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identity Winners revealed for the identity Design Awards 2020


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identity Design Awards



Features 16

Urban activists Kuwait and Portugal-based Studio Toggle discuss how their work marries architecture, urban design and activism


Modern living studio bruno guelaff ’s modern beachside villa allows the surrounding seascape to take centre stage


identity Design Awards 2020 Revealing the winners of the identity Design Awards 2020


Reflections of time CEBRA’s Al Musallah prayer hall in Abu Dhabi is a monument at the crossroads of the past and future


Industrial fusion L.S. Design’s Train Bar Lounge merges four different spaces using an industrial design language



Design Focus: Lighting Exploring the sector’s latest developments, with a focus on human-centric and environmental lighting


Downtown Design Downtown Design’s ‘Shape of Things to Come’ exhibition explores the future of the built environment

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Designed For Living






Editor-in-Chief Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Managing Partner and Group Editor Ian Fairservice Group Director Andrew Wingrove Editor Aidan Imanova Designer Hannah Perez Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Milne Deputy Sales Manager Mrudula Patre Sales Representative - Italy Daniela Prestinoni

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General Manager - Production S Sunil Kumar Assistant Production Manager Binu Purandaran Production Supervisor Venita Pinto Contributors Esra Lemmens Max Tuttle

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Photo by Natelee Cocks

K House by Norm Arc hitects and Aim Architecture Photography by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen The latest architecture, design + interiors news, now online


Editor’s Note

Photo by Young Habibti

Since the start of the pandemic, what was once the norm in the way we experience design and the built environment completely shifted, forcing everyone to turn to their screens in order to experience all the latest collections, and even to virtually tour newly completed buildings such as the late Dame Zaha Hadid’s ME by Melia hotel in Dubai’s Business Bay. While we are extremely lucky to be in a position to have such alternatives, grasping the true impact of design has been difficult - and forming a complete understanding of what has been created in the past 11 months even more so. This is why it was so refreshing to look over the entries for this year’s identity Design Awards, which were submitted from across the region, including countries in the Gulf and the Levant, North Africa and Iran. Being able to study such a comprehensive selection of projects across both architecture and interior design truly showcased the region’s progress, perseverance and place within global contemporary design. This year’s Awards were also the most diverse to date in terms of participating countries, scale of projects and the sizes of firms who submitted them. International architecture firms like CEBRA Architecture and KEO International Consultants stood alongside regionally-based boutique practices such as Styled Habitat, Studio M and L.S. Design. A student-and-faculty team from the American University of Sharjah also picked up an award for their project Tamazoj in Abu Dhabi. We aim to continue pushing for more inclusivity and representation across all of identity’s channels and products. I believe equal opportunity and a broadened perspective will allow us to see a more complete view of design and architecture, both regionally and globally. Coming back to the Awards, the winning projects and those in the shortlist - besides showcasing strong design principles and an understanding and respect for context - offer a much-needed dose of positivity and an assurance that design and architecture in the region are in good hands. I would like to once again congratulate all the winners of this year’s identity Design Awards and I look forward to seeing what’s next for everyone. In other parts of the magazine, we speak to Kuwait-and-Portugal-based practice Studio Toggle who discuss their role as ‘architectural activists’, striving to create a built environment that is positive and responsible, with a focus on energy-efficiency and user-friendliness. This is reassuring to see. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed to us all the importance of our built environments and with the risk of climate change growing every day, such considerations should remain at the forefront of design, alongside the desire to create safer and more resilient communities.

Aidan Imanova Editor

On the cover: identity Design Awards 2020 Health & Wellness shortlist: Chalk by Studio M


Stop and smell the roses Van Cleef & Arpels is collaborating with French artist Alexandre Benjamin Navet to design the window displays of the maison’s boutiques worldwide, including those in the Middle East. Navet explores the world of flowers for the first time, reinterpreting the brand’s cherished theme, combining it with vases that are a recurrent motif in his own work. “I have been drawing vases for several years: I say they are like actors on a stage, elements in a theatre production. But people often point out that there are never any flowers in my vases. So, I thought it was funny and interesting that – when we met – the maison invited me to draw flowers, leaving a lot of room for the energy of colour. “The idea was to present flowers in bloom, but also to focus on the colours that come to life. My palette is already rich, but I really expanded it to create drawings that are both a personal signature and the fruit of this collaboration with Van Cleef & Arpels. It’s a dialogue, an exchange, a conversation.” By recreating a sketchbook feel, Navet brings blossoming floral forms and a dazzling colour palette to the maison’s window displays. Stems and petals – cut out and reassembled into colourful compositions – seem to emerge from curved sculptures, which also hold the jewels. Created by the artist in pencil at his Paris studio, the original design reflects the artist’s attachment to spontaneous outlines and explosions of vivid, luminous colour. To celebrate the vitality of nature throughout the year, Navet and Van Cleef & Arpels have also created large-format scenery, to be installed in-store or at external events. Ample flowers and copious bouquets unfurl across façades and furnishings as if nature had suddenly occupied the space during the night. The brightly coloured decor – an imaginary garden in oil pastels – will be completed with personalised details to match the destination. This immersive experience will give visitors the dream-like impression of strolling through an open sketchbook, in a blend of architecture and drawing.



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Waiting for sunrise

Photo: Chiara Cadeddu

Milan’s alternative Design City Edition presented a locallyfocused design week, with events taking place across the city’s many showrooms, as well as a number of installations. Italian chair-maker Billiani presented a whimsical installation at the family-owned Milanese Senato Hotel, titled ‘Sunrise’. The installation is a message of positivity for Milan’s design and tourism industries, which have been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Designed by the brand’s creative director, Cristina Celestino, the installation showcased her latest designs for the chair brand, including the Frisée and Corolla collections. The Frisée chairs adorn the hotel’s reflecting pool at the atrium, symbolising the dawn of a new day. “The ‘Sunrise’ installation acts as a positive signal to the city of Milan, and to its design and tourism industries. The Frisée chairs appear as surreal wooden sculptures, presented on terracotta platforms that are floating on a twilight-inspired warm orange-hued reflecting pool and glorified by the architectural context of Palazzo Senato,” explains Celestino. The soft Corolla armchairs are positioned at the welcoming lobby together with the hotel’s own custom-made loungers.

Architecture on-the-go The Emirates Architecture Open, organised by the ThreeFlaneurs, will be showcasing contemporary projects built by local design firms in the UAE as part of Dubai Design Week 2020 on 13 and 14 November 2020. Participants will attend exclusive design tours of four recently executed projects between Dubai and Sharjah, guided by key designers. The architecture tours aim to create awareness and a deeper appreciation for the current design concerns and challenges of contemporary architectural practices in the Emirates. It will also foster a sharing of knowledge between the design experts and visitors. The event strives to promote exemplary home-grown talent and projects that promote the value of contextual design, which effectively contributes to the built environment. The four buildings on the tour schedule include Jameel Arts Centre, The Flying Saucer, KOA Canvas and the Landscape Podium at the Hameni Tower. 12

Photo: Sahil Latheef


An ode to L an arch ebanese interior architect and product designer Richard Yasmine presented his latest collection, After Ago, at 5VIE D’N’A – a hybrid event in Milan featuring the works of various creatives and artists within a live and virtual setting, with the aim to imagine a better world. The hybrid collection is fundamentally an ode to the arch, inspired by the Postmodern and Memphis movements in design with a twist of the graceful lines found in Art Deco and the monolithic sobriety of Brutalism. The collection asserts that by merely using a simple line, one can create an infinite range of objects that are both thoughtful and minimal. The functional and sculptural objects have been handcrafted and painted using a variety of materials such as foam, lightweight concrete plaster, acrylic and stone ware/clay. The collection was born out of an intense sketching exercise, where the arch underwent countless possibilities, rotating and flipping to create bold shapes imagined out of various geometrical procedures that further accentuate its curves, creating seats, a shelving unit, a table, a tray and a vase, among others.


An interplay of contrasts creates an emotional duality in the collection, anchored by its monochromatic colour palette. “The alteration between drawn black and white stripes on each side of the object translates to a dramatic illusion of internal and spatial chaos,” Yasmine explains. “Black is a mysterious colour and is associated with the unknown future or the undesirable or sad past, while white is considered to be the colour of serenity and safety. Black traps space, while white opens space. Black evokes sophistication while white communicates innocence and renewed beginnings. “Just like the fascinating history of my city, Beirut, with its multiple lives and layers that have persisted throughout centuries; yet after each disaster, it always rises from the ashes, longing for eternal life.”




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Urban activists Conversation with Aidan Imanova

Kuwait-and Porto-based Studio Toggle, run by architects Hend Almatrouk and Gijo Paul George, is one of the young practices currently developing a fresh architectural language for the Middle East. In an exclusive interview with identity, the duo discusses how the practice interweaves architecture, urbanism and activism, while staying true to context and the vernacular. 16








ow was Studio Toggle formed? What did the two of you want to bring to the region and the architectural sphere when starting your firm? Gijo Paul George (GPG): Back in 2011, during our graduate studies at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, I had an opportunity to collaborate with Hend on a competition that called for the redesign of the façade of the Pushkinsky cinema in Moscow. Our proposal, ‘Rossiya’s Flourish’, made the shortlist and was published widely on the internet. This made us realise that we work well together and that the results of our collaborations always ended up being more than the sum of their parts. We started Studio Toggle in 2011, while we were still students in Vienna, and in 2012 we moved to Kuwait to work on our first residential project. In 2016, we expanded by opening another studio in Porto. Hend Almatrouk (HA: Like Gijo said, the effortless ease of working with each other and the fact that our architectural and ethical visions aligned perfectly, gave us the reassurance that collaborating with each other was a no-brainer. Our agenda was always simple. We established Studio Toggle to focus on logical design and problem-solving techniques. We wanted to bridge the gap between architecture and urban design, creating spaces that are accessible as much as they are beautiful. With my specialisation in experimental architecture and Gijo’s focus on public urban planning, we believed we were equipped to do just that. What is Studio Toggle’s design ethos? What do you feel you have contributed to the region in terms of elevating the built environment? HA: The three pillars of Studio Toggle are architecture, urbanism and activism. I would like to describe it as architecture rooted in urbanistic activism. While challenging norms and standard practices, we avoid stylistic trends and non-functional ornamentation. While not overtly subversive, our work definitely goes against the grain. We believe that through our sense of activism towards positive and responsible design, Studio Toggle has been instrumental in raising awareness of the importance of design thinking in the region. We believe that design thinking should go hand in hand with the construction process. We have demonstrated that theoretical research translates into tangible improvements in the energy efficiency and user-friendliness of buildings. To that effect, we have also championed the deployment of Building Informational Modelling (BIM) and digital fabrication techniques to improve architectural design quality and construction processes. How do you feel your projects challenge architectural and urban norms of the region? GPG: Rejecting the regional trend of buildings becoming antisocial islands, our projects contribute towards the contextual harmony of

streetscapes by paying close attention to the street-interface of each building. An example is the harmonious integration of projects F.LOT and Ternion Villas in Al Bidaá, Kuwait, which became a catalyst or seed for the regeneration of an entire residential block. Another example of our design activism can be found in the way we have approached the expat housing typology in Kuwait. By avoiding the cookie-cutter anonymity of expat housing blocks, we seek to instill a sense of community and pride in such neighbourhoods through design and by the mandatory integration of social interaction. An example of this can be found in the 'multi-unit' housing block in Abu Alhassaniya, Kuwait, which includes a public roof garden accessible to all floors above the multiple independent housing units. Another project that demonstrates this is the 'Twins' residential tower block, in which two multi-storey residential towers rise up from a podium that serves as a public plaza, giving the project a sense of urbanity. What does a contemporary language for the Middle East look like? HA: While it is hard to define what a responsible contemporary language for Middle Eastern architecture should look like, we can say with confidence that it should involve learning from the rich vernacular that the region affords. Aesthetics are completely subjective but our studio bases its language on clean, geometrical forms abstracted from the vernacular and traditional design solutions. An honest palette of materiality, along with architectural elements such as cantilevers, overhangs, courtyards and vaults, forms the language that gives our buildings their identity. How does Studio Toggle reinterpret traditional building methods of the region? GPG: An example of how we incorporate traditional planning strategies of the region is exemplified by our project Ternion – a residential development comprising three courtyard houses in Kuwait. In Ternion, we sought to minimise the use of active climate control by employing passive cooling techniques, traditionally part of the vernacular. Combining these with self-shading massing strategies gave the project the direction it needed, both spatially and aesthetically. Each villa is centred around a private courtyard featuring a swimming pool as a modern functional interpretation of a traditional 'hosh' (or courtyard) with a water feature. The social spaces are grouped around this pool and feature longitudinal full-height glazed windows, facilitating cross-ventilation and evaporative cooling when open. The glazed internal walls afford panoramic views to the garden and pools, while shaded from the scorching sun by cantilevered volumes mitigates the heat gain. What resulted was a composition of variably stacked prismatic volumes, creating a pixelated massing that projected modern clean lines, clearly abstracted from the vernacular.




Is sustainability an important consideration for your studio? How do you ensure sustainable practices and decisions within your projects? GPG: It is simply a given to incorporate sustainable strategies when the context is temperate or mild. But in a 50 degrees celsius summer, in the middle of a blinding dust-storm, priorities differ and sustainable strategies, unfortunately, become one of the first casualties. The primary focus becomes survival and protection. The exterior becomes inaccessible, and the norm is to design for as much indoor comfort as one's situation allows. Even in such situations, we endeavour to stay true to our principles of responsible architecture by incorporating passive climate control strategies learned from the vernacular - without succumbing to the orientalist stylisms that usually accompany such attempts. In such extreme climates, it’s almost impossible to avoid active climate control systems, which by definition are not very sustainable. At Studio Toggle we try to minimise the impact of these systems by employing multiple strategies such as climate analysis and thermal studies, strategic placement of building apertures, self-shaded spaces, investing in high-performance window systems, making use of smart systems that reduce energy consumption and designing the surrounding landscape to mitigate the heat gain. How do you think the Middle East can become a stronger contender on the architectural map? Do you feel there is enough regional representation within the global architectural discourse? 20

HA: I think the whole MENA region is currently going through an exciting phase in the fields of architecture and design. A proliferation of young and enthusiastic design firms competing with the established players makes the design scene quite dynamic and that is a very good development. The focus of such practices is not in the scale of the projects but the enriched user experience and being at the forefront of international design trends. We believe that the international perception of the architecture of the Middle East is moving away from glitzy visions of skyscrapers and mega malls to that of architecture rooted in context, sustainability and vernacular. Maybe this is the beginning of a new chapter of Desert Modernism? I guess time will tell. GPG: I believe things are definitely changing for the better. Contrary to the usual practice of international architects being commissioned to design landmark architectural projects in the region, there is a strong representation of successful Middle Eastern practices being represented on an international level and winning important competitions and awards. Kuwaitand-Spain-based AGi Architects and Dubai-based X Architects have been a constant source of inspiration for us in that regard. If I may say so myself, Studio Toggle also has been slowly garnering its share of international attention. This year alone we won an Architizer A+ Award, were longlisted for the Dezeen Awards and have had our work published in multiple international publications. It is my opinion that the Middle East has already become a very strong contender on the international architectural map. id





Modern living studio bruno guelaff has created a modern beachside home in Dubai that allows the surrounding seascape to take centre stage

Words by Aidan Imanova


he way a person lives their life with their family should always dictate the way the layout and structure of a home is imagined,” states Bruno Guelaff, founder of Dubai-based studio bruno guelaff. “Family life comes first and not the ego of the architect.” Guelaff’s studio was commissioned to design the family home of Khalid Kaluti in its entirety, from the architecture to the interior design and landscaping. The 21,000-square foot villa is set on a 10,549-square foot plot on Pearl Jumeirah, adjacent to the beach. The brief called for a modern design that balanced natural light and privacy, while ensuring as much connection to the surrounding seascape as possible. Kaluti is a long-term entrepreneur who has owned and operated businesses for over 25 years, ranging from upscale restaurants in Washington DC to retail and contracting in Dubai. “Khalid’s wishes were very simple,” says Guelaff. “He wanted a bridge-like opening over the lower basement areas, allowing direct interaction with the living spaces, rejecting the typical foyer arrival or double-height spaces. We therefore created a simple arrival into a multipurpose living area, with a view 22

Photography by Bruno Guelaff

to the outdoor pool as well as a customisable open kitchen. Due to the expansive main area, smart structural design was imperative to make sure the architecture matched the clients’ brief.” Visitors are first greeted by a sleek bridge which hovers over the courtyard below, allowing for a dynamic arrival to the villa. The large open spaces exude minimalism and aim to bring the family together, whether in the kitchen or the areas for lounging. “Too many typical design approaches to family areas in large villas have these spaces segregated, which definitely wasn't the desired approach here," Guelaff explains. “The main inspiration for the villa was the lifestyle of the family, which in turn molded the interior layouts as well as the architecture and landscape design.” Upon arrival, large double doors open up to a white envelope lined with Calcatta large panel, high-gloss flooring, with a floor-to-ceiling Dekton fireplace sculpture acting as a minimalistic room divider between the dining and living spaces. The Pedini kitchen is visible as you walk in, set behind a glass wall. A stretch of a curtain allows for partial privacy, when required.





The first floor features three suites, comprising of two typical bedrooms for children and one master suite with an elegant master bathroom lined in high-gloss Calacatta tiles that are accented with matte black fixtures and electric privacy glass that activates at the click of a button. The roof area features a personal office space along with powder room, offering dramatic views over the ocean and Dubai’s downtown skyline. The massive exterior roof terrace features a family of Talenti furniture comprising outdoor seating, dining set and sun beds, set beside an outdoor shower and cooking area - ideal for evenings with family and friends. The basement level can be accessed via an elevator or the Silestone staircase made from matte American ash wood that is sliced through with a thin strip of light. A modern L-shaped corner LED light on the ceiling at each landing


level also provides a serene glow to the circulation space. The basement level, which marks the arrival to the villa, features various entertainment zones. The gym and billiards area is adjacent to a Japanese-style garden featuring a statement Bonsai olive tree that provides a calming ambiance. American quarter cut matte wood-lined corridors create a buffer zone between the gym and the lounge areas, which features a back wall, again in American ash, with vertical slices of light and tinted mirror glass, creating a perfect space in which to display the owner’s modern and colourful art collection. A bar and family cinema are the prominent attractions in this space, where family members are able to enjoy their time in the day thanks to the lightwells providing natural light, and in the evenings with the help of indirect lighting systems.





Sustainable considerations have been incorporated throughout the design, from the eco-friendly American hardwoods to solar panels on the roof and water purification systems which aim to eliminate as much single-plastic use as possible. LED lighting systems throughout the house greatly reduce power consumption while the custom smart home system reduces AC usage in all areas. studio bruno guelaff also ensured that outdoor spaces are thoroughly integrated in the living spaces, merging exterior and interior as per the brief of the client. “Interiors and exteriors really do feel as one in this project, which was a big portion of the concept,” Guelaff explains. “We wanted to split the


traditional landscaped areas on three floors. At the ground level, the entire floor is surrounded with windows that lead onto the modern exterior areas. We also have views to the light wells at the basement area right at the entrance of the villa, which again creates an outdoor hangout space for family and friends when they are either at the gym or the entertainment areas. The interaction of the interiors and exteriors is vital to this family’s lifestyle, and therefore vital to the design. “The villa is an exercise in clarity, serenity, scale and modernism,” Guelaff describes, “but above all, it is an exercise that will have an impact on many lives within the home which at the end of the day is the purpose of design: to leave an impression on individuals’ lives.” id

identity Design Awards 2020 Announcing the winners of the identity Design Awards 2020

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The winners of the inaugural identity Design Awards were announced during a virtual ceremony on 4 November 2020, with 14 projects honoured across 17 categories.

The winners were selected by an esteemed panel of international judges, including Italian architect Marco Piva, Paris-based designer India Mahdavi, Gianluca Peluffo, founder of Italian practice Peluffo & Partners, architect Sanjay Puri, founder and principal at Sanjay Puri Architects and Corina Leung, design director at LWK + Partners in Singapore. This year, the identity Design Awards was divided into Interior Design and Architecture sections to provide a more comprehensive view of design and the built environment across the Middle East, and also included the annual Outdoor Design, Project of the Future and Editor’s Choice categories. The People’s Choice Award was open to a public vote, and for the first time included the full awards shortlist, instead of the winning projects. This year also saw the debut of the Design of the Year award for both Interior Design and Architecture, selected by the jury from the overall winners. The identity Design Awards 2020 was the most diverse to date, with the highest regional participation in the event’s history. Shortlisted and winning projects hail from across the Middle East, including the UAE, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait and Egypt. These projects have been completed both by large, international firms’ regional offices as well as by homegrown boutique firms. This year’s winners include: Ammar Basheir, Carl Gerges Architects, CEBRA Architecture, Croquis Design Studio, DMJ Team, Godwin Austen Johnson, KEO International Consultants, L.S. Design, Lulie Fisher Design Studio, LW Design, Nakkash Design Studio, Studio M, Styled Habitat and T.Zed Architects.


From the jury

identity Design Awards’ international jury hails from across the globe: Paris, Milan, Genoa, Singapore and Mumbai. Here, the jury members share their thoughts on this year’s submissions.

GIANLUCA PELUFFO “It was really exciting to see all these very interesting projects. Usually in these competitioms we see a lot of international style but what I found here was anchoring - anchoring to the place and to society - and it is for this reason that I found in every proposal an attempt to belong. Architecture is the creation of the space of happiness, and what I found in your architecture is happiness.” CORINA LEUNG “The shortlisted entrants have demonstrated designs with creativity, innovation and complexity. It was pleasing to the eye to go through the images and I was impressed by the quality of the design work put forth by these talented architects and designers.”

SANJAY PURI “We saw some really interesting designs across all the categories. The projects displayed a beautiful integration of landscape, form, colour and texture, with excellent attention to detailing. For me, the category that had the most competitive designs was the Interior Design - Restaurant category, which was very interesting to study. Overall, there were some very interesting projects across all scales.”

MARCO PIVA “As member of the jury it has been hugely stimulating reviewing the submitted works. Each reviewed proposal had many merits. They were original, clean and precise, and went far beyond simply meeting the client brief. The projects provided fresh ideas with a high quality standard. It was a real challenge to decide on the finalists, and even more difficult to decide the winners!”

INDIA MAHDAVI “It was interesting and enriching to see what’s happening in other parts of the world. I was really happy to see that some renovations of old buildings are being undertaken.” IDENTITY DESIGN AWARDS


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WINNER Villa Chams Carl Gerges Architects Lebanon

Architecture Residential

SHORTLISTED 3D-printed home by U+A Amer and Lamya’s Villa by Binchy and Binchy Architecture BG Villa by studio bruno guelaff


House in Mishref by Studio Toggle KOA Canvas by T.Zed Architects Jumeirah Villa by LW Design

Villa Chams is a remote retreat, designed to emit feelings of harmonious tranquility through nature’s many sensorial layers. The walls are naturally finished with poured earth concrete, while the sliding floor-to-ceiling windows blur the line between indoors and outdoors. Villa Chams embraces its surrounding’s identity, from the flora to the Roman temples, presenting itself as a melodically elemental story teller. Its horizontal structure respectfully blends with its surroundings.

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Architecture Public

Photo: Chris Goldstraw

WINNER The Arcadia School’s Secondary Campus Godwin Austen Johnson UAE Drawing inspiration from The Arcadia School’s Primary Campus, the reception is bright and airy, opening out into a large, casual seating zone with a 12 metre-high indoor climbing wall. The inclusion of the of the wall reinforces the school's ethos of transparency and its desire to ensure that students play a highly visible and interactive role in their education. The design concept focuses on creating open spaces and a flexible working environment to foster social interaction.

SHORTLISTED Dubai Hills Estate by RSP Innovation Hub by RMJM Spinneys HQ Meydan by LOCI Architecture + Design



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Architecture WINNER Al Musallah CEBRA Architecture UAE Al Musallah forms part of the comprehensive masterplan for the site surrounding the Qasr Al Hosn Fort in Abu Dhabi. The transformation of the Qasr Al Hosn site consists of a 140,000 m2 cultural park surrounding the fort and the Cultural Foundation. An important element of the cultural park, the prayer hall, Al Musallah, is located at the northeastern corner of the site as a series of small interconnected buildings that form a cave-like structure.


Cultural SHORTLISTED Bluewaters Mosque by 10 Design Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre by Hopkins The Dunes Platform – Al Marmoom by AE7 and Dubai Municipality

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Architecture Commercial WINNER Kuwait Investment Authority Headquarters KEO International Consultants Kuwait

The Kuwait Investment Authority Headquarters tower consists of four office courtyard atria with eight floors each, and one 6-storey executive office courtyard. The faรงade of the tower is based on the traditional mashrabiya, and serves as a screening mechanism for reducing and increasing the window aperture when necessary, whether to reduce or increase natural light into the building. This dynamic faรงade changes depending on the directional orientation and levels of the tower.

SHORTLISTED Dubai Hills Estate by RSP Innovation Hub by RMJM Spinneys HQ Meydan by LOCI Architecture + Design



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Interior Design Restaurant WINNER The Espresso Lab Studio M UAE The Espresso Lab is a speciality coffee house founded by Emirati award-winning barista and coffee connoisseur, Ibrahim Al Mallouhi. Situated in the heart of Dubai Design District, The Espresso Lab was created to appeal both to coffee enthusiasts and the young upcoming design community. The aim was to step away from the typical modern industrial trend of coffee shops and curate an experience that felt more like a coffee museum than a cafĂŠ.

SHORTLISTED Deco Temple (Elixir Bunn Coffee Roasters) by Azaz Architects Grapes and Dates by NIU by studioati La Petite by BONE Toplum Cafe & Restaurant by XO Atelier Torno Subito by Bishop Design 34

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Interior Design Residential SHORTLISTED Address Residences Jumeirah Resort & Spa by KCA International KOA Canvas by T.Zed Architects Lantana Villa by L.S. Design Palo Alto by Ç’est ici

WINNER Villa Jumeirah LW Design UAE

Villa Jumeirah is a secluded, tranquil villa featuring a contained and intimate family ambiance. Throughout the design, the courtyard is the key architectural organisational element, providing visual relief and spatial hierarchy. An ornamental tree provides shade while the trickling sound of the water feature permeates the space. On the ground floor the U-shaped site’s planning separates the guest wing and home office functions from the more family-orientated wing. IDENTITY DESIGN AWARDS


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Interior Design Hotel WINNER Nuzul Al Salam Ammar Basheir Bahrain Nuzul Al Salam is housed inside an old Bahraini home in Muharraq that has been restored. The hotel includes a majlis (reception area), dining room, a central courtyard and six suites inspired by the mythical epic of Gilgamesh’s Flower of Eternity. The interior is highly rooted in its context and aims to create an honest view of the influences that have shaped the Middle East and its design language.

SHORTLISTED Le Royal Meridien Club Tower by LW Design Address Marassi Golf Resort & Spa by Wilson Associates Vida Creek Harbour by Godwin Austen Johnson


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Interior Design Health & Wellness WINNER Studio Republik Lulie Fisher Design Studio UAE

Studio Republik is 5,500m2 immersive, state-of-the-art community that includes a wide range of facilities. The main design inspiration is rooted in the brief, which asked for a dynamic and visually stimulating backdrop for all studios and circulation spaces. The interiors for each space utilise sleek, modern and industrial materials - such as black or teal perforated metal, warm timber, marble, fluted glass and bold colourful glass - which are all complemented by either subtle or dynamic lighting.



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WINNER Styled Habitat office Styled Habitat UAE

Interior Design Office

SHORTLISTED Takeda by roar KEF Holdings by Kinnersley Kent Design 38

Gensler at Alserkal Avenue by Gensler Nasab by T.Zed Architects

Styled Habitat’s office in Dubai Design District defines an office space in its own right, seeking authenticity with fluid spaces that can adapt to various uses. The airy yet casual space feels welcoming, personal, calm and contemplative. Its hybrid design combines models of both open and closed workspaces. The studio was designed to showcase a clever use of materiality and a juxtaposition of styles, with special attention paid to the furniture selection and carefully curated objects, enhancing its homelike environment.

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WINNER Amzan Nakkash Design Studio UAE

Interior Design Public Space

Nakkash Design Studio has completed the AMZAN bookstore in Sharjah’s Al Qasba neighbourhood, creating a minimal, multifunctional space that allows the books to take centre stage. AMZAN references the analogy between the nourishing power of rain and the spread of knowledge from books. The concept and subtle manifestation of rain within the design language reveals itself through the carefully selected clear and reflective materials that add a sense of serenity to the overall environment.

SHORTLISTED HOB by H2R Design Purity by L.S. Design Tamazoj by DMJ Team IDENTITY DESIGN AWARDS


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Interior Design Nightlife WINNER Train Bar & Lounge L.S.Design UAE Following the overall project theme of ‘industrial chic’, Train Bar & Lounge features a bright yellow inverted staircase made from raw steel and glass, transporting guests to the mezzanine VIP Lounge. The lounge is juxtaposed against the exposed MEP in the ceiling and the raw materials that make up the mezzanine and railings. The industrial space is softened by an internal green wall and olive trees that take centre-stage in a circular banquetseating planter.

SHORTLISTED St.Trop by LW Design Wavehouse by Bishop Design


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Outdoor WINNER Al Hosn landscape and masterplan CEBRA Architecture UAE

The Al Hosn landscape and masterplan is inspired by the UAE’s desert heritage and urban modernity. This duality has been emphasised by dividing the site diagonally into two contrasting landscapes. A plain, soft and open desert landscape around the Fort reinstates the building as a free-standing landmark, reminiscent of pre-urbanisation, while a paved and programmed area with intensified planting surrounds the Cultural Foundation, combining the desert landscape with the modern city grid structure.

SHORTLISTED DIFC Gate Village lighting scheme by Nulty Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park by waiwai The Dunes Platform – Al Marmoom by AE7 and Dubai Municipality



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Project of the Future

WINNER The Gardens of Samarra Croquis Design Studio Iraq Located in one of the most historically important destinations in Iraq, the Gardens of Samarra complements the existing cultural sites with a new landmark firmly centred on human interaction on cultural, commercial and social levels. Crowned by its striking observation tower, the project features two public plazas that are linked by a bazaar, where the treasures of the past and modern craftsmanship coexist while people mix and mingle along the pathways.

SHORTLISTED Al Ain Archaeological Museum by Dabbagh Architects Development of Ras Al Khor Sanctuary - Main Observation by AE7


Dynamic Advanced Training Centre by Binchy and Binchy Architecture Modular villas by LOCI Architecture + Design

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People's Choice Award


The Tamazoj Pavilion is a temporary structure erected at Abu Dhabi Art for the duration of the event. The pavilion makes a statement about a new future of co-existence with nature in the UAE while redefining what ‘green spaces’ are in interior design. As a function of nature-inclusive architecture, the vegetation remains outdoors, doing its due diligence to the environment, while simultaneously being experienced by the users indoors as a vibrant space. Conceptually, human space is built around the existing garden, leaving the trees ‘untouched’ while creating a visual continuity through the interiors using transparent and translucent materials.



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Design of the Year Architecture

WINNER Al Musallah CEBRA Architecture UAE

The Qasr Al Hosn Fort in central Abu Dhabi is the city’s oldest and most important building. The aim of the transformation masterplan is to reinstate the Fort as the cultural heart of the city with a new 140,000 m2 cultural park-scape and the conservation of the site surrounding the historical building and the Cultural Foundation. An important element of the cultural park, Al Musallah forms a series of small interconnected buildings with a cave-like structure. The prayer hall stands in water to create a subtle privacy barrier without using walls, which provides calm and secluded spaces for prayer without visual disturbances.


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Design of the Year Interior Design WINNER Nuzul Al Salam Ammar Basheir Bahrain

The renovated Nuzul Al Salam in the pearling town of Muharraq in Bahrain is the first boutique hotel of its kind in the city, situated inside a restored traditional Bahraini house, and part of the Year of Zayed initiative between the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development and Bahrain’s Shaikh Ebrahim Center for Culture and Research. The design aimed to debunk Arabesque clichés and orientalist references, and explores an honest design language that is rooted in the Arab world. Inspired by the 1930s, the design integrates colonial influences that were present at the time as an attempt to stay true to context.

Photo: Guillaume de Laubier



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Editor's Choice WINNER KOA Canvas T.Zed Architects UAE

KOA Canvas aims to reinterpret how people live and interact with the public realm while enabling social interaction. The project comprises 40 different floor plans to allow for multiple scenarios of living. It is also heavily inspired by the nature of its context which informs its overall choice of colour palette and textures – including the natural stone and timber that has been used throughout the interior and exterior. T.Zed Architects’ vision to produce a new model of modern living for Dubai showcases the way in which architecture and design could play a role in shaping our everyday life, where boundaries are no longer defined by where one lives, works or socialises.


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identity Design Awards 2020 winners Architecture – Commercial Kuwait Investment Authority Headquarters KEO International Consultants

Interior Design – Hotel Nuzul Al Salam Ammar Basheir

Design of the Year – Interior Design Nuzul Al Salam Ammar Basheir

Architecture –Cultural Building Al Musallah CEBRA Architecture

Interior Design – Nightlife Train Bar Lounge L.S. Design

Outdoor Al Hosn landscape and masterplan CEBRA Architecture

Architecture – Public Building The Arcadia School’s Secondary Campus Godwin Austen Johnson

Interior Design – Office Styled Habitat Office Styled Habitat

Project of the Future The Gardens of Samarra Croquis Design Studio

Architecture – Residential Villa Chams Carl Gerges Architects

Interior Design – Public Space AMZAN Nakkash Design Studio

People’s Choice Award Tamazoj DMJ Team

Design of the Year – Architecture Al Musallah CEBRA Architecture

Interior Design – Residential Villa Jumeirah LW Design

Editor’s Choice Award KOA Canvas T.Zed Architects

Interior Design – Health & Wellness Studio Republik Lulie Fisher Design Studio

Interior Design – Restaurant The Espresso Lab Studio M





Reflections of time Conversation with Aidan Imanova


CEBRA Architecture has completed the masterplan for Qasr Al Hosn, a historically significant site for the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi. The various components of the masterplan include the Fort, the Cultural Foundation, a public park and a prayer hall. identity speaks to partner Mikkel Schlesinger and head of CEBRA Abu Dhabi, Arthi Balasubramanian about how the project blurs the line between architecture and public space while remaining sensitive to tradition and community needs.


hat does the building take from its context? How does its organic form relate to its surroundings and what inspired this? Mikkel Schlesinger (MS): The Musallah sits within the Qasr Al Hosn masterplan, which is designed to establish the Fort and the Cultural Foundation as the main visual anchors on the site. The project reconnects Abu Dhabi’s significant heritage site surrounding the Qasr Al Hosn Fort with the modern metropolis and its inhabitants by introducing a distinctive locally-rooted urban landscape. Combining architectural interpretations of Abu Dhabi’s coastal desert landscape with exclusively indigenous plants, the design links these natural landscapes with that of the city to emphasise the significance of the relations between Emirati heritage, nature and urban life. Arthi Balasubramanian (AB): The landscape around the Musallah is an architectural interpretation of the city’s sandbars, mangroves and the salt flats’ distinctive mud crack patterns. These shapes communicate the transition between the natural sand surrounding the Fort and the urban pavement around the Cultural Foundation. The desert landscape changes from horizontal planes to slanting surfaces and gradually grows into actual buildings, culminating with the Musallah. It comprises a series of small, interconnected buildings that form a cave-like structure, and are pushed halfway into the park’s large central water feature. 50

The Musallah’s height is deliberately kept below that of the Fort, but by partially placing the building in the water, the reflection visually doubles its size to highlight its position within the masterplan. How does the building propose a contemporary language while staying connected to the past? MS: The site is intrinsically, deeply rooted in history. The Qasr Al Hosn fort is the birthplace of Abu Dhabi and the city’s oldest building. The task of the transformational masterplan is to reinstate the Fort as the cultural heart of the city, and to create a setting and infrastructure that allows this heart to flourish while at the same time celebrating modernisation and urbanisation within a city in rapid growth. AB: There are also many other references throughout the Musallah that point to the traditions and culture of the city such as the sky lights with small circular openings punctuating the ceilings of the otherwise closed volumes. These circular holes let in daylight and are combined with suspended pendants. Together, they appear as abstract star formations that evoke associations to faith, as well as to the Bedouins’ traditional stargazing customs for navigation. What are the main materials that you have chosen for the building? AB: All surfaces in the project are made from sand in different forms: natural sand around the Fort; concrete and natural lime stone in park and new buildings.





Monica Durou



The colour of the local Al-Bateen sand was chosen for all the landscape and building elements on the site. The Musallah volumes are cast as pigmented, in-situ concrete with a board-marked finish. This is applied to all the vertical surfaces of the new elements on the site to provide a subtle visual distinction and definition. How does the interior relate to the architecture? MS: The interior of the Musallah is an extension of the architecture in many ways. Walking from the open landscape of the park along the narrow passages between the ‘rocks’, the noise and bustling life of the city slowly fades away and visitors enter the cave-like entrance halls, where one can rest and talk before prayer. This experience and atmosphere refers to the Cave of Hira, where Prophet Muhammed received his first revelation. The experience of passing the glass bridges over the water between the building volumes symbolically purifies the mind when moving through the light-filled passages from one area to the next. The prayer halls are orientated in the direction of the Qibla, while a concrete relief with inscriptions appears on one of the rock volumes, visible through the windows and concealed from the outside world. How can the project be used as a public space in addition to being a place of worship? AB: The Musallah sits within a cultural park that is in the heart of a busy and vibrant city block. The park

itself is public, but the setting of the Musallah, in the relatively quieter north-east corner of the site, by the water, creates a natural division and subtle privacy barrier between the prayer halls and the public cultural park to ensure calm and secluded spaces for the worshippers without the need of fences or other visually intruding barriers. Furthermore, water is used as a symbol of spiritual purification, flowing around and in between the interior functions. The water reflects light onto the façades of the geometric volumes and creates an oscillating appearance that indicates a place of worship and illustrates water’s role as a cleansing element in the ritual of prayer. Why was it important for the project to serve a wider community? MS: The Qasr Al Hosn site was designed to be a public park for the people of the community, and for Abu Dhabi as a whole, to reclaim their history. As it contains both the Fort – which is a symbol of the UAE’s maritime and desert heritage - and the Cultural Foundation – which represents modernity – the two buildings on either side of the site create a contrast between the Abu Dhabi of today with that of its past. So, the masterplan creates a public destination that on the one hand enables the current and future generations to identify with their origins, and on the other hand gives residents and visitors a unique opportunity to learn about and engage with Emirati history, culture and heritage. id




INDUSTRIAL FUSION L.S.Design’s minimalist Train Beach Club in Dubai merges four separate spaces that come together under a common industrial design language Words by Aidan Imanova



View From Bar Lounge Towards Restaurant

Photography by Luca Cioci





he Train Beach Club located in Dubai’s La Mer beachfront development is a great example of hybrid design, merging four distinctive spaces through a contained and unified design language, while allowing each space to uphold its own individuality. In response to the client brief which called for a chic industrial space inspired by the cohesion of influences from cities like Miami and New York, Dubai-based design and architecture studio L.S. Design responded by developing a concept which, fundamentally, is an exercise in experimentation, using materiality and detailing to create linked spaces while simultaneously crafting a unique identity for each. “Each space has its key function, using the same palette of materials. By simply repurposing these materials in each space while staying true to the industrial theme of the project, we are able to give each space a distinct yet unique feel within a uniform theme,” says Omar Abdelghafour, founder of L.S. Design. “The space keeps the same core material throughout, with simple details to distinguish areas from one another and splashes of colour and texture to enhance the visual experience. Subtle detailing is the key feature,” he adds. Divided into four separate spaces including a professional gym, a nightclub/ lounge area, a restaurant and a café-bar, the beach club also offers an outdoor pool that opens up to the beach, with easy access to the interior spaces. Indoor and outdoor areas are seamlessly integrated, with the architectural structure playing a vital role in informing the interior detailing.

Bar Detail Shot


Photography by Luca Cioci


View Towards Reception Entrance

The nightclub and lounge area features a self-sustained mezzanine across a double-height space. Hidden around the corner from the entrance is a striking yellow inverted staircase made from raw steel and glass that transports guests to the mezzanine VIP lounge. The lounge is home to a number of core elements that exemplify the industrial theme of the project, such as exposed mechanical equipment in the ceiling and raw materials that are used across the mezzanine and the railings. The leather and fabric seating and lounge chairs offset the otherwise Photography by Luca Cioci severe materiality of the space, which is further softened by an internal green wall and olive trees. The overall space is then washed with delicate yet robust lighting features that are both architectural and decorative. In the cafÊ-bar, the team at L.S. Design turned their focus to custom seating using wall-mounted seats and tables that are washed with hidden indirect LED lighting. The walls are clad in the slats that are a recurring theme of the project – this time they are in wood instead of steel. The MEP, once again, plays an important role in the overall ambiance of the space while the bar counter is upgraded to marble to further accentuate the interiors. The concrete floors of the bar are highlighted with focused ceiling-mounted light cylinders. This space is both open and intimate and comes alive at night when the lighting details are showcased more distinctly. The gym features exposed brickwork and exposed MEP with custom steel mesh ceiling details. The space creates a feeling of being inside an industrial gallery where the custom lighting is specifically tuned to give just the right amount of ambient white light in order to create a sense of intimacy. IDENTITY DESIGN AWARDS



The changing rooms feature concrete floors and floating lockers made from wood veneer with concealed edge lighting, giving the space its ephemeral precision. The male and female changing rooms are differentiated with sink detailing; the former have custom-fabricated steel sinks while the female changing rooms offer sculpted marble sinks. Both appear to be floating as they sit on a shelf of light that illuminates the back wall and floor. A move towards mixed-use interior spaces is a response to changing human behaviours where convenience is a top priority. “It is similar to the death of the high street to malls scenario,” Abdelghafour explains. “It is a logical progression to have everything in one destination.” Train Beach Club is a fitting addition to L.S. Design’s portfolio of projects that embodies a minimalist approach to spatial design and materiality. “For us it’s always about ‘less is more’,” Abdelghafour confirms. “It is also about pushing the relationship of materials and detailing. This project is all about not adding anything more than what is absolutely necessary, then merging these elements and detail in the most simple, yet elegant manner.” id

View Towards Restaurant


Photography by Oculis Project


Boulevard Plaza Tower 1, Suite 1702 Mohamed Bin Rashid Boulevard Downtown Dubai, PO Box. 416654, UAE


design focus





merican painter Mark Rothko took immense satisfaction in the distinction between night and day. His innate love of contrasts is clear in his art, but also in his vision of the Rothko Chapel, located in Houston, Texas. In today’s pandemicdriven era, we can relate to Rothko’s positivity, and his tireless insistence that where there is darkness, there will always be light. Rothko’s work has moved between dark and light and connects deeply with our observations and understanding of spirituality and the journeys that we experience. Or perhaps his art of seeing is so profound that to thoroughly understand his vision, we require a sensory form of intelligence. Human-centric lighting and environmental lighting are two of today's most significant movements. Lighting designers are embracing environmental change and listening to the needs of nature – and the nurture needed to move into a brighter future.



Rothko Chapel interior and new skylight

Evolved resolve

Photo: Paul Hester

The lighting at the Rothko Chapel was never quite right; Rothko felt that it was poles apart from the light coming through the dirty windowpanes of his beloved New York studio. The Houston light was much stronger and brighter. Architecture Research Office (ARO)’s restoration changed the entire lighting experience, beginning outside with darkened pave stones at the entrance of the plaza, which reduced any glare and prepared the eye for the innermost sanctum of the space. The chapel's lighting design by George Sexton Associates includes the installation of a new skylight that bathes 14 of the painter’s black but slightly colourhued canvases in an ephermeral glow, using special glass and clever louvres that soften the intensity of the Texan sunlight. George Sexton Associates set digital lighting projectors into a nook around the skylight that bounce-focuses light onto the paintings with the use of intelligently placed mirrors. The placement alteration of the triptych avoids unnecessary shadows across the paintings, mimicking the lighting in Rothko's studio. Carefully considered human centric lighting

(HCL) affords beneficial physiological and psychological effects. HCL possesses biological and dynamic properties that can support human health, performance and overall wellbeing through intelligent, holistic planning and implementation. According to Global Market Insights, the Human Centric Lighting Market size surpassed USD 1.25 billion in 2018 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of over 25% until 2025. The increasing popularity of new lighting technologies and activities related to the replacement of harmful conventional lights is supporting market growth. Research has also shown that controllable lighting further creates growth opportunities in the human-centric lighting market. Designers today are producing new ideas, from industrial and sculptural movements to the most delicate ethereal and celestial designs, that also call for a sensory form of intelligence, quality of perception and an alternative way of thinking. They are paving the way and are positively glowing with new developments including combinations of resin and neon, the reinvention of heavy concrete, shellfish waste, laser-cut plastic and leather. IDENTITY DESIGN AWARDS


design focus

A family affair

Family affair Jes Paone, renowned New York designer and architect, has joined forces with his ceramicist aunt, Anne Paone. Together, they have created the fragile Desert lighting collection that resembles the destruction of nature through its many cracks and crevices and is evocative of fissured river beds or the fine ashes of burnt trees. The collection is the first under the designer's new eponymous architecture studio. When lit, the shades have an otherworldly glow and reveal the perfect imperfections of nature. The collection of pendant, table and sconce lighting features contrasting brass fittings. For the Desert series, Jes and Anne experimented with the slip-casting process. Experimenting with different forms and challenging traditional processes, the duo hoped to achieve transparency and texture with their designs. Through a process of trial and error, Jes and Anne continued to hone their technique over a matter of years. Anne admittedly had no skills on the wheel and threw organic shapes by hand under the close direction of her nephew. The result is therefore imperfect, unforced and unique. Whether it be cocoon-shaped sconces or spherical pendants, the lighting pieces are distinctive in their design – no two pieces will ever be the same. As a result of consistent technical failures, Anne has developed an expert wheel technique with a feather-like touch which is essential for the creation of the delicate, one-off lamps. Jes happily admits that he pushed Anne's boundaries endlessly. He wanted more transparency, more glow and more wobbles. She continued to experiment and eventually found the perfect technique for the collection. "The aspects of the object that emerge during the process of making something are really interesting to me,” Jes explains. “I would direct Anne to build 62

Photo: Alan Tansey

shapes and I would focus on the aesthetics; but the end results, the wobbles, the cracks, the fails, they take on a life of their own. Gravity, centripetal forces and fire yield a finish that looks as though it was made by Mother Nature herself. “The romance of clay being extracted from the ground, caressed and manipulated by hands of the maker, coupled with the inter-generational sharing of craft and aesthetics with my aunt, who comes from a different era of design, has made this project really rich and personal.”


Bubble wrap obsession

The London Design Festival this year saw the introduction of an obsession with bubble wrap, which inspired the design of the Bolla lights by London-based studio Hagen Hinderdael. The discarded bubble wrap forms the bumpy textured surface of the lamps. Studio founders Sofia Hagen and Lisa Hinderdael seamlessly pair product design and art, exploring the relationships between lighting and global issues. Each product tells of a journey and is sourced sustainably and manufactured locally. Both designers have a background in architecture and interiors. Hagen and Hinderdael work closely with local artisans to combine skilled methodologies with sustainable materials and cutting-edge technology; producing elements and experiences that bear the incentive of a continuous afterlife. The Bolla lamp highlights the need for a more circular economy and replaces the traditional 'take-make-waste' cycle of creation and consumption, tackling the need to cut the use of plastic packaging, most of which is poisonous and non-degradable. Bolla exemplifies the essence of the 'waste not, want not' philosophy. Cast from bubble wrap-imprinted formwork, the light concrete aggregate features the imprints of salvaged bubble wrap, with tiny holes punctuating the exterior of the light. These holes are cut using CNC technology routers. Hagen Hinderdael joined forces with Cemento material scientists and custom-made the aggregate – an innovative mixture of concrete and recycled plastic. Various coloured pigments are incorporated into the mixture to ensure that the lamp complements a number of different interior settings. The Bolla lamps are organic in shape and softly spiral upwards to a height of 70 cm. The lamps are designed as floor lights but can be adapted into a pendant light or wall sconce. The perforations that dot the lamp allow the internal light to shine through, creating an effervescent and eye-catching glow. Hagen Hinderdael studio developed a unique script to work out the exact placement for the holes. In the event of any breakage, the lamps can be returned to the lighting suppliers, who will then reuse the materials to make another light. This service allows Bolla to avoid valuable materials ending up in a landfill and furthers the narrative of a continuous afterlife and full circle design. IDENTITY DESIGN AWARDS


design focus

Bacterial projections Lionne van Deursen focuses on material research and product design. Her studio conducts experiential research and offers an understanding of the possibilities of new materials. She is currently studying a material made of bacterial cellulose. All of her products are handmade, and the materials are organically grown in her studio. Her designs not only consider the material but also the sustainability of the production process. She uses each material as efficiently as possible, creating little waste while using organic and natural pigments to dye the leather-like sheets of bacterial cellulose. Bacterial cellulose is a biodegradable material made using yeast and bacteria, and each sheet holds a different colour and translucency, due to the unpredictability of the manufacturing and design processes. The studio's first application of the material is a range of lamps called Imperfect Perfection. Each lamp diffuses the light source, and the variations of each sheet are enhanced using natural pigments and varying textures from the handmade process.

Well established

Photo: PimTop Studio


British brand Established & Sons has commissioned Rotterdam-based designer Sabine Marcelis to create two lights formed using pastel-hued resin cylindrical bars. The bio-epoxy resin is made using by-products from the agricultural industry. Each light is a cylindrical tube over a metre in length. The translucent yellow and coral Aura lights take their name from the warm glow they emit when illuminated. Sabine Marcelis is forever in search of magical moments within materiality and manufacturing processes, resulting in the creation of unexpected experiences. The designer has a specific studio for materials, installations and objects. Her mission is to

consciously make lighting available to a broader audience in a sustainable manner. Established & Sons, which recently launched a new online store that is home to various designer collaborations, has been studying the increasingly blurred lines between living and working environments. The Aura lights are part of a new collection developed as a reaction to new ways of living. Lines are becoming blurred as lighting design transitions effortlessly between living and working ideals. The lights are suspended from the ceiling and can be clustered in a group composition or positioned alone. The light emitted is ambient and comfortable on the eyes, making it suitable both for home-working and peaceful living spaces. id


The shape of

Dilmunia Mosque by Pace, Kuwait EVOLVE by Rabih Geha Architects, Lebanon


The Productive Centre by MB Consultancy, United Arab Emirates

VOW by Sibyl, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

things to come For Downtown Design’s ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ exhibition, regional designers and architects imagine how we may experience the built environment in the future, exploring themes such as public space, the environment and community. 66


The Productive Centre by MB Consultancy, United Arab Emirates The global lockdown was a mass experiment that prompted the rise of remote working and in turn communicated its effectiveness in many ways. This allowed the realisation that many of the neighbourhoods in which we reside in the UAE lack a diversity of function, resulting in isolated scenarios where spaces are dissected into stand-alone functions. There are neighbourhoods for living and working and those for entertainment. Often, these areas are not within walking distance from each other. The Productive Centre by MB Consultancy considers the interconnectedness between residents and their neighbourhood to create hybrid communities that can be interrelated with the new wave of remote working. As a result of the studio’s analysis of Dubai’s neighbourhoods, the team developed a prototype for communities that responds to current needs and future challenges. The Productive Centre is an evolution of a neighbourhood hub, comprising facilities that grant residents an opportunity to work remotely, socialise, workout and actively interact within their communities, with the aim of created truly integrated environments. EVOLVE by Rabih Geha Architects, Lebanon Post COVID-19, we are still able to visit a nightclub we just need to find a different way to do it. Clubbing is a multisensory experience that involves tactile, visual and auditory stimulation. Proximity, the defining feature of crowds, is usually at the heart of the clubbing experience. With the outbreak of COVID-19, we found ourselves deprived of our sense of touch. There is now a pressing need to redefine the concept of a ‘crowd’. Our natural behaviour remains the same, but has simultaneously changed a lot. We still gather, but in smaller groups; we still greet, but minimise physical contact. EVOLVE explores the reshaping of our nightlife by creating a new experience that can preserve our need to go out in the midst of a new set of living conditions. Through a layered, concentric layout that is focused on three main factors - space, people and entertainment - crowds can party together, all the while keeping their distance. This is where limitation in physical freedom is balanced by the expanded sensory experience, leaving room for a new definition of normalcy.

Dilmunia Mosque by Pace, Kuwait Connecting concepts of well-being with a place of worship, Pace’s proposal embodies local culture, the region’s architectural vernacular and the Muslim faith. The studio’s design encourages worshippers to immerse themselves in an enriching journey, guided by light, that begins on an elevated streetscape and descends into a sunken portico. The descent from street level is designed to enhance the worshipper’s process of disconnection – both metaphorically and physically – from the outside world. Each element of the mosque is designed to enhance this spiritual process. The curved portico acts as a reference to the cycle of life and provides guidance to the prayer hall, while a central courtyard engulfed with water acts as a sanctuary for reflection. The illuminated entrance of the prayer hall further encourages the worshipper to a prayer experience that is basked in vertical light to represent one’s connection with God. VOW by Sibyl, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Designed to be a physical and psychological reaction to urban ecosystems in Jeddah, the concept for this modular, multi-layered pedestrian system was born out of Sibyl’s research into how infrastructural interventions could support an organic evolution of the Middle East’s urban fabric. Exploring how the pedestrian walkways of Jeddah, ‘Al-Mamsha’, could evolve as a response to the restrictions placed upon movement and interaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the studio has developed ‘The Mamsha of Al-Tahliya Street’, perpendicular to the city’s growth along the corniche. The project looks to expand the city’s urban network from the west to east, allowing dwellers to adapt, move and connect organically. The proposed solution of a split-level network acts as the neighbourhood's 'spinal cord', where traffic is segmented in two colour-coded levels, offering controlled solutions for pedestrian traffic, running tracks and cycling paths that are able to coexist within the rules of social distancing. On the ground level, the network allows the community to reconnect with communal spaces, sunken shops and skate parks. In the midst of these two zones, an open-air, treelined zone for resting and solitude is designed as a stepped platform. IDENTITY DESIGN AWARDS



Products From accessories and furniture pieces that range from rustic to contemporary, including the latest Rimowa and Moncler collaboration, this month's selections capture the start of a new season.

Le Baux Collection Chapter 101

Dubai-based Chapter 101’s capsule vase collection, Le Baux, is inspired by the natural sceneries of Les Baux-de-Provence in France, taking cues from its architectural forms, rustic textures and natural materials to create handcrafted pieces that are authentic and rooted in its context. The collection aims to bring not only a decorative element to a space, but also a cultural experience.



Double ceramic plate Louise Madzia

London-based designer and ceramist Louise Madzia creates quirky and playful hand-painted ceramics, from vases to plates. This white ceramic plate has been crafted by hand in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and features a screen-printed decal design of an abstract body and two faces. Much like her other ceramic works, the plate balances a good dose of whimsy but with a powerful effect. Available on

Glass kettle teapot

Norm Architects for Menu This glass teapot, designed by Danish studio Norm Architects for Menu, features a tea diffuser that hangs by a silicone string, serving as a stylish teabag suspended in the middle of the pot. Inspired by classic teapots found in the East, the kettle forms a harmonious fusion with modern, Scandinavian design. It comes in two sizes and is not designed for stove use. Available at

Gradient glasses Luisa Beccaria

Luisa Beccaria’s set of two tumbler glasses crafted in vibrant shades of pink and purple bring a colourful note to any table settings. The glasses include vertical grooves with an iridescent finish. Made in Italy with a ridged exterior that highlights the subtle iridescent finish, place the glasses on a printed tablecloth for a romantic setting. Available at


50 T H A N N I V E R S A R Y C L A S S I C A L L I B R A R Y







Bois Sauvage large bath salt L’Objet

L’Objet’s black Bois Sauvage bath salts are encased in a large glass bottle for an elegant look in any bathroom. Featuring a mix of salt crystals and dried flowers, the bath salts release elegant notes of bergamot, spice, vanilla and jasmine upon contact with water. Swirl them in a running bath to unwind after a long day at work. Available at

Pencil case Mismo

Mismo combines Danish Design with premium Italian materials, creating stylish & functional pieces that are built to last. This khaki-brown pencil is crafted in durable Italian canvas that is also water resistant – making it ideal for safely storing creative supplies. Trimmed with leather, the pencil case is fitted with a brass zip at the topline and has slip pockets on the black shell lining. Available at


Amelie Hourglass Vase Aerin

Evocative of coastal living, the Amelie Hourglass Vase has been given a vintage feel by using a traditional method of applying a patina over white glaze. Crafted in Italy, the ceramic vase is edged in 18 karat gold, elevating its otherwise pastoral aesthetic. Place a bouquet of flowers to freshen up any living space, or arrange the vase in a group of similar decorative accessories. Available at


Books This month’s book selection explores the ability of art and architecture to immortalise the human experience, tackling topics such as race, memory, grief, loss and hope.

Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America Okwui Enwezor Published by Phaidon

Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America is a timely and urgent exploration of the ways artists have grappled with race and grief in modern America, conceived by the late legendary Nigerian curator, art critic and writer, Okwui Enwezor, who helped bring global attention to African art. Featuring works by more than 30 artists and writings by leading scholars and art historians, this book — and its accompanying exhibition (also conceived by Enwezor) — gives voice to artists addressing concepts of mourning, commemoration and loss while considering their engagement with social movements, from Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter. Grief and Grievance includes the works of artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems, Nari Ward and Terry Adkins. It also includes essays by the likes of Elizabeth Alexander, Naomi Beckwith, Judith Butler, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Massimiliano Gioni and Saidiya Hartman.

In Memory of: Designing Contemporary Memorials Spencer Bailey Published by Phaidon

In Memory of: Designing Contemporary Memorials explores the art, architecture and design of memorials around the world from the late twentieth century to today. The 240-page book is illustrated with 200 photographs and features over 60 memorials designed by leading architects including David Adjaye, Tadao Ando, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Peter Eisenman, Daniel Libeskind, Snøhetta and Peter Zumthor. In Memory of opens with a moving foreword by Adjaye, and includes his 2013 Gwangju Pavilion and 2016 Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture memorials. “This book comes at a time of rethinking spatial storytelling,” he writes. “It is encouraging us to look

more critically at the memorials we’ve made in the past, and question the relevance of memorials in the twenty-first century. “…The narrative of memorials is a device to project the many things facing people across the planet: nationhood, citizen rights, human rights, climate action. Memorial form is an important act of un-forgetting. I believe this book makes a valuable contribution to the debate about the form of memorialisation and the shape that it can take in the future.” In Memory of includes a collection of exceptional structures that commemorate some of the most destructive events across the world, including war, genocide, terrorism, famine and slavery – with the urge to immortalise these events within our collective consciousness. The thoughtful essays on the subjects of hope, strength, grief, loss and fear help to contextualise the projects and address the emotional aspects of memorialisation. IDENTITY DESIGN AWARDS


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