We sifted through the exhibition's high-end, bespoke design products find our favourites.
Ten of the best products from Interiors UAE
Dubbed "the UAE capital's only design-led, luxury interiors event", Interiors UAE took place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from May 9 to 11. Now in its fourth year, the exhibition placed its usual emphasis on high-end, bespoke design, making for an interesting mix of the truly original and the overly elaborate. We sifted through the exhibitors and products on show to present 10 of the best.
We were wowed by the delicacy and intricacy of Fromental's hand-painted, hand-embroidered wallpapers. A pioneer of embellished chinoiseries, Fromental's wallpapers ooze elegance and charm. They are embroidered in silk and metallic threads in hundreds of different colours, with artists spending up to 600 hours stitching each individual panel. Moghul, a new colourway that combines a metal-washed pearl silk background with detailed, soft grey hand embroidery, was presented at Interiors UAE for the first time. Also on show was the eye-catching Prunus, a richly coloured blossom tree design. www.fromental.co.uk
Sharon Marston, a designer of bespoke sculptural lighting installations, presented seven new pieces at Interiors UAE. Among these were Amber, a cascading tower of bronze lotus flowers and glistening fibre-optic elements. Marston specialises in combining fibre optics with unique materials, colours and forms to create a striking, almost ethereal effect. Each piece is designed and handcrafted in the company's London studio and the colours, sizes and finishes of each item can be tailored to individual specifications. www.sharonmarston.com
Hossein Rezvani has set out to single-handedly revolutionise the art of Persian carpet making by creating contemporary carpets that combine quality craftsmanship with modern designs. Rezvani's family has worked in the carpet trade for generations, but the 34-year-old German-Iranian decided that it was time to give this ancient art a modern twist. He has developed three distinct collections: Design, Classic and the brand new Persia Reinvented, and presented a range of examples at Interiors UAE. We absolutely love the Tabriz Lilac - and we're not alone. The carpet was honoured with a prestigious Red Dot Design award for 2011. www.hosseinrezvani.com
Estelle Gabet's greatest challenge is convincing people in this part of the world that "fire is not only for heat, it is also for design". Gabet is a supplier of Ecosmart Fires, design-led, environmentally friendly, free-standing "fire furniture". Ecosmart Fires are fuelled by bio ethanol, a renewable liquid fuel produced from agricultural by-products. The fires produce no smoke or harmful emissions, and are a stunning addition to any indoor or outdoor space. We particularly like the Mini T, which is designed by Marc Philipp Veenendaal and made of brushed stainless steel and a toughened glass surround. At only 622mm high, it is perfect for intimate gardens and alfresco dining settings. www.ecosmartfire.com
"Any image, any wall, any size" is the Oh Popsi promise. Launched in January, this is an online resource that lets you custom-create wallpaper in four idiot-proof steps. It's as simple as choosing your design, inputting the dimensions of your chosen wall and then placing your order. The website offers a gallery of 2,500 images to choose from but if you have something else in mind, you are welcome to upload your own image. The wallpaper is water activated, which means it is easy to install, and at Dh180 per square metre, it's affordable, too. www.ohpopsi.ae
Smith of Derby
Since 1856, Smith of Derby has been creating public clocks in iconic buildings across the globe. The company used Interiors UAE as a launch pad for its latest creation, the Islamic Clock. A central face displays the local time and is surrounded by five sub-faces that indicate the starting times of that day's prayers. "The clock will reset itself at midnight every night to the following day's starting prayer times," says Bob Betts, the managing director of Smith of Derby. The clock is fully customisable, low maintenance (it has to be programmed on installation but will pretty much look after itself for the next 100 years) and undeniably useful, but comes with a starting price of £20,000 (Dh121,000). www.smithofderby.com
Interiors UAE also afforded us with a sneak peak at the Flock Light, the latest addition to the Tom Raffield lighting collection. The British designer is known for his manipulation of wood and the Flock Light doesn't disappoint. Delicately handcrafted out of steam-bent FSC sycamore, the light is available as a chandelier or as floor, table and wall models. Beautifully organic, the fixture is designed to represent the fluidity of flocking birds. Again, it can be tailored to suit a variety of design specifications. www.tomraffield.com
A surprise find was a collection of vibrant paintings from Damooni Interiors, an Abu Dhabi-based supplier of interior design services and products. The paintings are by an Iraqi artist and combine Middle Eastern scenes with uplifting colour schemes. With prices starting at Dh3,000 they're also a bit of bargain. www.damooni.com
Andrew Martin's two stands offered the usual mix of eclectic furniture items. Particularly striking was the Corrientes armchair in 'Multi'. A new addition to Andrew Martin's fabric collection, Multi's bright, bold prints make it totally on trend. www.andrewmartin.co.uk
Recognised as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture, the Alhambra is a hilltop palace and fortress complex in Granada, Spain, built in the mid-14th century. In the 19th century, artists Don Rafael Contreras Y Muños and Rafael Rus created the Alhambra Plaques, hand-carved, exact-scale models of the doorways at the Alhambra. For the 21st century, UK-based Haviland Designs has created a unique collection of fine-art plaques reproduced from those original carvings. The plaques can be supplied either unframed or framed. www.havilanddesigns.com