Your first steps to becoming a design collector
As the head of programming for Design Days Dubai, I spend a lot of time prior to the fair diving into our archives. This process reminds me of the unique make-up of exhibitors we have showcased, and reaffirms our commitment to ensure the exhibits will constitute a show unlike any we’ve done before.
Perusing through the previous five years’ work reveals some fascinating insights into the success of the fair to date. We’ve amassed a loyal following by turning casual, spontaneous buyers into eager new collectors who now understand the allure of hunting down exceptional pieces that cannot be found anywhere else.
I use the word ‘spontaneous’ deliberately. People generally don’t tend make conscious decisions to become a ‘collector of design’. Their interest starts as a desire to own something that few others will have in their home. What tends to happen subsequently is that from the second or third purchase, a theme starts to emerge. This new collector might be drawn to a particular type of design, be it materials used, country of origin, or historical period. This is when the line is truly crossed.
So, what are the key points to consider if you are thinking of building a design collection of your own? The first and most important trait you must possess is curiosity. At a fair like Design Days Dubai, you have a rare opportunity to see, and perhaps meet, aspiring and seasoned collectors of contemporary design. The fair is also very accessible in terms of value. It showcases the works of both established designers and affordable rising stars, across a range of price points from Dhs2,000 to Dhs275,000.
Browse the show and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If your attention is captured by a particular piece, study the craftsmanship and imagine living with it every day in your home, on both a functional and an aesthetic level. This personal connection is at the heart of collecting design.
It also is important to do your research. Reading up on the reputations, previous collaborations and exhibiting histories of the designers will have a substantial effect on the value of their work. Is the piece you are interested in a one-off or a limited edition?
If so, how many were produced?
This month’s fair places diversity as one of its main focal points. The aim is to balance international and regional design. As a unique proposition it will also welcome high-calibre individual designers who are not represented by a gallery. This opens the door to some exciting and often experimental work at the new location at D3, for a true fair of discovery.
Design Days Dubai, March 14-17, D3. For more information visit designdaysdubai.ae