro, Creative Chef, SOM Tales of Perfume, Wandschappen, Daan Veerman, Atelier Jungblut
Design Talks was where the industry came together to discuss the many varied aspects of the business of design. Of particular interest was one where regional heavyweights, such as Pallavi Dean of Roar, Tom Skyrig of Wilson Associates, and Pooja Shah-Mulani of LW Design, delved into the many factors affecting restaurant design. So many considerations need to be taken into account that are outside of the A+D and contracting firms’ hands, but affect the business as a whole. Consistent quality, service and economy being some of the main influencers.
Some other interesting conversations included Kevin Mclaughlan’s inspiring keynote, where the designer tells the story of setting up his own firm, titled NOMADIK. A move that allowed him to focus more on design. He also touched upon the changing industry, and how his firm’s design fees have remained the same the last 15 years, yet their ways of working have evolved to embrace more digital methods.
Market Trends were discussed on both days, with talented designers and senior, experienced voices talking about the very relevant shift from the larger design house infrastructure to a more agile and sustainable style of working. Philip Jones of B+H Architects, Waleed Shalan of AREP, Sejal Patel from Gensler, and Indu Varanasi of IRD Design tore into the design landscape to highlight these major trends, leaving attendees with much to chew on.
Workspace displayed the same culture that has pervaded office design fairs of late – pods, acoustically sensitive products, and collaborative furniture. While task chairs and tables were obviously everywhere, their arrangements were such as to allow an agile work environment, hot desking, and the occasionally breakaway space for privacy and/or noise isolation.
Clockwise from top left: Ergotron, Citterio, Workspace.ae, Milani, Mikomax, Quadrifoglio Group, Herman Miller, and Caimi Brevetti