Why your design collection is as personal as your fingerprint
The first in a series of columns by Design Days Dubai fair director Cyril Zammit.
Ahead of the 4th Design Days Dubai – the region’s eminent design fair – EDGAR has taken on the creative mind of its fair director, Cryil Zammit, to provide an insight into the world of design.
Here, in the first of three columns, Zammit details the birth of Design Days Dubai, and the personal route each collection takes.
As my friend and design curator, Maria Cristina Didero once said, “Everything is collectable as the target of this peculiar action is unlimited and unframed, in some cases even never-ending.” Looking back through the years, this quote somewhat applies to the start of my collection. Let me rewind a little and explain my passion for design.
Art and design are always accompanied in various facets of culture, and more often than not designers are regarded as artists. While this is true because of the effort, time and money invested in creating pieces, there is a very clear distinction. Design is an object you can feel, utilise and blends into your day to day activities. That is the reason why I remain attracted to the world of design, because of its timelessness and practicality. Back in 2007, I acquired my first limited edition piece of design. It is a clay chair by Dutch designer Maarten Baas. It is playful, quirky, sturdy yet remained true to its purpose of being a chair. Maarten was at the start of his rise to stardom. I was lucky enough to acquire it before the value of his pieces inflated. That piece now has a sentimental value for two reasons: it was the first year I overlooked the sponsorship for the design fair and he wrote a note on the chair which made it very personal.
A collection tells a story, it extends your personality and reflects your life. My collection can be used as a timeline of my career in design. Collecting can be a spontaneous act and sometimes can be a well-researched studied activity; I combine both when seeking pieces.
I have been fortunate enough to travel around the world, and that gives me the opportunity to meet designers, visit studios and feed my curiosity. In 2007, I visited Brazil and met the Campana Brothers. Known for their innovative process of creating sustainable design, they have etched a name for themselves in the high-end world of design.
Fast forward five years and we launched the first edition of Design Days Dubai. As part of that programme, renowned Korean designer Kwangho Lee was among the participants and led a workshop that dealt with his known weaving technique. Using camel leather from Al Khaznah Tannery, he created two light shades and gifted one to me. While this might not be a personal acquisition, it is now part of my personal life. This piece signifies the beginning of a new chapter, one that I have invested a lot of energy in but remains a positive memory nonetheless. Attracted to streamlined objects with fine details, there are two objects that pop out of my collection. One was the clay chair by Maarten, and the other is the Mutation stool by Maarten De Ceulaer. De Ceulaer uses a wooden structure as a base and then the hard foam on top of it to complete the piece. I had seen the piece during the second edition of Design Days Dubai, but I waited a year before acquiring it. I enjoyed his designs but I researched more about the process, the Mutation series, and then I bought it.
Objects of all sorts are collectible, and the activity itself is enjoyable, time consuming and needs investment. My advice is to follow three simple steps: Do you like the piece? What is the process and story behind creating the piece? Am I able to afford it? Though the most important question remains does the object speak to you.
Follow me next time as I dissect a deeper layer of the world of design.
Design Days Dubai is the leading fair in the Middle East and South Asia dedicated to collectible and limited edition furniture and design objects. It takes place March 16-20. For more visit designdaysdubai.ae