Van Cleef & Arpels, in partnership with Tashkeel, has opened the call for entries for the 9th edition of the Middle East Emergent Designer Prize, under the central theme Renewal.

Since 2013, the French high jewellery Maison and the UAE-based art and design organisation have run the competition to nurture and promote emerging talent across the GCC and to create global awareness by highlighting the region’s best designs.

Emerging designers residing in the GCC are invited to submit proposals for functional products with a design that incorporates the renewal elements of Spring, nature, creation and innovation. While designs may not include watches or jewellery pieces, past winning entries have ranged from décor items such a lounge chair, floor lamp and sculptural vessels, to a novel Bedouin-inspired baby cradle that could also be used to turn goat’s milk into cheese.

Choice of materials is critical this year as the theme of renewal highlights sustainability. Organisers have recommended the use of materials that are sourced locally, in an ethical manner, including those that are reused, recycled or recreated with minimal carbon footprint.

Prizes and criteria

The designer behind the winning proposal will receive AED30,000 to produce her or his design during a 12-week period, with the final design piece showcased at Les Salons Van Cleef & Arpels Dubai Opera boutique. In addition, the winner receives a five-day trip to Paris to attend courses led by the acclaimed Mains d’Or, master craftsmen in high jewellery creation, at the exclusive L’ECOLE Van Cleef & Arpels, an institute dedicated to accentuating the methods behind the world of jewellery creation and watchmaking.

Entries to the competition will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Interpretation of theme
  • Originality
  • Concept development
  • Functionality
  • Use of materials, techniques
  • Production feasibility
  • Final design resolution and aesthetics
  • Overall quality of submission

The jury comprises representatives of Tashkeel and Van Cleef & Arpels and independent judges, including interior architect, mentor and founder of 3N Jeddah Nawaf Nahar Al Nassar, a leading voice within the Saudi Arabia contemporary design sector.

Tashkeel Deputy Director Lisa Ball-Lechgar said that the quality of submissions from markets including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and the wider Gulf region continues to impress them each year. She also added how it was so rewarding to see the vital role that the initiative has played in the careers of emerging creative professionals.

Who may join

To qualify for entry, applicants must live in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman or Bahrain. Deadline for submission of proposals is 22 May. Applicants can find details on how to enter on There is also a bilingual presentation on the Tashkeel YouTube Channel.

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