On the initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s efforts to provide emerging talent with fresh opportunities came the Piaget x Cultural Office collaboration. Embracing the chance to showcase young talent in the region, the Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweller partnered with the Cultural Office, launching a competition at Art Dubai 2017 to encourage local creators to propose an installation for the following edition. “Dubai is definitely a place where the sky is the limit,” shared Chabi Nouri, CEO of Piaget, shortly after announcing Jawaher Al Khayyal as the winner from six shortlisted artists and designers.
Jawaher Al Khayyal wearing the Piaget Possession bangles and pendants, with a rose gold Gala Milanaise watch. Top left: Ceramic vase by Jean de Lespinasse from 1955.
Themed Sunny Side of Life, participants aimed to reflect the culture of joy, radiance and sparkle that the Maison embodies through its “art de vivre” ethos. The talents of Al Khayyal, an interior designer with qualifications from Zayed University Dubai, Chelsea College of Arts, London, and Central Saint Martins, London, may have been previously noted, having been commissioned by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Dubai Design District, but it was her Summer Muse proposal that set her apart. “I usually do interiors but I like to work on urban structures that have functional design. It comes naturally to me,” explains Al Khayyal. “This was my first time doing an art installation and I wanted people to connect to it, as well as make them feel like they were a summer muse.” A new challenge that saw Al Khayyal act as an artist in negotiating a jewellery house commission, “I wanted to create something unexpected. It was important to reflect their aesthetic, but also make it an interactive experience because at fairs you usually can’t touch anything.”
Jawaher sketching, wearing the 18K pink gold and malachite Posession bangle and 18K pink gold Gala Milanaise watch. Left: Limelight High Jewellery creative watch, 18K white gold and marquise-cut diamonds. Right: Palm Beach Cuff, Limelight High Jewellery Collection.
Keeping the public in mind, Al Khayyal was inspired by Piaget’s Life is a Party Cuff from its Sunny Side of Life High Jewellery collection—a Maison that Al Khayyal notes is rich in stories that make each piece “magical”. Influenced by her environments and immersing herself in them to create mood-driven designs, she honed in on Piaget’s elegant, confident woman. The result was the Three At A Party work comprising Summer Muse—three identical mobile seating installations. Made of brass-coated aluminium, glass and limestone, the seats represent Piaget’s connections to lustrous, glittering and natural elements, as well as the Maison’s unique and exclusive mastery of a special gold weave. “I incorporated influence from that, as well as the texture of the cuff.”
Jawaher wearing a Limelight High Jewellery creative watch, 18K white gold and marquise-cut diamonds, sitting on the Corner sofa (1956) by Marco Zanuso. Background: Three-arm wall lamp (1959) by Serge Mouille.
The installation features a seat that will allow the sitter to gently twirl and spin around, inspired by the movement of feathers, leaves and water. With the circular seat representing the cuff’s central precious stone, the gold framing recalls metalwork with its glimmer further enhanced by the capturing of light through a textured magnifying lens that envelops the individual and those around her. Engaging light and shadow play, the delicate environmental nuances dialogue with the inherent strength of Summer Muse—just like the Piaget woman, indicates Al Khayyal.
Jawaher wearing the Palm Beach Cuff from the Limelight High Jewellery Collection as she sits on the L Sofa by Willy Rizzo, 1969. Background: Painting by Ian Davenport.
Merging her desire to create temporary but purposeful spaces, creating a chair as an art installation is a milestone career step that speaks to a new direction in Al Khayyal’s practice. Moved by Emirati culture and heritage interpreted through contemporary means, Al Khayyal aspires to continue designing emotionally evocative spaces while still remaining true to Emirati lifestyles.
Photography by Efraim Evidor. Make up by Ammara Rana. Assisted by Sara Khan. Special Thanks to La Galerie Nationale in Al Serkal Avenue. Piaget.com