Current &


Desert Cast I Postponed Until Further Notice.


Saturday 21 March, 2020 04:30PM - Thursday 29 October, 2020 06:30PM


1971 Design Space, The Flag Island


1971- Design Space presents Desert Cast – Towards an Identity by the three Kuwait-based designers Jassim AlNashmi, Kawther AlSaffar and Ricardas Blazukas. Hybridising motifs of Kuwait’s past and present, the series titled Desert Cast contributes to the development of local design identity through its re-application of regional and borrowed elements.

This collection analyses the kitsch replication of classical architectural motifs in Kuwaiti and Gulf houses. A trend that creates a disingenuous sense of vicarious and exotic luxury, and contributes to Kuwait and the regions’ struggle to develop a context-based design identity, due to an orientalist over-generalisation of Middle Eastern culture.

Desert Cast borrows the profiles used for extruded gypsum cornices and friezes, morphing them by overlapping the designs with two other locally embellished processes, sand-casting, and foam-cutting.

Synthesising local craft and design technology establishes a new Kuwaiti identity that is rooted in its migrant history, yet embraces its contemporary image. The series highlights the accessibility to master craftsmanship, typically used in a narrow practice, with limited perceived value, and presents new possibilities. This exhibition presents some of the original pieces of the series which showed at Abwab in Dubai Design Week 2018 at the Kuwait City Pavilion, the developed pieces commissioned by 1971- Design Space and a visual story of the process.

Throughout the exhibition duration, the trio will work on a collaboration with a UAE-based designer. The trio will invite the UAE-based designer to express his/her interpretation of Desert Cast using Emirati materials and taking inspiration from Emirati vernacular architecture.

The exhibition will result in a publication which is to be launched in Dubai Design Week 2020. The publication aims to document the fabrication process of the Desert Cast project and its progression with the collaboration, the newly commissioned pieces and the presentation at 1971- Design Space. The publication will also invite guest writers to discuss the development of the Gulf region’s design identity.

About 1971- Design Space

1971 is a multi-functional design space dedicated to the display and discussion of all forms of contemporary design ranging from graphic, furniture to interior, interactive design and new technologies. With a variety of curated exhibitions and public programmes, 1971-Design Space aims to become a regional and international design hub in the U.A.E. working in close proximity with local designers, architects, schools and universities.


About the designers

Jassim AlNashmi

Jassim F. AlNashmi  is a Kuwaiti designer, architect and artist. AlNashmi  has a Masters Degree of Advanced Studies in Urban Design from ETH (Zürich) and a professional BArch from Iowa State University. When pursuing his BArch, AlNashmi spent a semester at London’s Architectural Association, after which he practiced at offices such as Pace and Perkins + Will in the USA and Kuwait. AlNashmi has also curated and exhibited works in the USA, UK, Brazil, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. His works were exhibited in art institutions and galleries like the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai and Future Perfect in New York. AlNashmi’s works are published on many design platforms such as  Dezeen, Design Boom, Wallpaper, Design Milk, and Herskhazeen. The Kuwait-based designer now runs a design store and design studio named manmade studio for custom and collection furniture pieces in which he collaborates with local & Arab designers and craftsmen.


Kawther Alsaffar

Kawther Alsaffar  is a Kuwaiti product designer who has a Masters Degree in Design Products from the Royal College of Art in London and BFA.  in  Industrial  Design from Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is multi-disciplinary and uses storytelling and craft to traverse the fictional lines between art and design. She focuses on finding patterns for human intimacy and truth, whether this manifests itself in finding cultural significance, integrity in materials, or creating human connections. Al Saffar founded her brand Saffar where her products aspire to be personally informed, locally defined and universally desirable. Through her brand, she focuses on developing crafts in Kuwait that aren’t favourably considered in the rest of the world, challenging the generic definition of luxury – promoting the local grittiness.


Ricardas Blazukas

Ricardas Blazukas is an independent architect, designer and artist who was born and raised in post-Soviet Lithuania, educated in the UK and currently residing in Kuwait. Blazukas holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Westminster in London, though his eclectic portfolio spans beyond his profession and bridges with other creative disciplines of art & design. Blazukas completed a number of high-profile projects independently such as design and curation of Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah Museum and an exhibition celebrating the 50 Years of Architecture in Kuwait, whilst also collaborating on projects such as Kuwait City Pavilion along with Desert Cast collective for Dubai Design Week 2018 and a public realm installation Aidah – The Invisible City in collaboration with Boano Prismontas for Dubai Design Week 2017. Blazukas also exhibited his own work at renowned galleries such as Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai and Future Perfect in New York, along with various regional and international solo and group exhibitions. Currently, Blazukas continues working on cultural projects and is establishing his own creative studio operating from Kuwait.