An array of designers exhibiting at Design Days Dubai this year are utilising the latest technologies to alter and update the age-old concept of “craft”.
Understood as the small-scale production of goods, craft’s relationship to design is incredibly close. Though the two fields remain distinct, the former is often discounted as a tired and aging industry, a number of designers participating in this year’s Design Days Dubai are combining craft and innovative techniques to stunning effect. For example, weaving is combined with audio technology, woodwork is improved by 3D printing and the traditional colours of ‘sadu’ are artificially created through chermical technology.
Award-winning textile label BeatWoven is a global pioneer of pattern exploration producing couture fabrics for the luxury interior design market. It uses its skillfully coded audio technology as an instrument to translate and reveal the geometric patterns created by the beats and sounds in music. Simply by playing songs and sounds, it visualizes and orchestrates pattern formations that fuse harmoniously with textiles, particularly with the traditional craft technique of weaving. BeatWoven will be shown at Design Days Dubai by Crafts Council (UK).
Samovar Carpets’ collaboration with Kuwaiti designer Abdulla Al Awadi also revives the traditional craft technique of weaving. Carpets of Love (زرابي حب) looks to the local tradition of weaving sadu (flat woven carpets), which has long been a part of Nomadic life. The craft is passed from generation to generation, taking on different shapes and colours depending on the physical location of the weaver and dyes found in the natural environment. Abdulla Al Awadi utilises uses modern technology to create a colour mix that updates this traditional regional craft form.
KALO is run by researcher, designer and architect Ammar Kalo. Blending conventional material processes with advanced digital fabrication methods, his work mostly interrogates the relationship between digital technology and traditional craft.
The ‘Stratum’ chair takes advantage of advanced CNC milling and fabrication technologies. Its unique formal and visual qualities are derived from the ways in which the plywood strata layers are carved to highlight the product’s utilitarian features.
Guto Requena’s ‘Golden Harvest’ consists of an attempt to bridge the gap between tradition and technology using Brazil’s native golden grass and a generations-old craft technique practiced by indigenous artisans. Design Days Dubai exhibitor Gallery S. Bensimon invited Guto Requena to develop a limited edition collection combining the tradition, music and aesthetic from the communities of artisans visited by the studio. Each object produced has within itself a metal sheet perforated with a honeycomb pattern distorted by the traditional melodies sung by the producers of capim dourado (golden grass) in the Amazonian village of Mumbuca.
Camp Design Gallery presents a group of designers that skillfully apply contemporary innovation to classical materials. Take the limited edition screen ‘Where The Rain Stops’ by Analogia Project which shows the projection of the inner dome of the Pantheon in Rome. Finely decorated on a black surface, the lines demarcate the geometries, as subtle signs of gold, and the hole of the Pantheon rips the panels of the screen. The project is a collaborative effort between Analogia Project and Fabscarte master decorators who used the ancient technique of dusting (used in the Renaissance for frescoes) to translate the dome on the screen panels by hand.