The Design Studio at Abu Dhabi Art brings designers from around the world to share and demonstrate their process and philosophy of design. The Design Studio is a site for imagination and inspiration; together designers and the community share their knowledge and passion for creation through discourse and the making of innovative functional objects. In 2010 the Design Studio opened its doors to Estudio Campana with Noor Al Mehairi and Khalid Al Shafar, Formafantasma, Khalid Mezaina, Khatt Foundation and Unfold.  Touching on themes of folk craft, sustainable design, the use of banal materials and concept driven projects; the designers ledworkshops, discussed their work and revealed their distinctive practice. 

(Image ´Autarchy´, Formafantasma)


Estúdio Campana

Since 1983, the brothers Fernando (1961) and Humberto (1953) Campana have been solidly building their career, achieving both national and international recognition. Their work incorporates the idea of transformation and reinvention. Giving preciousness to day-to-day or common materials is a vehicle for their creativity in design, but also for very Brazilian characteristics - colours, mixtures, creative chaos and the triumph of simple solutions.

Based in Sao Paulo, Estúdio Campana is constantly investigating new possibilities in furniture making. It creates bridges and dialogues where the exchange of information is also a source of inspiration. The work in partnership with communities, factories and industries maintains the freshness of the Estúdio Campana repertoire. The Campana brothers’ pieces have been integrated in collections of renowned cultural institutions such as MoMa in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany.


The Khatt Foundation 

Founded in 2004 in Amsterdam, the Khatt Foundation provides a platform for cultural dialogue and thereby promotes greater understanding between Western nations and the Arab world and Middle East. It also supports educational cultural projects that promote cross-cultural collaboration and the exchange of ideas, and seeks to create opportunities and networks for young Arab and Middle Eastern designers across national borders and political divides.  The Khatt Foundation is dedicated to advancing Arabic typography and design research in the Middle East, North Africa and their diasporas. With a network of design specialists conducting research projects and programmes focused on contemporary design in this region, the foundation aims to raise awareness of the vital role design can play in building a sustainable environment.


Unfold,to be revealed gradually to the understanding 

Unfold Design Studio was founded in 2002 by Claire Warnier and Dries Verbruggen, after they graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, which has formed a platform for everything they have done and will do. The Antwerp-based duo developed a strong multidisciplinary background in design, technology and art, and often collaborate with a vast network of kindred spirits and specialists.


Studio Formafantasma 

Andrea Trimarchi (1983) and Simone Farresin (1980) are Studio Formafantasma – two Italian designers based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.  The work of Studio Formafantasma touches on relevant design issues such as the role of design in folk craft, the relationship between tradition and local culture, a critical approach to sustainability, and the significance of objects as a cultural vector.  Andrea and Simone believe the designer’s role bridges craft, industry, users and objects. From this in-between position the studio is interested in creating a design practice that merges craft and industry, local necessity within the global context and, on a conceptual level, to stimulate a more critical and conscious relationship between user and object.  

The aim of the studio is to create, over time, a coherent body of work made up of self-commissioned projects and collaborations with outside companies. 

Khalid Mezaina

Thanks to comic books and illustrations, Emirati artist Khalid Mezaina realised at a very early age that he had to be part of the design world. After graduating with a BA in Visual Communication from the American University of Sharjah in 2006, Khalid began participating in group exhibitions both in the UAE and internationally.

Khalid’s works represent his inspirations - comic books, music, people and street art. His works always start as hand drawn illustrations on paper, then scanned and digitally enhanced either with colour or other elements. His works can be based on a mood, a social or personal message, or just pure fun. Many of his current works experiment with representing culture in an unconventional manner by creating pieces showing Emirati culture in a cool, ‘pop’ and non-traditional manner. This allows viewers to embrace the beauty of Arabic traditions in the context of a vibrant, modern metropolis.  ‘I would like my work to inspire others the way design has inspired me. Also, if the work enables an audience to smile when viewing it, then I believe my work has been successful.’