Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard of Patrik Fredrikson showcased their installation Prologue at Dubai Design Week to mark 10 years of design collaborations with Swarovski. They pen their thoughts about their partnership with Swarosvki, Prologue, and the Dubai design industry.

Patrik Fredrikson talks about the growing design community of Dubai
It was our first time in Dubai and the design community was very welcoming. We met numerous talented local designers who were very keen to explain their work and advance their understanding of design from other cultures around the world. Dubai Design Week was very lively and vibrant, and everyone we met were extremely enthusiastic. We especially loved the way people eagerly interacted with our sculpture. What we found most interesting is that although most people across all the cities are interested in taking selfies with the piece, but people in Dubai preferred to take photos of the sculpture itself, or have their photo taken by someone else to capture the entire piece as well as the environment it was set in.

During our short stay, we also headed down to Downtown Design, and the Global Grad Show, which gathered works of students from around the world. We especially loved the exhibition in the Dubai Design District: “Middle East Design Now,” curated by Suzanne Trocmé that exhibited 18 designers from the Middle East and North Africa. Our favourite was the tapestries by Bokja from Lebanon, which incorporated traditional French tapestries with local industrial fabrics complete with sun-bleached shadows. It was an incredible showcase that interestingly referenced the historical sense of colonialism in Lebanon through the French textiles spliced with modern fabrics, all in all, representative of the future of design in the Middle East and bridging the gap of old and new. We were also inspired by the community of galleries at Al Serkal Avenue. The Concrete Gallery designed by Rem Koolhaas was a major highlight alongside both Green Art Gallery and Leila Heller Gallery. It was great to see a seamless curation that brought together both local and international artists, as well as an inclusive platform for like performance-based art, architecture, restaurants, architecture, and different creative spaces in one area.

Finally, we travelled to the UAE capital to check out the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. It was an outstanding and amazing experience. There is a pre-conceived image that Dubai is synonymous to opulence and grandeur, with its tall buildings and glamorous lifestyle, but we don’t think there is anything necessarily wrong with it. Dubai is such a forward-thinking place that supports young people and blazes the trail for innovation, and it will be interesting to see how young designers react to the traditional opulence they are surrounded with.

Patrik Fredrikson (left) and Ian Stallard at Dubai Design Week

Ian Stallard shares his thoughts on why he along with Patrik chose to showcase Prologue at Dubai Design Week

We are Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard and together make up Fredrikson Stallard. I was born in the United Kingdom and Patrik hails from Sweden. We met at Central Saint Martin’s College in London and began collaborating in 1995. There is not a specific term to describe what we do—we are furniture designers, artists, we do sculptures as well—and it all somehow encompasses product design. We believe in translating our creativity into simple yet emotionally engaging fine artwork and furniture pieces.

We have collaborated with some of the leading names in contemporary design and that includes Swarovski, who we have worked with for 11 years now, and Prologue was showcased in the recent edition of Dubai Design Week to celebrate that milestone. We were asked by Swarovski to produce a piece for Art Basel Hong Kong in 2014. The Prologue was intended as a public sculpture and we wanted to do something that would be very open to interpretation across a very broad spectrum of people from every kind of cultural background. Hence by taking something as simple as a largescale circle—with a diameter of four meters that encapsulates 8,000 teardrop-shaped Swarovski crystals in two topaz colours—people are drawn to it, and are in awe of it, bringing up a primeval feeling. With its majestic circular shape, there is always a cross-cultural reference with a circular shape that symbolises good luck or brings in wealth.

Prologue symbolises new beginnings and its purpose is to travel around the world and that wherever it goes, it responds to its environment. Dubai is such a young, vibrant city that spurred from a desert, and is very much a symbol for new beginnings, and that is why I think Prologue resonated extremely well with Dubai.