Announcing the Seventh Edition Winner of ‘Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East Emergent Designer Prize 2020’ in Partnership with Tashkeel

Continuing its longstanding commitment to nurturing talented and ambitious designers across the GCC, Van Cleef & Arpels, in partnership with Tashkeel, the UAE- based visual art and design organisation, announced the winner of the ‘Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East Emergent Designer Prize 2020’: Aezad Muzaffar Alam.

Aezad is a Pakistani architect living in UAE, and believes buildings and infrastructures impact the long-term viability of cities and the process of architecture should yield a tangible outcome that alleviates the living conditions. Winner of 2016’s Young Artist of the Year - Sheikha Manal Young Artist Awards, his projects include the design of a school in a village in Cameroon in collaboration with Open Source Arc, as well as a design that transforms existing street fixtures in Manhattan to curtail the impact of the heat island effect.

Responding to the given theme of ‘Flora,’ Aezad submitted the concept Fragments of the desert garden. His design is inspired by the harmony and geometry of flowers, which are abstracted to generate an integrated visual language, where austere petal-shaped elements support one another to form a whole. It also encourages thinking about stability, celebrating the significance of assemblage rather than singular. The style of the lounge chair is influenced by remnants of historic decorative art, yet the structure and materiality are rooted in simplicity – offering a new age hybrid design.

Aezad Muzaffar Alam talks about his inspiration, “Drawing upon the decorative ornamentation of Arabic architectural motifs, my design of a lounge chair aims to fuse functionality with rhythmic aesthetics found in nature. I use design as a tool to challenge and innovate at a time when everything seems to have been tried, and artistic flair is all too often compromised”.

Aezad’s final pieces showcased detail, accuracy and creativity in a very organic and imperfect model using wood and rattan. His creation process and materials were also evaluated by an esteemed panel of jury members from Van Cleef & Arpels, Tashkeel and Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DiDi) who assessed the designers’ commitment and dedication to their design proposals. 

As the winner, Aezad has been awarded the opportunity to travel to Paris for a one week trip to L’ÉCOLE School of Jewelry Arts, supported by Van Cleef & Arpels. This one-of-a-kind school is notably dedicated to share the culture and savoir-faire behind the world of jewelry. In addition, a total of AED 30,000 was awarded to him to cover the entire cost of materials and production of his design piece. The winning work will be showcased at Les Salons Van Cleef & Arpels Dubai Opera boutique.

Lisa Ball-Lechgar, Deputy Director of Tashkeel, said: “Tashkeel was delighted to partner once again with Van Cleef & Arpels on this extraordinary initiative that is now firmly rooted in the regional design calendar. The seventh edition of the Prize received submissions from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE. Each year, the quality of submissions rises and 2020 was no exception, exemplifying the high level of design skill, aptitude and innovation thriving among emerging practitioners across the Arabian Gulf. After a great deal of deliberation and discussion, the jury – which included the award-winning landscape designer Kamelia Zaal and eminent architect and designer Fadi Sarieddine – selected Aezad Muzaffar Alam as the worthy winner. Intricately designed and rigorously explored, Fragments of the desert garden is a hybrid design that elegantly captures this year’s theme of flora through the symbiosis of Arabic ornamentation and the rhythmic aesthetics of nature. By winning the Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East Emergent Designer Prize Edition 7, we hope that Aezad Muzaffar Alam will soon be recognized as one of the most exciting emerging designers in the Gulf.”

About Aezad Muzzafar Alam

2010 Bachelor of Architecture [B.Arch] Hons.

2016 Young Artist of the Year - Sheikha Manal Artist Awards

2018 Present Design Principal and Co-founder REFORM Studio 2018 Young Architect of the Year - Middle East Architect Awards