Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Salem Al Mansoori at the Tashkeel Gallery, Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
Salem Al Mansoori at the Tashkeel Gallery, Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
Salem Al Mansoori at a mechanical watch course. Courtesy Van Cleef & Arpels
Salem Al Mansoori at a mechanical watch course. Courtesy Van Cleef & Arpels

Salem Al Mansoori has an eye for design

Earlier this year Salem Al Mansoori won an art competition to have his work displayed in Dubai and his prize was a trip to the Van Cleef & Arpels school in Paris. We meet the designer.

Earlier this year, Salem Al Mansoori won an art competition that earned him a trip to the Van Cleef & Arpels school in Paris and a show in Dubai. Anna Seaman meets the designer

He is educated in computer engineering and works in telecommunications, but his mathematical mindset and a self-confessed obsession with aesthetics has led Salem Al Mansoori into the world of design and visual art.

“I love the rationality of engineering and I used to think that art was completely without any rules, which is OK but it is not for me, I enjoy things that are more structural.”

Nevertheless, he started experimenting with mathematical codes and applied them to a visual format and he is slowly but surely emerging as an artist in his own right.

Collective Narrative, his first exhibited piece, was in the 28th annual exhibition of the Emirates Fine Art Society in 2009. It was a computer programme that harvested tweets to make coherent, three-line stories, and his second work, Pattern Systems, was in the first edition of Mind in 2010, which was curated by Ebtisam Abdul Aziz at the Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre.

But somewhat of a shy character and not yet believing in himself as an artist, Al Mansoori returned to the comfort of academia and immersed himself in an MBA for the next two years.

It was only when he completed that and had spare time on his hands that he rekindled his passion for art.

“I started an Instagram account and began to photograph architecture and do meaningless things and I also started to work with weird 3-D shapes.”

Then, in 2012, his last minute application to Design Road Professional, a series of workshops in Dubai, London and Barcelona, was accepted and Al Mansoori was surrounded by professionals and was immersed in experimenting with his art.

“It was so inspiring. We visited so many designers and we got on so well as a group. It was amazing. The best thing was that it pushed me to work on my 3-D aesthetics.”

Al Mansoori had a table at Design Days Dubai in March and he also submitted a proposal for the forthcoming exhibition at Tashkeel called Metamorphosis. “The first thing I thought about when I heard this theme was a butterfly and the life cycle, so I imitated that with my shapes. I started with a basic 3-D shape and then made it more complex through different stages.”

Not only was Al Mansoori’s work accepted for the competition, which was launched by Van Cleef & Arpels in collaboration with Tashkeel and Design Days Dubai, but his was declared the winning entry.

As a prize, his work was showcased on the Van Cleef & Arpels platform at Design Days Dubai and he won a trip to Paris to visit L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels, a school of jewellery located on La Place Vendôme in an 18th-century townhome.

Returning earlier this month, Al Mansoori says the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He took classes in jewellery design, art history and learnt how to work with gemstones.

“I wasn’t expecting to be able to get much from the classes because it is not really my thing, but surprisingly, I really enjoyed them. The instructors were excellent and the classes were really well -structured.”

Al Mansoori also says that although he never imagined himself in that field, he saw potential in jewellery design.

“It widened my horizons and gave me a taste of a different field,” he says. “In the end, I saw it as another design problem I could solve. Since I got back, I am obsessed with rings and I am thinking about doing a collection along those lines.

“The good thing about jewellery design is that it is not completely the creative side of art and not completely the structural side of design. I also see myself as somewhere in-between these two fields, so I found the trip a really interesting experience.”



Follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.

twitter Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National