Tashkeel, in collaboration with Van Cleef & Arpels, invited artists and designers resident in all countries in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) to submit new works in response to the theme of Metamorphosis.

This theme provides a fitting vehicle for the collaboration between Tashkeel and Van Cleef & Arpels since Metamorphosis is one of the recurring qualities that is an integral part of their design philosophy,

“The idea of a unique object which, through feats of design, craft, and innovation technology, becomes something else entirely is part of VC&A’s pedigree.”
Set in Style: The jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels, Sarah D Coffin, Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

The Van Cleef & Arpels archives include a number of iconic pieces that reflect the theme of Metamorphosis, including the Passe-Partout chain-belt which functions as a necklace, bracelet or belt, the Cadenas jewelry, based on traditional padlocks but which function as both elegant bracelets and hidden timepieces, and the ingenious Zip necklace, which literally functions as a zipper in order to transform into a bracelet.

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
― Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

The concept of metamorphosis is one that has intrigued artists and writers for centuries, from the myths recounted by Ovid in the Metamorphosis in the first century BC to the twentieth century when Franz Kafka’s absurd story of the same name described how the central character is transformed into an insect, Salvador Dali stunned audiences with his Surrealist painting the Metamorphosis of Narcissus and M C Escher’s compelling drawings created optical illusions, at once attracting and confusing the viewer.

Metamorphosis – a transformation, or marked change in appearance, character, condition or function – can be a natural phenomenon or the collaboration of scientists, engineers, artists and designers. Nature demonstrates remarkable ways in which it transforms in response to the environment - caterpillars turning into butterflies, tadpoles to frogs - but even in our personal lives, we are frequently required to look to transformable solutions to make the optimum use of confined space. We take for granted deserts that turn into cities, sofas that turn into beds and even lenticular images, in which one image turns into another, totally different image, according to the location from which it is viewed. Successful solutions may be the result of millions of years of evolution, of acute observation of man and the manner in which he interacts with his surroundings, or they may rely on a combination of innovation, technology and craftsmanship, together with an innate understanding of the current and future needs of society.