DUBAI: Shortly after celebrity favorite jeweler and piercer Maria Tash opened a luxury boutique in The Dubai Mall in 2018, which became the brand’s second-ever freestanding location outside of its flagship store in New York City, the jeweler has announced that it will be cutting the ribbon on a brand new store in the Middle East.
“We did two pop-ups in Kuwait in 2016 that were very successful,” recalled Tash of her first foray into the Middle East with Arab News. “I was thrilled to find that there is a deep appreciation of luxury and very high taste levels in Kuwait,” she adds. And following a few pop-ups here and there, the jeweler has decided to officially launch a permanent space in the Gulf country.
The reason for choosing to open the brand’s second location in the GCC in just a span of two years is down to consumer demands. “The success of our Dubai store coupled with the demand from Middle Eastern clients made Kuwait the natural choice for expansion in the region,” explains the celebrity-loved piercer whose jewelry has adorned the lobes of Rihanna, Zoe Kravitz and Blake Lively to name a few.
The 2,000 sq ft space will be situated on the ground floor in Prestige at The Avenues Kuwait, and will feature one women’s-only lounge for clients who value privacy. Additionally, there will be a wide selection of the designer’s dainty fine jewelry, which comprises ear, nose and navel piercings in 14k and 18k yellow, white and rose gold. Meanwhile, an expert team of stylists will be in-store to advise clients on the most flattering look based on their unique ear anatomy.
The new flagship will begin welcoming jewelry lovers in mid-April, when it’s slated to open.
“I always envisioned to launch in Kuwait which makes this store opening very exciting for me,” shares Tash. “This opening is an important step to building our presence in the Middle East.”
Tash first founded her label and piercing studio in New York City in 1993 and has gone to be stocked in noted department stores, such as London’s Harrods and Liberty.
Less maximum-security museum, more relaxed moving-image showcase, ToDA’s launch makes for an enjoyable outing
Updated 4 min 40 sec ago
DUBAI: If Vincent Van Gogh or Edvard Munch could time travel, one wonders what they would think about how art has evolved. Or about how much their masterpieces have fetched over the years, or how their works have now been transformed into digitised designs that can float from floor to ceiling.
For us, here in the present, digital art theater is a modern take on consuming artworks; getting up close and personal with renowned paintings without fear of ruining them. It’s certainly an unconventional way of presenting the world’s greatest works without having to worry about transporting multi-million dollar canvasses from city to city.
One brand leading this type of experience is the Theater of Digital Art (ToDA), which has just opened its first permanent space in the Middle East. Following its regional debut exhibit in Saudi Arabia, ToDA is now in the United Arab Emirates, taking over Dubai’s Souk Madinat Jumeirah’s former theatre.
“The exhibition in Saudi wasn’t as immersive as it is here; here it is available (to view from) different angles. And because it is a theater (space), it gives a different effect,” ToDA’s general manager, Gabriel Afrim tells Arab News. “Those who already visited in Saudi will get a different experience here.”
The company has definitely brought in the big guns for its first long-running show. Running for three months, “From Monet to Kandinsky. Revolutionary Art” is dedicated to “the most important art movements of late 19th and early 20th centuries” through the vision of nine legendary painters: Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Wassily Kandinsky, Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, Edvard Munch, Juan Gris, Robert Delaunay, and Paul Klee.
Here’s how it works. Running every hour, entry includes access to the 45-minute “performance” of various artworks by the artists mentioned.
“When you walk into a gallery you can see the masterpiece, but here you can see them ‘animated,’ allowing you to see more details in the painting,” Afrim elaborates. “It’s fully immersive. Visitors can sit and enjoy the music and art on the walls.”
ToDA collaborates with Vision Multimedia Projects, a Russian company that specializes in these types of multimedia experiences. Once the show’s concept is confirmed, says Afrim, the partner company works on everything from acquiring rights to both the art and the music, as well as piecing it all together.
Munch’s “The Scream” is very much the star of the show — as relevant today as it was when it first created in 1893 — representing the universal anxiety of man. It will no doubt resonate with many, considering it accurately depicts how the majority of us feel about 2020 so far.
From a personal perspective, ToDA doesn’t replace the experience of viewing the real art pieces; rather it is a nice accompaniment and makes for something different. It is much more child-friendly as well. The children’s Interactive Room allows young visitors to create their own animal coloring, and see it transformed from paper to animation right before their eyes.
One more offering included in the ticket price (from $20 for adults) is the VR Room that incorporates 3D, virtual-reality and augmented-reality “painting” experiences. The permanent arrival of ToDA in Dubai was planned pre-COVID, so it will be interesting to see how well this room takes. While staff members were taking the necessary sanitary precautions, I was keen to avoid trying on a headset.
Taking current times into account, ToDA is operating at a limited capacity — the original plan was to host up to 500 visitors per hour; now it has been reduced to 120. The smaller number actually makes more sense. During my own visit, it was somewhat frustrating to be surrounded by a few individuals who were more occupied with chatting loudly or “doing it for the ‘Gram” rather than taking in the visuals and learning more about the artists. So if you plan on heading there, Afrim offers some advice:
“The beauty of this place is that you don’t have to sit in a certain way to see it and look in a single direction. Personally, I prefer to sit on the floor.”
ToDA’s plan is to remain in Dubai for just under 10 years, running different shows every few months. So there’s definitely time for visitors to get it as right as the organization itself has.