UAE designer Pallavi Dean launches light system that aims to connect people

The Dubai-based interior and product designer partnered with lighting giant Artemide to create Interweave

Interweave by Pallavi Dean. Courtesy Pallavi Dean
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It was a “chance, once-in-a-lifetime” encounter that brought Pallavi Dean, founder of the Dubai-headquartered interior and architecture firm Roar, and Carlotta de Bevilacqua, CEO of Italian lighting company Artemide, together.

The two women took part in a panel discussion during Dubai’s Downtown Design exhibition last year, and immediately recognised in each other a kindred spirit. “Pallavi is an extraordinary woman with great professional, cultural and social commitment,” says de Bevilacqua. “We share a special empathy; we strive for the same passions and values in both life and design.”

As an upshot of that chance encounter, last month Dean became the first designer from the Middle East to produce a piece for the lighting behemoth. Interweave was launched during Euroluce, the world’s premier lighting exhibition, which runs alongside the Milan Furniture Fair every two years.

Designer Pallavi Dean. Courtesy Design by Roar

“Artemide is a pioneer in lighting design and lighting technology,” says Dean. “They create the kind of things that, as a university student, you would cut out and put on your mood board. For me, they are the pioneers in lighting design. Their creations are futuristic but also user-led and intuitive. For example, last year, they collaborated with the Bjarke Ingels Group to create Gople, a lamp engineered to help houseplants thrive indoors.”

As designers, we can't just create pretty things. With everything going on in the world, with Brexit and Trump, I wanted to create something that connects us, because that's what makes us stronger.

For her own Artemide creation, Dean wanted to make a statement that wasn’t purely aesthetic. “It started with a narrative. As designers, we can’t just create pretty things. With everything going on in the world, with Brexit and Trump, I wanted to create something that connects us, because that’s what makes us stronger.

“We live in a world today where many people are building walls, fighting trade wars and rolling back globalisation, which to me is a real shame,” Dean adds. “Great art and great design often happen when different worlds meet. Interweave is a metaphor for this, by focusing on the connections and intersections between the different materials, colours, textures, light and shade.”

The lighting system comes as a kit of parts rather than a fixed installation, and consists of a series of metal pillars, with a simple strip of LED light running between them. Flexibility lies at the heart of the piece – Interweave can be ordered in countless colours and configured at will; the user has total freedom in terms of the number of pillars and their positioning. They come in two sizes, can be attached to the ceiling or to a wall, and can double up as speakers, daylight or motion sensors, or be controlled by Alexa, who will kindly switch them on and off as required. 

“As designers, we can sometimes be like bullies – we will give you a design and tell you how to use it, and tell you how to incorporate it into your space. With Interweave, you can buy three or you can buy four or five, and you can choose how you want the light to look. You can create your own shape. It is giving authorship back to the user,” says Dean, who firmly believes that lighting is the most important element of any interior.

“Interweave is all about user-led and technology-supported design. At this year’s Milan Furniture Fair, it was all about the user interacting with their space. Another big trend at the fair was wellness. And a sense of control can give you a greater sense of wellness.”