Art & Culture

Emirati artist Aljoud Lootah discusses Dubai Design Week and her creative process

Aljoud Lootah is a multidisciplinary designer based in Dubai, whose work explores product design. She established her studio with a keen interest in the idea of contrasts in form and function.
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Aljoud Lootah composes her creations by mixing traditional silhouettes and concepts with modern elements. Patterns, folds and geometric shapes are at the heart of her inspiration. Her creative drive comes from a passion for detail, aesthetics, and experimental approaches to materials and techniques.

As a product designer, she has been involved in projects that distinctly interprets the Emirati culture, traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design.

Tell us about your latest collection?

During Dubai Design Week 2019, we launched a collection called 'Mudeem'. The collection examines new innovations in material manipulation while giving new presence to the traditional Mandoos storage boxes. The collection serves to explore the seemingly endless possibilities inherent in camel leather and highlights the delicacy and fineness of the material.

These series of physical manipulations resulted in sculptural forms that demand a 360-degree exploration and close examination of the details. Each detail is made by hand via pleating, layering, airbrushing and hammering while other parts of the leather are folded, woven and cut out. This manipulation of the material led to unique patterns and textures that resulted in a permanent three-dimensional surface.

The creations are the result of vast experiments combined with refined craftsmanship and, most importantly, an innate passion for working with leather. With the 'Mudeem' collection, the aim is to push boundaries, challenge ourselves, and deliver the uncommon.

  

How do you feel the design community has grown in the region? Why is it important to be a part of initiatives like Design Week?

The design industry has been growing rapidly in the region with the rise of new talents who are all focused on bringing their stories, culture and history to an international audience. This has helped immensely in raising awareness around the importance of the design industry, as well as breaking stereotypes. Dubai Design Week is such an important platform as it brings leading international and regional designers with young emerging talents and allows them to showcase their work together. It provides great exposure and opportunities for the works to tell the world how strong the design scene is here. 

What brands have influenced you on your design journey and why?

 There isn’t a brand in specific that influenced my work, however, I’m very interested in the aesthetics of Japanese design as it is so detailed-oriented, with a minimal approach and a strong story. I’m also fond of Apple’s take on product design. It is one of the first brands to merge technology and design together bringing consistent attention to detail and functionality for the best user experience. 

"Dubai Design Week is such an important platform as it brings leading international and regional designers with young emerging talents and allows them to showcase their work together."

Where do you see your brand evolving in the years to come?

 I’m hoping that my brand will have a stronger international presence in terms of collaborations with design houses and showcasing my work internationally as well during several design weeks. I also aim to launch several mass-produced collections for them to be easily accessible to many people. 

What tools do you use during your creative process? How do you go from idea to execution?

I can’t start my design process without the new iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I never thought I’d be this attached to an iPad or device, but when I received my first iPad Pro, it changed my whole perspective on how to approach design projects and made the process so much easier. 

I use it for brainstorming, identifying inspiration and then I start working on Procreate to sketch several initial concepts. Once I have three directions set, I then draw detailed pictures of each to ensure that the overall design elements and aesthetics are clear. The last step is to create 3D models and physical prototypes before moving on to the final production. I take the iPad pro with me everywhere I go as I don’t know when inspiration might strike.

What advice would you give budding designers who are trying to make it?

I would suggest they work on finding their passions. Once a person follows their passion, the path gets clearer and the outcome is stronger. Never give up – It’s not an easy process but it will be worth it in the end.

 

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