As we well know, the INDEX and WORKSPACE trade fairs take place at the Trade Centre in Dubai as part of the massive Middle East Design and Hospitality Week. This annual design event attracts key professionals from all across the regional and international design industries, with offerings that cover the entire gamut of Interiors, Exterior, Hospitality, Leisure and Design. However, being an interior design platform, we chose yet again to partner with the two main shows, INDEX and WORKSPACE.
There is so much happening this year – the show has definitely shrunk in size but upped its game in quality offerings. So here is a look inside the fair and what inspiration exhibits to see and experience from a designer’s perspective. Our second preview later on this week will highlight some inspirational brands and products as well.
The Design Talks have become a must-attend feature of the regional design calendar in recent years, bringing the most talented, creative, and successful design leaders together to share candid insights into the key dynamics being faced by the industry in this challenging time. Held in association with GEBERIT and chaired by Esra Lemmens, Founder of the Esra Lemmens Agency, the talks will feature 15 distinct sessions and discussions between 50 expert speakers.
“After a year of virtual events, I think we’re all very excited to get back to physical and to have a reunion on stage in front of a live audience,” says Esra. “As always, I’ll be joined by some of the most admirable leaders in the region and I am excited to provide our audience with unmissable insights, fresh perspectives, new ideas, new realities, and hoping they leave energized, inspired, motivated, and proud of the industry we create together!”
Some of the key talks that we wouldn’t miss include the Creative Review: How social/economic crisis and recovery can provoke bursts of innovation and creativity. Another one, titled Industry Analysis, will discuss the latest evolution of Dubai’s interior design industry – successful company structures, emerging market trends and new creative directions and career paths to help you plan the next collaborative chapter of a successful design career.
One of our favourite activities at design fairs is a walk through the amazing and creative installations on display. INDEX this year has an amazing collection of inspiring work from local artists, global brands, designers and more. Here are some of our top picks…
Architectural surfaces leader Cosentino announced its presence at INDEX with RELounge, a sustainably produced installation created in collaboration with the American University of Sharjah (AUS). Built almost entirely out of scrap material from Cosentino’s two main engineered surfaces, Dekton and Silestone, and collected from the brand’s fabricators in the UAE, the installation is symbolic of Cosentino’s commitment to sustainability and a circular economic model. Pieces of furniture built using the notch technique, emerge out of the floor like a child’s 3D jigsaw model of dinosaurs. Among these “furniture animals”, a bench made out of Silestone Calacatta Gold takes centerstage.
Juan Roldan, Associate Professor of Interior Design, leads the team comprising of 4th year Interior Design students, Batoul Husam Al Asmar, Laila Ahmed Matrhji, and Rajaa Muaz Taye, along with Madrid-based art director Juan Antonio Fuentes who designed the graphic elements.
The installation will also play house to Love That Design’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ action at INDEX, where we will be hosting many a tete-a-tete with designers, manufacturers and prominent personalities from the regional A&D industry.
The region’s leading design firms are collaborating with INDEX to envelope, inspire and impress the visiting audience. You can’t miss the dramatic installations staged on each entrance by Kristina Zanic of Kristina Zanic Design Consultants (with thanks Bond Interiors on fit-out), and Brand Creative, led by award winning Carla Conte. This will be the first time the design community comes together to evolve the experiential component at INDEX.
The RETHINK Materials Experience
Colab, the first purpose-built materials library in the UAE, will be creating an experiential space titled RETHINK, featuring 150 unique, quirky and creative materials in the format of a pop-up library. RETHINK aims to educate and inspire the design and build community by expanding their material palette, and highlighting ways in which they could work with new and existing materials. The focus is not just on the materials, but also on ways in which specifiers can relook their material specification, in order to be more responsible with material usage, consumption and waste.
The majlis has been an integal part of Middle Eastern history and culture. Sahzade Sedir brings back the tradition of a very specific form and style of the majlis, titled Sark Köşesi – Majlis. Located in Hall 3, this majlis will feature local and natural motifs in modern and traditional designs, in an intimate yet professional setting, and is adaptable to homes, workspaces and public facilities. Take a walk down this cultural and historic lane at Sahzade Sedir’s stand.
Zero Waste Masterpieces
The University of Sharjah Fine Art and Design Arts departments will showcase a zero-waste exhibit featuring furniture pieces created out of recycled materials in collaboration with Bee’ah Waste management. Beea’h is relying on the next generation of designers to consider innovative alternatives to the mounting waste concerns. The students actually visited the waste site in Sharjah to collect the material and create furniture that can be used in daily life. The result is a showcase of how waste can be repurposed in interiors with the hopes of encouraging a whole generation to go green and be more sustainable.
To see all the installations at INDEX, click here.
WORK DESIGN SUMMIT
The Work Design Summit will take centre stage each afternoon at Workspace. Five distinct presentation and discussion sessions will be staged each day, featuring prominent designers, blue-chip corporate end-users, real estate developers and analysts, FM experts, technologists and psychologists. These leading thinkers, practitioners and solution providers will be welcoming interaction and discussion with the audience as they detail what they’ve learned, what they predict will alter about how we design and use offices, and which solutions can deliver results in this newly disrupted, exciting market.
L&C Recruitment in collaboration with design recruiters in the industry will be channeling a series of discussions on tips and tricks for job seekers in the Middle East. The firm recruit across engineering, architecture, interior design & fit-out, sales & marketing, educational, Emiratisation & nationalisation, as well as HR-related positions. You can catch their sessions daily at the Summit.
LOVE THAT DESIGN AT RELounge
This is where the ‘Behind the Scenes’ action is at. You can’t miss our stunning media space, created by Juan Roldan and his talented team of student designers at American University of Sharjah. These brainiacs partnered with Spanish engineered surfaces leader, Cosentino, to create a superb installation made entirely out of scrap pieces from Cosentino’s warehouse here in the UAE. This otherworldly space will double as LTD’s studio where we will be hosting interviews with designers, manufacturers, and generally ‘persons of interest’ from an A&D perspective. Make sure to pass by.