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Irthi to spotlight UAE’s commitment to sustainability….

Irthi to spotlight UAE’s commitment to sustainability across
its vast heritage and complex culture in Milan Design Week 2023 

The region’s leading crafts council will showcase the invaluable outcomes of its cross-collaborations with the world’s leading names in design, research, geology and more  

Sharjah, April 14, 2023

Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council (ICCC), chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and an affiliate of the UAE-based NAMA Women Advancement (NAMA), has announced its participation at the highly anticipated Milan Design Week 2023. The event, which runs from April 17-23, is the largest annual design event in the world, and the Council is preparing a unique showcase for attendees.

The Council is curating a unique showcase for the event’s attendees, and will be turning the spotlight on its collaborative efforts alongside artisans, architects, designers, urbanists, curators, researchers, artists, geologists, biologists, chemists, as well as craft specialists across the MENA region. Their work will exemplify how masterfully they have integrated tradition and technology to rediscover the history and roots of the UAE, and will zoom in on ways in which they have applied their skills to share their stories with the world.

Through Irthi’s participation this year at Milan Design Week 2023, the crafts council will demonstrate how design can be a significant driver in raising awareness on craft preservation, and how it can be passed down generations by creating ‘contemporary craft recipes’ through harnessing the talents and prowess of local artisans, particularly women, who are the primary practitioners and champions of traditional craft in most global cultures. The traditional crafts of Al Safafah, Al Zaffanah, Al Faroukha, Al Sadu and Al Gargour have been celebrated in these modern collections.

The collections will also feature collaborations with individual artists and designers including Ghaya Bin Mesmar, and Barcelona-based Mermelada Estudio, and Reem Saif Almazrouei as well as others. 

The Council’s showcase at the design week will also include two in-depth works of research; one that explores returning to the original Emirati methods of food preservation and reviving ancient fermentation techniques that are still of relevance, as a cross cultural dialogue between Sharjah and Milan. The second work is the product of a Design Labs research fellowship under which Irthi and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) collaborated to present a growing indigenous material and craft library archive as a starting point for the Council’s innovative strategy towards preserving cultural heritage at an architecture scale.

Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, said: “Irthi has been showcasing at Milan Design Week, but this year will be truly special. We are extremely proud to share the fruits of years of hard work, research, field work and collaboration with like-minded partners from around the world at the event this time. Since the beginning, our aim has been to return craft to its impactful role in society by merging it with technology, and further exploring the endless possibilities of craft applications for greater innovation and experimentation within the region, whilst engaging artisans along the way. Our showcase in Milan this year will be a testament to our successful efforts in realising this complex and significant vision”.

“Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of Irthi, we are delighted to have this fresh new opportunity to showcase Sharjah’s contributions to the design and crafts world. Our achievements, including this design showcase, are a testament to our belief in the importance of culture and its role in shaping the future,” she added.

The famous 5VIE Design District in 5VIE’s headquarters at Cesare Correnti 14 will serve as an inspiring backdrop to Irthi’s stunning display this year.

A key highlight of the council’s participation in Milan Design Week 2023 will be the Safeefah Majlis installation, accessible to the event’s attendees at ALCOVA, Via Marco Aurelio 21, 20127, 11am-7pm, from April 17-23. Offering visitors a first-of-its-kind opportunity to an exhaustive mapping and interpretation of the UAE’s indigenous materials, crafts, cultures and resources, this majlis is the fruit of a year-long research collaboration between ICCC and Atelier LUMA – a programme of LUMA Arles. 

As Irthi continues to break new ground in the world of design and crafts, their presence at Milan Design Week serves as a testament to their unwavering commitment to promoting the rich cultural heritage of the UAE.


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Irthi to spotlight UAE’s commitment to sustainability….
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