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The Call For Entries For The Middle East Emergent Designer Prize Is Open

If you’re an up-and-coming designer living in the GCC, this is your chance to receive a prestigious AED30,000 commission and trip to Paris to learn from master craftsmen.

Submissions for the 9th edition of the Middle East Emergent Designer Prize are now being accepted. As with every year, French high jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels is working in partnership with Tashkeel, a UAE-based art and design organisation, to make the competition possible. And for this year's edition, they have chosen the central theme of “Renewal." Emerging designers resident in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman or Bahrain are invited to put their proposals forward by May 22.

“We are very excited about this year’s theme as, from our founding in 1906 to present day, the concept of renewal has been at the core of Van Cleef & Arpels’ design philosophy,” Alessandro Maffi, Managing Director of Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East & India, said. “Renewal leads to innovation, enabling our master craftsmen to discover new and beautiful ways to transmit the métiers d'art of our creations to the world. These artists are continuingly adapting and renewing techniques, and the vibrancy and new growth associated with springtime are reflected in our workshops.”

The winner will receive AED30,000 to produce a design during a 12-week period, with the final design piece showcased at Les Salons Van Cleef & Arpels Dubai Opera boutique. In addition, the designer will benefit from a five-day trip to Paris to attend courses led by the acclaimed Mains d’Or, master craftsmen in high jewellery creation, at the exclusive L’ECOLE Van Cleef & Arpels. The institute is dedicated to accentuating the methods behind the world of jewellery creation and watchmaking.

The applicants are being asked to come up with functional products with a design that incorporates the renewal elements of spring, nature, creation and innovation. While designs may not include watches or jewellery pieces, past winning entries have ranged from décor items such a lounge chair, floor lamp and sculptural vessels, to a novel Bedouin-inspired baby cradle that could also be used to turn goat’s milk into cheese.

Entries to the competition will be judged on interpretation of theme, originality, concept development and functionality. Techniques, production feasibility, final design resolution and aesthetics, overall quality of submission and use of materials are also taken into consideration. The latter is critical this year as the theme of renewal highlights sustainability. Organisers have recommended opting for materials that are sourced locally, in an ethical manner, including those that are reused, recycled or recreated with minimal carbon footprint.

Lisa Ball-Lechgar, Deputy Director of Tashkeel, said: “The wealth of creativity and design talent in our region is extraordinary and we are delighted to partner once again with Van Cleef & Arpels to bring this to the world’s attention, while also nurturing individual design talent. The quality of submissions from markets including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and wider Gulf region continues to impress us each year and it is so rewarding to see the vital role that this initiative has played in the careers of emerging creative professionals.”

The jury is made up of Tashkeel and Van Cleef & Arpels representatives, as well as independent judges. The panel includes interior architect, mentor and Founder of 3N Jeddah, Nawaf Nahar Al Nassar, a leading voice within the Saudi Arabian contemporary design sector.

Since 2013, Tashkeel and Van Cleef & Arpels have run the competition to nurture and promote emerging talent across the GCC and to create global awareness by highlighting the region’s best designs. Applicants can find details on how to enter on Tashkeel’s website, There is also a bilingual presentation on the Tashkeel YouTube Channel. 

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