Dubai Design Week 2023 witnessed the stellar success of Niko Kapa as he received the prestigious Iris Ceramica Award for his socially responsible design. Kapa’s installation marked the final phase of the captivating “Local Cultures in Global Settings” project.
Kapa’s installation, titled “The Big Challenge,” took the form of a deliberately oversized ping-pong table, creating a lively and interactive experience for visitors. The collaborative effort between UAE Modern and Niko Kapa utilized large porcelain stoneware slabs from Iris Ceramica Group, featuring geometric patterns crafted with the innovative Design Your Slabs (DYS) technology.
The winning proposal, named “Drift,” showcased Kapa’s expertise in merging contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship. Inspired by Dubai’s unique geography, where desert dunes and wind-sculpted contours bear witness to human action and the passage of time, “Drift” captures the essence and identity of the location.
The geometric design draws inspiration from Islamic culture, dunes, sea waves, and textured fabrics. Curved and parabolic lines, influenced by the local landscape’s topography, result in a visual masterpiece. “Drift” celebrates individual cultural identities in a globalized world, embodying the interplay between humanity and the elements and integrating nature, technology, and cultural influences. The continuous ripples and dynamic patterns on the ceramic slabs add a layer of plasticity to the surface. The project captures the flux of wind and water, light and shadow, symbolizing the mutability of landscapes and the intersectionality of cultures.
The installation incorporates Iris Ceramica Group’s patented DYS service, allowing for versatile, on-demand decoration of ceramic surfaces. The Active Surfaces® natural materials used in the ceramic slabs boast antibacterial and antiviral properties, making them eco-active and contributing to a healthier living environment.
The “Local Cultures in Global Settings” project, culminating in Dubai Design Week, reflects a year-long exploration into the world of design and multiculturalism. The project combines design, identity, creativity, research, and technological solutions in a multicultural dialogue. Professionals, students, and experts engaged in valuable debates about the implications of globalization and the responses of creative communities to evolving global lifestyles.
Photo Credit: Studio Niko Kapa