SHARJAH, 15th June, 2022 (WAM) — The participation of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, an affiliate of NAMA Women Advancement, in the Milan Design Week 2022, has concluded on a high note, showcasing Emirati crafts and artisanal techniques that celebrated innovative, cutting-edge design with five collections at one of the world’s most celebrated design events, which was held from 7th to 12th June in Milan, Italy.
Irthi has bolstered the global status of traditional crafts and introduced Emirati creative designs to the event’s visitors from around the world, with five innovative collections. Of those, three new collections that featured complex new shapes, sustainable and eco-friendly materials, and a blend of traditional and digital technologies, were marking their debut on the international design platform this year.
They included ‘Moui Collection Drop’ and ‘Nadd Collection Drop’ alongside Irthi’s ‘Siyada Collection Drop’, launched in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Talli, traditionally created by Emirati women to decorate the hems, cuffs and collars of Emirati garments, was recontextualised for the Moui Collection Drop into home accessories and sculptural items that can be used as centrepieces in living spaces. Moui – meaning sea waves in Emirati dialect – experiments with the deconstruction of the Talli craft’s design, adaptability, colour, material, and pattern, merging modern lifestyle narratives with those of traditional Emirati narratives.
Designed in collaboration with Sheikha bin Dhaher, an Emirati artist, and Adrian Salvador Candela, a Barcelona-based designer, Irthi’s Moui Collection Drop is an extension of the previous collaboration that incorporates Emirati Talli with vegetal leather from Valencia, Spain.
The sculptural, curvilinear forms of the collection take inspiration from desert dunes and the smooth folds in draped women’s veils, combining natural leather and subtle Talli weaves, creating a dialogue between two crafts and cultures.
In a fitting demonstration of how tradition and innovation can coexist, the Nadd Collection Drop enhances the traditional Emirati clay crafts by merging hand and machine-made techniques to create a sculptural range of tableware.
Using parametric design and digital fabrication tools to create moulds, artisans directly manipulate clay through slip casting techniques, thus infusing a traditional craft with a modern lifestyle narrative.
The collection builds on Irthi’s 2019 collaboration with Emirati designer Fatima Al Zaabi, who expands the boundaries of traditional local crafts and culture by experimenting with different material processes and advanced digital techniques.
At Milan Design Week, Irthi also showcased the ‘Thaya Collection Drop’, representing a contemporary interpretation of Safeefah (palm frond weaving) homeware items, and highlighted a contemporary collection of multifunctional bowls amalgamating the intricate, handwoven Emriati Talli with the wood-working heritage practised in the Levant from its ‘Zenobia Collection Drop’.