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Fri 12 Nov 2010 12:00 AM

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Design fiesta

Index is organising a showcase of eye-catching design.

Design fiesta
The winning entry for last \nyear’s Contemporary Majlis Competition, by Zain Mustafa.

Index will mark its 20th anniversary this year with a showcase
of 20 eye-catching products on the show floor. The organisers of the four-day event
have come up with a dramatic line-up of objects, such as Sicis’ Audrey bath, a stiletto-shaped
tub encased in mosaics, the Bloom chair by Philippino designer Kenneth Cabonpue,
which is inspired by the graceful blossom of a flower, and The Bird’s Nest coffee
table by Fernando Villarin, which is made of arorog, an indigenous material moulded
into the shape of a bird’s nest and topped with eight real ostrich eggs.

The line-up will also include the Mow chair by Lebanese designer
Fadi Sarieddine, the Ciclotte exercise bike by Italian designer Luca Schieppati,
Smooth and Smoothie by French designer Florent Degourc, the X2Chair by Giorgio Caporaso
and the Eria Sunshades.

The 20th Anniversary Innovative Showcase, as it has been dubbed,
is a key feature of this year’s show, and an interesting signifier of Index’s newfound
direction. It is little secret that Index has, in the past, suffered from a crisis
in both identity and perception.

It has been criticised for being too much like a furniture bazaar, and has often
been accused of being too heavy on the low-end Chinese product. The anniversary showcase is significant because it is indicative
of show organiser, DMG World Media’s greater focus on content and quality. Instead
of acting solely as a forum for trade, Index is being shaped into a holistic design
event where the exhibition element is complemented by competitions, seminars and
design features. These features are no longer treated as an afterthought and tacked
on at the last minute. Instead, they are becoming a fundamental part of Index’s
overall value proposition.

So, in addition to the anniversary showcase, Index will organise
is Contemporary Majlis Competition for the second year running. Four UAE-based interior
designers will create their own contemporary interpretation of the majlis, and build
it live on the show floor. This year’s participants are Isabel Pintado, Sonal Jakkal,
Rashida Rajkotwalla and Laurika Muller.

That Index has set its sights on the majlis is no coincidence.
The show is embracing its Middle Eastern roots, and waking up to the uniqueness
of its chosen locale. This is further evident in the commitment to local talent
displayed in the Al Habtoor & ISG Student Challenge, an annual, interactive
student competition that takes place on the show floor, and its support of this
year’s Fekra Design Challenge.

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