; The Shape of Things To Come exhibition opens design avenues in Dubai

Aptly named ‘The Shape of Things to Come’, the Gallery COLLECTIONAL exhibition becomes Dubai’s first permanent collectable design gallery

JAN 17, 2022 | By Twinkle Tolani
Copal side table by EWE Studio and Club Chaise Lounge from DimoreStudio paired up like a dream at the Gallery COLLECTIONAL launch; Photographs by Paolo Regis
The likes of Francesco Balzano X Giobagnara, Sabine Marcelis, Faina and Pietro Franceschini were seen in one setting at the launch; Photographs by Paolo Regis
Nastro Chair from Bonacine 1889 makes an iconic appearance at Dubai’s first permanent collectable design gallery launch; Photographs by Paolo Regis
A striking cabinet design by Pierre de Valck that is made from oxidised and waxed aluminium also made the cut for exhibition; Photographs by Paolo Regis
‘Mirage’ by Sabine Marcelis captures the shades of the desert and sunsets in the UAE; Photographs by Rami Mansour
‘Mirage’ by Sabine Marcelis captures the shades of the desert and sunsets in the UAE; Photographs by Rami Mansour

Following the pomp of the seventh edition of the Dubai Design Week, H&H launched Dubai’s first permanent collectable design gallery and a global online design platform—Gallery COLLECTIONAL. Making the event even more starry was an exclusive commission by Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis.

Christened ‘The Shape of Things To Come’, the exhibition subtly hints at opening up new avenues of design for Dubai. The gallery aims at rendering the wall between art and design defunct by curating thoughtful processions of products that seamlessly fuse form and function.

“The name of the exhibition is inspired by the objects, all of which have strong and dynamic shapes that push the boundaries of form. The name also represents the beginning of a long journey for the gallery and refers to the possibilities that design presents to shape the future of the dynamic city of Dubai and the anticipation for what is to come,” says the curator, Catalina Ruiz Urquiola.

Central to the exhibition is designer Sabine Marcelis’ new collection ‘Mirage’; Photographs by Rami Mansour
The series is inspired by Dubai and commissioned exclusively for the gallery; Photographs by Rami Mansour
The collection marks the continuation of Marcelis’ exploration into color and light; Photographs by Rami Mansour

A selection of iconic design objects by renowned designer brands, peppered with regional and global collectable design items, was featured at the exhibition. The Gallery Collectional creative director, Urquiola sees the space as an opportunity for a closer look at the work of individual designers.

The warm palette of UAE’s deserts and scorching heat wrapped in Dubai’s most predominant material choice of glass and metal presents itself as various mirrors in Marcelis’ Mirage. The mirrors were unveiled exclusively at the launch and installed at the start of the exhibition. Whilst it’s a continuation of the designer’s exploration into colour and light, it’s the first time Marcelis worked with light within mirror design.

The mirror stands as Marcelis’ first experimentation with light within mirror design; Photographs by Rami Mansour
Warm colors of the sun in the desert and the duality of the city during the day and night inspired the artist to make these pieces; Photographs by Rami Mansour
Marcelis’ Mirage employs Dubai’s most predominant material choice of glass and metal; Photographs by Rami Mansour

Next at The shape of things, a circular cabinet designed by Pierre de Valck captured eyes for the precious stone set in the centre of its oxidised and waxed aluminium body. Pietro Franceschini’s Splice Me Up coffee table and Gold Arch bench made an unforgettable appearance in the lot.

The Eko sectional sofa by Christophe Delcourt perfectly complemented Franceschini’s Splice Me Up coffee table in the gallery. The unmissable Serpentine sofa from Dante Goods and Bads and the Toptun armchair and Ztista chair by Ukrainian designer Faina tempted visitors to try a quick sit.

A cross between gallery and design store, the COLLECTIONAL Gallery focuses on collectible and limited-edition pieces; Photographs by Rami Mansour
Marcelis has exhibited at design fairs such as Design Miam, and is known for her products, and her work in installation and spatial design; Photographs by Rami Mansour

The wall-mounted Single Slinkie rug designed by Patricia Urquiola is hand-knotted in the cc-tapis atelier in Kathmandu, Nepal. Made with a cotton weave, Himalayan wool, and pure silk, the succession of chromatic shades comes undone in organic shapes. The legendary Nastro chair from Bonacina 1889 matches the mood and hue of the carpet.

Crystal infused lighting by Christopher Boots and accent pieces by Alexander Lamont join the narratives in context together. The Ossicle series, produced as a collaboration between French designer Francesco Balzano and Italian manufacturer Giobagnara also play roles in the overall scenography.

Burberry and Celine are part of Marcelis’ clientele; Photographs by Rami Mansour
The pieces included in The Shape of Things to Come range from home accessories to furniture; Photographs by Rami Mansour

The Club Chaise Lounge by DimoreStudio alongside Copal side tables from EWE Studio make for an eccentric pair. The Gold Magma Lamp by the latter in collaboration with Alejandro Ramirez Orozco and Nouvel glass are other examples of appreciation-worthy design collaborations. In addition, Sam Henly’s curved marble piece for Agglomerati was an intriguing product.

“The exhibition champions modern craftsmanship – bringing together time-honoured skills, new technologies and innovative materials. Whilst our first exhibition brings together global designers, plans are already underway to work with regional talent on championing collectable design coming from the region,” concludes Urquiola.