Members of Brewer Smith Brewer Group’s (BSBG) Interior Design team joined the BSBG Media Team at Downtown Design 2019, the key event of Dubai Design Week, and one of the most important design fairs in the Middle East which provides a platform for truly bespoke creative design. Alia Soufan and Shaam Jneid guide us through the highlights of the event, held in Dubai Design District (d3), showing us the latest trends in international contemporary furniture, decorative feature pieces, tiles and stone, lighting and much more…
(Clockwise from left – Hayon x Nani rug, Klove lighting installations, Authentiques Paris hangers, Klove necklace feature)
Klove is an Indian lighting brand that creates immersive lighting installations. Their tribal displays were very distinctive and theatrical, designed to pay tribute to the Indian penchant for jewellery and necklaces.
Nanimarquina adopt a modern approach to the design of handmade, bespoke rugs. The company works with international designers to incorporate their artwork into woven rugs. One eye-catching piece, entitled Hayon x Nani, was designed by Jamie Hayon, and featured colourful, random hand-drawn illustrations.
Authentiques Paris is a French brand displaying beautiful bespoke accessories for the home. We loved these hangers, some with embroidered fabric and others bound in leather. It’s something very unique for what is usually considered a non-descript accessory or an item usually hidden away in a wardrobe.
(Clockwise from left – The lighting at the café bar, Sans Souci, Preciosa’s Carousel of Light, the Icosahedron, Studio Italia/Huda Lighting)
Perhaps the highlight of the fair was the creativity and immersive nature of some of the lighting installations. Preciosa Lighting stole the show last year, and this time they were one of the main attractions again with the Carousel of Light. The hanging bulbs are triggered by movement, and the effect is quite spell-binding as the light follows you while you move around the installation which included rocking horses and a rotating stage.
(Clockwise from left – Sans Souci, Brokis Lighting, Preciosa, Sans Souci, and Sans Souci again.)
The Icosahedron, created by Anthony James, is a sculpture based on infinite reflections that demonstrate perfect symmetry within a glass cage of 20 equilateral triangles. The effect is psychedelic and completely immersive. Other mentions must go to Sans Souci from the Czech Republic, and the Italian brands Henge and Light4, for some imaginative installations.
(The star of the outdoor displays was Secret Gardens LLC)
Green elements and displays played a large part of the the fair, with a variety of outdoor furniture and decorative features presented. One of the main attractions was the contemporary style vapor-based linear fire pit by Secret Gardens, which exudes water vapour and uses coloured lighting to resemble live flame. This isn’t only an outdoor feature, in fact it would also make an interesting adornment for living spaces indoors.
We loved these moss clouds which can be used indoors or outside. They look beautiful in both and red and green, and are very low maintenance, ecological and green.
(Clockwise from keft – Nanimarquina pouffe, a chauir from South Korea, The Little Bear Group table, mirror selfie, crying bench, and Al Joud linen baskets)
The Little Bear Group appeared last year with a beautiful timber resin table encased in glass. This year they returned with another example of their work, which had amazing detailing. The use of natural timber within interior design is something we all aspire to, and a feature table such as this creates a focal point within any space because it exudes natural grandeur and beauty.
(Clockwise from left – Ken’s Interiors wood panels, New Terracotta pastel tiles, New Terracotta crackled glazed tiles, New Tereracotta feature tiles and fish scale displays, A Cimenteira Do Louro terrazzo, printed tiles from New Terracotta, terrazzo by New Terracotta, and hand painted New Terracotta tiles)
Terrazzo. So much terrazzo. There’s just something about terrazzo for a designer that we can’t resist. It’s not structured, it has an element of randomness, it comes in different sizes, colours, and is a natural product. It’s actually very visually soothing, and it just speaks to us on a level that no other tile or stone quite manages.
New Terracotta is our new favourite tile brand. As well as amazing terrazzo, they had some artistic printed tiles, crackled glazed tiles in amazing colours. The gradient, textures, pastel flourishes, the look and feel – spectacular. The crackled effect is such a unique look and has unlimited applications, adding a certain authenticity to design.
(Clockwise from left – Grohe bathrooms in terracotta and navy, Grohe faucets, New Terracotta feature tiles, Ever Life Design polyurethane wash basin.)
Roca and Grohe both had a strong presence at this year’s event. Grohe presented a new limited edition 3D printed faucet collection called Icon. Roca, meanwhile, were showing their new Armani bathroom collection, with a great deal of gold, as one might expect.
The highlight, though, was the Duravit black matte collection. Black matte faucets, wash basins and toilets are going to stay in style throughout 2020. Even the toilet paper was black!
Ever Life Design is a young, funky brand that produces multi-functional accessories for bathroom and home. They had created a polyurethane wash basin which was smooth in texture and soft to the touch. A very unique piece, and they are a brand we will watch out for this year.
Downtown Design is one of the most important regional events in our industry. You get to see all the latest new products, gain inspiration and learn how to improve and impact upon our designs. It’s great to see new creations in the design world. It can inspire design direction with new and creative ways to remain authentic and embrace bespoke, non-artificial products.
The fair was presented in a very immersive, contemporary way, and was filled with activities aimed at keeping dwell times high. This event just keeps getting better each year. More designers are coming, and perhaps the best compliment we can pay it, is that all the brands and designers that came last year returned this time around. More international names are attracted to this event as it continues to grow, and we look forward to coming back next year.