Create an identity – Tanween at Downtown Design 2023

Create an identity with Tanween

Concept stage of Maryam El Attar & Mohammed El Naggar's ExhibitConcept stage of Maryam El Attar & Mohammed El Naggar's Exhibit

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.

Name of the curator/in charge for the collective: Tanween by Tashkeel is curated by Sheikha Lateefa bint Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Founder and Director of Tashkeel, the commercial consultancy and art & design incubator based in Dubai. All design pieces are outcomes of the Tanween design programme, an annual professional development initiative for UAE-based design practitioners, which celebrates its landmark tenth edition this year.

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

As a pillar of the UAE design sector, Tashkeel is a veteran of Dubai Design Week as both an exhibitor and partner. We first presented groundbreaking UAE-made furniture and lighting designs back in 2013 at the event’s predecessor Dubai Design Days. Since 2017, we have been a familiar face at Downtown Design Editions, revealing new and exciting additions to The Tanween Collection every year at the Tanween by Tashkeel stand.

Concept stage of Maryam El Attar & Mohammed El Naggar's Exhibit
Concept stage of Maryam El Attar & Mohammed El Naggar’s Exhibit

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

In the UAE Year of Sustainability, the Tanween by Tashkeel stand presents the worldwide premiere of four meaningful pieces by UAE-based designers that make a genuine contribution to the country’s circular economy. Utilising natural as well as waste materials, these refreshing designs not only possess a defined design aesthetic with material innovation but also have strong consumer appeal. 

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

Tashkeel makes its selection months before each edition of Dubai Design Week! At the beginning of each year, we select 4 to 5 designers from over 80 applicants for the Tanween design programme. We look for professionals in the early stages of their careers living and working in the UAE who wish to explore a certain design direction or material field. They need to demonstrate a well-rounded intention and have the determination (and courage!) to step outside their comfort zone. The chosen cohort then embarks on a grueling schedule of training, research, experimentation and prototyping. They spend the summer months with their fabrication partners, refining and producing the pieces that Tashkeel reveals at Downtown Design Editions.

Wafa Al Falahi
Wafa Al Falahi

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

Since 2013, the Tanween Design Programme by Tashkeel has trained 36, early career, UAE-based design professionals who have produced 49 original furniture and lighting designs inspired by, developed and manufactured in the UAE. Today, 23 of these limited edition pieces are offered through Tashkeel’s furniture and lighting series, The Tanween Collection. This year, the milestone tenth edition of the Tanween Design Programme by Tashkeel concludes with the debut of four innovative, sustainable furniture and lighting designs by early-career design professionals at Downtown Design Editions 2023: Wafa Al Falahi, Marwa Abdelrahim, Chinara Tashmatova, Maryam Elattar & Mohamed Elnaggar.

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)?

Since 2020, Tanween by Tashkeel has been addressing one of the fundamental challenges facing the world today; achieving sustainability and a circular economy. Each year, we launch new additions to The Tanween Collection, our line of highly sustainable furniture and lighting designs. Thanks to our presence at Downtown Design, our client base broadens each year. From private collectors and specialist galleries through to hotels, restaurants, corporates and government departments, Tanween by Tashkeel not only offers refined design solutions, its pieces reflects the place that surrounds us; resonating the past and the present of the United Arab Emirates. 

Maria Abdelrahim's piece
Maria Abdelrahim’s piece

Which primary materials stand out in the showcased designs?

Tanween by Tashkeel certainly does not subscribe to convention! This year, we expect to challenge visitors’ assumptions around just how far design can push the possibilities of sustainability in the UAE. Recycled marine plastics, reclaimed fired clay, discarded cablespools, desert sand and bioplastic are just some of the materials featured in the four innovative furniture and lighting designs we are debuting this year. 

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

Let the visitors to Downtown Design choose from the four flagship pieces we are featuring! Connoisseurs and consumers are all looking for designs that speak their values, their lifestyle and their send of belonging. We hope that visitors to Tanween by Tashkeel this year will connect with the pieces presented – considered designs made-in-UAE that resonate with meaning and relevance, providing elegant solutions to the issues that blight our natural world. 

Courtesy of Chinara Darwish
Courtesy of Chinara Darwish

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