Dubai is set to once again play host to a captivating display of innovation in design, as Downtown Design makes its highly-anticipated return for its milestone 10th edition. From November 8 to November 11, 2023, the Dubai Design District (d3) will transform into a hub of creative brilliance, featuring awe-inspiring installations from renowned design studios and creative collectives.
One of the standout attractions of this edition is the ‘Light Gazing’ exhibit, a collaborative masterpiece brought to life by the creative minds of Ultra Arte and Light and Lives. This mesmerizing installation delves into a myriad of themes, prominently embracing sustainability, aligning seamlessly with Downtown Design’s overarching theme of ‘Future Living Spaces.’ “We’re hitting so many targets here – sustainability, architecture, art, technology, nature; it’s an all-encompassing experience,” asserts Afsal Mohamed, the founder of Light and Lives.
Anna de Florian, the founder of Ultra Arte, joined forces with Afsal to spearhead the design of ‘Light Gazing,’ leading a team of 40 dedicated individuals. Anna emphasizes, “Projects like this are always a collective effort.”
The primary structures of ‘Light Gazing’ are meticulously crafted from sustainable translucent acrylic sourced from Italy. This special material is dyed in a spectrum of colors and expertly molded into elegant forms. The intricate fabrication process is overseen by 25 skilled craftsmen, involving precise cutting and shaping of the material to achieve the desired angles and curves, welding the components onto lightweight metal frames, and installing discreet lighting fixtures.
The driving force behind the lead designers is an unwavering passion for design excellence. Anna elucidates, “It stems from an innate desire to craft something beautiful and meaningful.”
While ‘Light Gazing’ will have its own integrated lighting, the natural sunlight filtering through the colorful acrylic components will create dynamic patterns, constantly changing with the passage of time, as the sun’s intensity and angle conjure an ever-shifting array of gradients and captivating shadows. At sunset, the internal illumination will cast a spellbinding ambiance, promising a transformative experience. Afsal further elucidates, “Upon entering, you’ll witness one design, but as you exit, it’ll be an entirely new visual journey.”
The designers are eager to welcome a diverse range of interpretations and perspectives on their creation. Anna welcomes feedback from artists, architects, and even children who can interact with and explore the modular structures, which bear a striking resemblance to Lego building blocks, allowing kids to assemble the pieces into different configurations, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to the experience.
The modularity of ‘Light Gazing’ serves a dual purpose. Individual components of the installation will be available for auction, offering an opportunity for interested buyers to acquire a piece of this captivating artwork. The proceeds from these auctions will be channeled into charitable initiatives supporting sustainability causes, with the goal of offsetting the carbon footprint generated in organizing the exhibit from its inception.