Create an identity – Aassttiinn at Downtown Design 2023

Create an Identity with Aassttiinn

Create an identity campaign is all about the story of the brands. Their design aesthetics, creative approach, and overall contribution to the industry. This year identity magazine in collaboration with Downtown Design brings you the story behind some of the collectives featured at the milestone event.

We spoke to the curator/in charge for the collective: Shadi Malek to know more about the exhibits.

Is this the first time the collective is coming together at Downtown Design/Dubai Design Week?

Yes, this is our first time attending the fair, and also first time for an Iranian platform with focus on Iranian designers to exhibit during Dubai Design Week. 

What can we expect from this edition of the Downtown Design’s exhibit?

This being our first presence at Downtown Design, we dive into the experience of participation. We invite the audience to a contemplation of what feels at home today, by bringing together novel designs that reflect on the modern home space as they address our nomadic tendencies and our desire for a more harmonious lifestyle. 

What criteria were used to shortlist designers for this segment? How extensive was the selection process?

Aassttiinn as a platform focuses on modern Iranian lifestyle and design. We have been working with some of the best Iranian artists from all around the world in past years. For this edition of the fair, we intended to showcase some of our finest handmade, collectible design objects from some of our leading artists. The selection process for Nomad at Home mostly relied on its curatorial core and central concept. 

Was there any specific sector you saw more participation from? (furniture/art/accessories)?

The selection process emphasized on functionality, artistic merit, cultural reference and sustainability. Three out of Four of the participating artists, come from a Visual Arts background and are Sculptors. This is visible through the Sculptural aspect of their designs. 

What does the collective aim to achieve with this edition of the fair? Any plans after the event gets done (opening of showroom, partnering up with local dealers, more exhibits, etc)?

We have the intention of starting a dialogue with our neighbors, industry people, collaborators from across the middle east. Through these conversations, we hope to partner-up and put together more exhibitions and popup shows to present Iranian artists from all over the world. 

Which primary materials stand out in the showcased designs?

That would have to be waste. The curation centers around Ali Honarvar and Peace Industry, both fusing natural waste into their functional pieces of art. In both cases, these objects go through a journey from dissociation and fragmentation to integration and harmony. in case of Peace Industry for instance, we get re-acquainted with the forgotten craft of the felt rug which some believe to be “the original Persian rug”. 

Are there any notable pieces you’d like to highlight? And any hints about the exhibition’s key showcases?

Ali Honarvar’s work became the starting point for this exhibition. He has been working for nearly 20 years as a sculptor and for the past 12 years he has developed his technique and craft of functional, Papier-mâché-based, home objects. Through this time, he has explored and experimented with different natural wastes and combined them with paper pulp, in order to reach the highest levels of durability for these beautiful pieces. We find that fascinating. 


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