idea to bring a copycat design-art collectablemarket to Dubai. It could work. It was anuntapped market. With buyers already in townor Art Dubai, collecting limited-edition designsseemed like a no-brainer that would enhancethe already privileged Art Dubai brand. Whencollectors buy the art, they need a soa to match!So, in Design Days Dubai, there is thisambitious undertaking, merchandising andselling what amounts to a new independentproduct in a context that many people in theregion would consider a “European” sensibility.Are people in our region primed to understandthe quality, themes and presentations that are anorm in countries with developed art urnituremarkets (UK, USA)? Also, how well does theshow prepare and educate the prospectivecollector? I think a region with our resourcescan do more, despite attempts by the DesignDays Dubai team and the creation o extensiveprogramming and preparation.Importantly, there is still the problem o selling stu and the creation o a category orit. According to one gallerist, who would liketo remain anonymous, “buyers at the show
Guests play ith theAbaya/Kadoora-ispiredfoozball table at theQatar-based virgiiaCommoealth Uiersitystad at the specialpreie ight of theiaugural Desig DaysDubai.
THE BIRTHSlotted in the crowded category o muscularcollectable design trade airs that include suchnotables as Salone del Mobile (Milan), 100%Design (London) and Design (Miami/Basel),this jewel o an exhibition in Dubai can standproud next to its orbear. My spies inside theshow report that it’s stued to the brim withonlookers, many o them potential designcollectors. There is enough buzz and curiosity just or the privilege to view the work insidethe tent structure, and maybe participate in animpromptu chat with a participating designer, aworkshop or a lecture.And it could’ve been Miami Basel in 2006,when Design Days Dubai's Fair Director, CyrilZammit, was working or private bank HSBCin Switzerland and got the ingenious idea tosponsor the sister collectable urniture air,Design Miami. Miami came knocking againwhen, in 2009, at a Design Miami lecture series,Ben Floyd and John Martin o Art Dubai hearda talk about collecting design, by Simon DePury, the eponymous auction house directoro Phillips, de Pury. The duo then got a uniqueare not prepared to pay the price o work onthe international market, and there remains aschism between what collectors will pay or art,and will pay or design.” Witness the ollowingexchange:BUYER: OOH, I LIKE THIS TABLE, IT’S SOPRETTY. HOW MUCH IS IT?Gallery: It is $10,000 (QR36,400) entirelyhandmade. (Buyer says nothing, gives stinkeye to gallerist.) Gallerist continues: Wouldyou like to know the history o the artists?The artists' work has previously been sold orbetween $5,000 and $30,000 (QR18,200 andQR109,000). The work o these artists hasbeen shown at several A-list galleries in thebiggest cities in the world and their designs arein many major museum collections, includingthe Museum o Modern Art, NYC Buyer: I justbought mysel a Bentley, that’s too expensive ora table. Etcetera, etcetera.THE GOODSThe one booth in the March design madness inthe Design Days tent that had Ikea-like pricesto satisy a potential buyer was a truly populistenterprise, the DXB store. In its second year(the rst was 2011), the initiative was brandedin two additional venues (Art Dubai and Sikka).Planned as a showcase or the explosion o cottage creativity in the Emirates, it eaturedaround 40 designers, many o whom made theproduct to sell at the store in their home studios,utilizing locally-produced materials to producelimited-edition objects, artist’s multiples,clothes and textiles. The scene in the DXB storein the Design Days Pavilion was crammed likea New York City subway car, with shoppershoarding pretty bags or their mac babies.
The Proust GeometricaChair o display at the PFEmirates Iteriors stad atthe Desig Days Dubai fair.