x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Object of desire: Piegatto screen

A beautiful four-fold, aluminium and wood screen from an unlikely source.

Ovals double-skinned screen designed and manufactured by Piegatto.
Ovals double-skinned screen designed and manufactured by Piegatto.

Time was when you could walk around Index (the annual interiors trade show in Dubai) with a very limited risk of seeing anything genuinely new, fresh and exciting amid the sea of formulaic and derivative offerings that (as often as not) were drowning in gilt, glitter and curly bits.

And while there was more than enough of the latter at this past week's show, there were also pieces that leapt out from the masses, ticking all of the right design boxes. Some of those came from unlikely sources - among them, hand-embossed leather from Sweden; antique Rajasthani carving from France; studio ceramics from London; Persian carpets from Germany - all of which I plan to write about in the coming weeks.

And this, from Guatemala - not a country that you immediately think of as a hotbed of contemporary design: a beautiful four-fold, double-skinned screen made of sheet aluminium, wood and PVC.

Piegatto began as an architecture studio, branching into furniture and accessory design only when it couldn't find the kind of pieces with real personality that it wanted for its buildings. Such has been the success of those designs, they have become a standalone product range.

It's clear that the design roots of this screen lie in the three-dimensionality of architecture: its double skin of high-gloss aluminium and pattern of randomly placed oval cut-outs (with the front and back layer slightly offset from each other) make odd reflections, creating a sense of space, as much as substance. Add to that the extra dimension created by the intricate shadows it casts on the wall and floor behind it when properly lit, and the whole thing seems almost to float, despite its solid structure.

It's an arresting optical illusion - and a truly original and exciting piece of design that combines function with beautiful form.

Oval double-skinned screen Dh8,600 (plus shipping costs ex-factory) from Piegatto, Guatemala City, Guatemala; www.piegatto.com; UAE contact 055 887 9042, ligialva@hotmail.com