Culture Illuminated: DIDI Students’ Visionary Take on the Miamina Chair

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Design aficionados might be familiar with the iconic Miamina chair, Saporiti Italia’s testament to classy design solutions and elegant craftsmanship. Enter: Nomadic Elegance, a blend of Emirati heritage and Italian artistry crafted by the winners of the “Saporiti Design Experience” competition launched in November.

By Désirée Baretto

Prototype of Nomadic Elegance/ Courtesy of Saporiti

Joining forces with the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), Saporiti tasked students to redesign their timeless Miamina folding armchair with sustainable innovation. Following the “Saporiti Design Experience” launch event during Dubai Design Week in November, the students delved into extensive research and design to recreate the iconic chair, pushing the boundaries of creativity and modernisation. After meticulous deliberation from an international jury, the winning team emerged under the mentorship of Prof. Andrea Macruz and Prof. Mirko Daneluzzo. Meera Alsuwaidi, Meera Alsamt, Maryam Alfalasi, and Ghazalah Madani clinched the top spot with their project titled “Nomadic Elegance.”

Nomadic Elegance incorporates local Emirati heritage through a traditional safeefa weaving technique using materials derived from date palm fronds. The palm leaves used in the prototype were dyed with natural colours to create captivating graphic effects and manufactured by local artisans.

The designers added a distinctive touch – an external component featuring a metallic stand connected to the chair frame, supporting a tablet to host a falcon, symbolizing Emirati’s deep love for falconry. This feature can be repurposed into a side table that can support traditional objects in other cultures, making it an interchangeable work of art.

Raffaele Saporiti, very invested in the competiton, expressed “We at Saporiti Italia, are dedicated to exploring uncharted territories in the design world, and staying true to our brand where each piece tells a unique story. You can see that with our display of the iconic ‘Miamina’. Nurturing the design community in the Middle East is essential to me, and our step into Dubai Design District is a testament to this. We believe by providing this opportunity to the students at Dubai Design Institute we will be contributing to the growth of the design industry.

Last but not least, the winning team will soon be on its way to Milan for the city’s Design Week this April 16th to 21st, where they will be given the rare opportunity to present their project within an astonishing pyramidal structure created for the EV-K2-CNR (laboratory in Mount Everest and K2 Base Camp) pyramid project, sponsored by Saporiti Italia.

Discover more about DIDI here and about Saporiti here