Dubai: Play with sunlight in magical art installation as top design event returns in November

The piece will be unveiled at Downtown Design this November, along with other renowned designs

By Dhyay Ghaghda

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Published: Tue 24 Oct 2023, 2:14 PM

Last updated: Wed 15 Nov 2023, 4:45 PM

Downtown Design, the leading showcase of innovation in design, is set to return for its 10th edition, scheduled from November 8 to November 11 in Dubai Design District (d3).

The event hosts internationally renowned design brands and manufacturers alongside individual designers, collectives and studios from around the globe, with a spotlight on the region.

A major highlight is the 'Light Gazing' exhibit, a collaboration between Ultra Arte and Light and Lives. The installation spans various themes, emphasising sustainability. “We’re ticking so many boxes here — sustainability, architecture, art, technology, nature, it’s everything,” says Afsal Mohamed, founder of Light and Lives.

Afsal Mohamed
Afsal Mohamed

Ultra Arte's founder, Anna de Florian, and Afsal together lead the design of the 'Light Gazing' installation, working with a team of 40 members. “Projects like this are always a team effort,” says Anna.

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Anna de Florian
Anna de Florian

The main structures of 'Light Gazing' are made from sustainable translucent acrylic, which is dyed in various colours and expertly shaped into elegant forms. This special material is sourced from Italy and undergoes a meticulous fabrication process led by 25 dedicated craftsmen. The process includes cutting and moulding the material to create the desired angles and curves, welding the pieces onto light metal frames, and installing subtle lighting fixtures.

The passion for design excellence is intrinsic to the lead designers. Anna explains, "It comes from an internal need to create something beautiful and valuable."

While the installation will have its own lighting, the natural sunlight passing through the colourful acrylic will create vibrant patterns, changing with the time of day as the sun's brightness and angle generate various gradients and distinct shadows. At sunset, the built-in illumination will add an enchanting ambience. Afsal adds, "When you walk in, you'll see one design, but when you walk out, it'll be something entirely different.”

Anna looks forward to embracing a wide range of perspectives on the design, saying, "We love to hear everyone's interpretations of the design and patterns, from artists and architects to kids."

For children, who are encouraged to interact with and explore the structures, the resemblance to Lego building blocks adds an extra layer of enjoyment, as they can fit the pieces together to create various configurations.

The modularity of Light Gazing serves an additional purpose. The components of the display will be auctioned off individually, making it feasible for interested buyers. The proceeds from these auctions will be donated to charitable sustainability causes, with the aim of offsetting the carbon footprint generated from organising the exhibit since its inception.


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