Downtown Design 2016 – the highlights

With 100 brands in 15 categories, from sustainable furniture, energy-efficient lighting to biodegradable accessories, and kitchen and bathroom technology, and an unprecedented regional representation, Downtown Design 2016 is slated to be a true showcase of skill and innovation by established and up-coming design brands.

Here is our edit of  the brands to look out for.


02 Kettal Doshi Web Image

Cala Armchair – Doshi-Levien by KETTAL

Presenting for the first time at the show, Kettal marks half a century of great design by collaborations with Doshi-Levien, Jasper Morrison, Patricia Urquiola, Rodolfo Dordoni, and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. The spanish label celebrates its incredible design legacy at this year’s Downtown Design, in Dubai. In addition to its stunning booth, the brand’s iconic Pavilions seating can be seen at the fair’s cafe.


Escape From Sofa returns after a stellar reception last year.

An interior design studio established in 2009, Escapefromsofa believes in focusing on contemporary values and catering to current demographic needs, rather than gaining inspiration from the past. As a modern and innovative company, the brand prides itself on constantly working with new and emerging materials and technologies. They will unviel their new collection at the fair. Last year, they were part of the  Istanbul Design Week contingent as part of the first edition of the ‘Destination’ project.


The re-configurable seating, Mosaico by Yonoh

Another Spanish brand making its fair debut,  Sancal will present with the new Majestic Collection, that revisits the brand’s origins, inspired by the past four decades. Based on a philosophy of simplicity and functionality, each piece can be customised to different styles. A reflection of the brand’s belief that ‘diversity of humanity is the measure of everything’ no two Sancal pieces may ever look the same.


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Ode to Granite and the city of Porto – the Stone Sideboard by Bat Eye

Bat Eye was founded by Portuguese architect, Marco Sousa, who, upon graduation, felt the need to create furniture that converged art and architecture.  Each Bat Eye piece, is a unique interpret of some of the most iconic cities, lending a distinct vision of the world to their collection. From the Arc sideboard that boasts of hand-painted tiles to the ‘Guilty’ jewellery box – a special edition piece that is inspired by the history and soul of Porto and for the first time in the UAE, the Stone Sideboard – each piece is unique, and utterly lust worthy.


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‘Betty’, a bohemian chic stacking chair by Bend Goods

Founded by 2010 by Gaurav Nanda, Bend Goods is a Los Angeles-based design and manufacturing company that creates functional products for the home and public spaces. The quality of each Bend Goods’ product is in the detail:  the inviting shapes, the sparks of colour, ease of assembly and packaging.  Each element embodies Nanda’s drive for making iconic, sustainable products.


Lending a modern interpretation to Islamic design via form and materiality – NM Collection

The NM Collection is created by Abu Dhabi-based designers Fouad Mirza and Ritchie Nolasco.  It is a new line of contemporary furniture that displays their ability to reshape the past with a unique and fresh feel that effortlessly integrates modern luxury with traditional Islamic Art. The focus of the label is  to bring local artisanal design and craftsmanship to the forefront of the furniture industry by featuring Arabesque design elements.  It is also the goal to introduce this art form to the international stage through integration with modern design and represent the UAE as a leading source of high-end design.


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A favourite of luxury project developers and designers, KLOVE makes its Dubai debut

A decade ago, Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth launched Klove, with a collection of simple, beautifully hand-crafted lights. In ten years of travel, experimentation, training and adventure, they have built a progressive and sustainable design business with huge potential for growth that combines art and commerce.



Apical Reform from India brings humanity to design.

Established in 2011, Apical Reform has a been growing as a multi-disciplinary design studio that works in architectural design, interior design, product design, customizations and functional art, under the guidance of Amrish Patel and Architect Darshan Soni. Apical Reform involves the latest technology as a core motivation ‘to learn from and bring to people, art as a means to express, to serve, to innovate and to reform.


The Mezan see-saw strikes a euphoric balance between the various cultures that shape the designer.

The Mezan see-saw strikes a euphoric balance between the various cultures that shape the designer.

One of Dubai’s most exciting interior designers, Dubai Design District based Pallavi Dean makes her debut as a product designer with a collection. ‘Tension’. Working with highly-regarded manufacturers Stellar Works and Preciosa Lighting, Pallavi applies the designer in her to address issues of cultural diversity and acceptance. Shaped by three cultures that define her – Indian, Arabic and British – her collection of occasion furniture and lights culminates in the balancing act of a see-saw, Mezan

TORU (via Destination)

TORU is part of this year’s edition of Destination, the fair’s collaborative project with Dubai Design Week

TORU from Barcelona is a young craft and design company that produces beautiful simple design furniture with exquisite materials. Interested in telling stories through objects by searching new functionality, and the use of material qualities. All the products are handmade by local artisans, and are either unique or made in small series.


Master craftsmen in metal, De Castelli will present distinct consoles

De Castelli is the company that introduced design into metal work, in a series of accessories for the home and outdoors which derive their unique quality from the change in scale and the application of unusual finishes, thanks to which they acquire a new aesthetic significance, generating an unexpected visual and emotional impact.


The Armada collection is just one of the Moroso design icons on show

The Armada collection is just one of the Moroso design icons on show

Moroso has been farsighted, daring and certain of the advantage of combining craftsmanship and tailoring with industrial processing techniques to create unique products and by drawing on the worlds of industrial design, contemporary art and fashion. Along with its product catalogue, the culmination of thirty years work in design and expression, Moroso offers customers its design and production expertise to create customized projects for the contract and luxury residential sectors.

MURIEL KAI (via Destination)

Fruit Leather by Muriel Kai


Inspired by different cultures and Nature, Muriel Kai is graduate of the product design program at Académie Libanaise de Beaux Arts. Part of the Beirut Design Week presentation, the designer presents  Fruit Leather – an innovative material made from a mix of wasted fruits and vegetables. Because this 100% organic material is flexible, translucent, and has a smooth finish, it can be applied to a variety of productions, including tea lights and jewelry boxes, which are featured at the show.


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The Shell Chair by Hans J. Wegner has fascinated design lovers since it was designed in 1963.

Most of the furniture the brand produces today was designed by leading Danish architects back in the 1930s and up to the 1960s, but the design, the vision and the craftsmanship behind every piece of furniture is still as relevant today as it was then. This is why, dedication to working with the best materials and the best designers has and will always be fundamental to Carl Hansen & Søn.


Image result for intergalactic lasvit

This year at Downtown Design, Lasvit will be showcasing a selection of design lighting collections designed by world-renowned designers Maurizio Galante and Moritz Waldemeyer, together with Czech progressive author Jakub Berdych. Each of the art pieces is reinterpreting the neoclassical taste of chandeliers with a contemporary twist by combining Czech glassmakers’ artisanal know-how and craftsmanship.


The late Zaha Hadid’s crystal and metal centrepiece serves as a reminder of the collaborators’ vision

Since its launch in 2007, Atelier Swarovski has collaborated with more than 60 of the world’s leading designers from a range of creative fields including fashion, jewellery, architecture and design, to create luxury jewelry and accessories.  Following the fashion cycle by launching new collections twice a year during London and Paris fashion weeks, Atelier Swarovski creates the ultimate cutting-edge designer fashion accessories whilst demonstrating the infinite creative potential of crystal. The label’s presentation includes some of the late Zaha Hadid’s ultimate works.

Downtown Design at Dubai Design District from 25018 October. For more information go here.

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