Dubai-based Jordanian designer Hamza Al Omari has been awarded this year’s Middle East Emergent Designer Prize by Van Cleef & Arpels in collaboration with Tashkeel and Design Days Dubai. High Jewelry Maison Van Cleef & Arpels will showcase his piece entitled Mahad, this November at the Dubai Design District.

In November 2016, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tashkeel, in partnership with Design Days Dubai, called emerging designers from the GCC region to submit proposals in response to the theme of ‘Growth’. The aim of the Middle East Emergent Designer Prize is to nurture emerging talent across the GCC and create global awareness by highlighting the region’s best designs.

“Congratulations to all the shortlisted designers and the incredibly talented finalists. We commend them for their positive, impactful designs that expressed this year’s theme of growth.  Along with our partners Tashkeel and Design Days Dubai, the aim of The Middle East Emergent Designer Award is to draw attention to the region’s innovative design industry and continue to create new avenues for emerging designers in the region that will help them achieve international recognition.” said Alessandro Maffi, Managing Director Van Cleef & Arpels, Middle East & India.

In addition to the award of AED 30,000 that Al Omari was granted to produce his project, the designer was invited to experience a five-day trip to Paris to attend courses at the prestigious L’ECOLE Van Cleef & Arpels, the first such school for the public to learn about the intricacies of the jewelry world.

His winning creation Mahad is a contemporary baby cradle comprising wood, leather and felt, inspired by a Bedouin piece of furniture called ‘Al- Sameel’, traditionally used to turn goat’s milk into cheese. Constructed with dual functionality in mind, Al Omari’s Mahad can be used to turn goat milk into cheese during the day and a child’s cradle at night.

On what inspired Hamza to design Mahad, he remarked “living in Dubai, one quickly forgets those who came before us. A people with a legacy that still echoes between the ever- shifting dunes. Much like Dubai, Bedouins have always been on the move, rapidly adapting to their environment in search of the next opportunity to grow and prosper. The continuous state of movement has left Bedouins with a challenge that deeply influenced their design language. It all revolved around functionality and minimalism with a very tight definition of necessity. This approach to design resonates with my personal ethos, with form following function at its core”.

The nine shortlisted concepts will be exhibited from November 7 until 25 at Hai, d3 as part of the L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels, the pop-up design campus from the Paris-based school of jewelry arts.

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