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A unique artistic collaboration between young Emirati designer, Hessa Al Suwaidi, and Bentley Motors is one of the centrepieces of this year’s Dubai Design Week (8–13 November 2021). Titled ‘Safeefa’, the bespoke installation takes inspiration from both Bentley’s craftsmanship and design of movement as well as traditional Emirati craft, bringing it to life through print created movement.

Working closely with Bentley’s Head of Design Collaborations, Brett Boydell, Hessa Al Suwaidi has drawn upon the luxury automotive brand’s extraordinary design, technical and craftsmanship skills to create a bespoke piece that demonstrates the colliding of two worlds. Using one of the brand’s hero models, the Flying Spur, the concept integrates the craftsmanship of the woven safeefa structure with the beauty of the Flying Spur’s movement.

Safeefa is a traditional Emirati craft involving the weaving of palm fronds to create specific items, similar to the technique used for making wicker in other parts of the world. The vibrant design created by Al Suwaidi is a tessellation of the safeefa structure moving across the Flying Spur, mimicking the effect imaged should the car have driven through the safeefa and caught the pattern.

Hessa Al Suwaidi, commented on the collaboration: “The entire process of the creation has been really exciting, from learning about Bentley’s craftsmanship process, been able to bring in my local interest in the traditional craft of safeefa, visiting Sharjah Institute for Heritage at Emirates Handicraft Center alongside driving the Flying Spur really captured the imagination of how we wanted this piece to look. I am delighted with the final result which showcases an embodiment of both modern design integrated with traditional form of craft to showcase movement and life.”

Brett Boydell commented: “This collaboration with Hessa exemplifies Bentley Motor’s focus on what is core to the brand – extraordinary craftsmanship and design. Working with Hessa on this project has been a truly enlightening experience, and it is a privilege to have played a part in the creation of such an inspiring, dynamic and locally relevant concept.”

The ‘Safeefa’ installation was unveiled at Dubai Design Week, the Middle East’s largest creative platform and festival. With its main hub at Dubai Design District (d3), Dubai Design Week’s varied programme consists of design-related events, exhibitions, installations, talks and workshops across multiple creative disciplines.

Since 1919, Bentley’s uncompromising vision has created the highest levels of bespoke luxury, with a clear, instantly recognisable bloodline running throughout all of its designs. Bentley’s tradition of craftsmanship is unique in the automotive industry, and the result of the devotion of the highly skilled people who work at the Bentley factory in Crewe – not just to the creation of the world’s finest cars but also to passing their skills on to the next generation. Now, through its partnership with Dubai Design Week, the luxury British brand is reinforcing its commitment to the region’s design and craftsmanship industry.

Dubai Design Week is owned and managed by the Art Dubai Group, and is held under the dedicated patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and member of Dubai Council. It is staged in strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) alongside Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by A.R.M. Holding.

Dubai Design Week is a free-to-attend event. Visitors can download the free Dubai Design Week app to discover the full programme, register for Downtown Design, the region’s leading design fair, and be kept updated on the latest health and safety guidelines. The Dubai Design Week app is available on Apple App Store and Google Play Store.


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