L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts opening permanent campus in Dubai Design District - GulfToday

L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts opening permanent campus in Dubai Design District


Gold hairpins with dragon and floral designs, Song dynasty, 960 - 1279.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts is set to officially inaugurate its first Middle East campus this month. It is part of its strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), the global creative ecosystem and part of TECOM Group PJSC. Curated by the world-renowned designer, interior architect and scenographer Constance Guisset, the new site of L’ÉCOLE (in building 10 at d3) will commence its programme of courses for jewellery enthusiasts and novices, focusing on the history of jewellery, the world of gemstones and the craftsmanship of jewellery-making techniques. Classes will be hands-on and led by art historians, gemologists, jewellers and artisans. In addition to its courses, L’ÉCOLE will offer various activities to acquaint the public with the multiple facets of jewellery culture, including exhibitions, books, children’s workshops, videos, podcasts, in-person and online discussions.

“We are thrilled to see the new permanent campus of L’ÉCOLE opening in such a vibrant neighbourhood in Dubai,” said Lise Macdonald, President of L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts. “Everything was made to create a welcoming space for visitors to discover the world of jewellery through our diverse activities — from courses and talks, to exhibitions and children’s workshops.” “L’ÉCOLE Middle East is a new adventure full of surprises. It will intertwine its French roots with the Middle Eastern cultural landscape. Our programme of activities, from courses to talks and exhibitions, will give many opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges in a region where everything is possible.

Discovering a gemstone.

“This venture highlights our dedication to education and generosity empowerment. Proceeds from our courses and talks will be donated to charity to support education for youth, emphasising our commitment to enriching lives and nurturing a community of learning and giving,” said Sophie Claudel, Director of L’ÉCOLE Middle East. Khadija Al Bastaki, Senior Vice President of Dubai Design District (d3), said that “institutions like L’ÉCOLE offers enthusiasts an opportunity to express themselves creatively while empowering others to learn new skills under expert guidance. Its campus in our global community will raise the level of discourse around diverse design disciplines and, through its programme and exhibitions, inspire new waves of artists, designers, innovators and entrepreneurs, emphasising Dubai’s status as a leading creative capital.”

Meanwhile, L’ÉCOLE has been collaborating with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) at Al Safa Art & Design Library. A dedicated space in the library has been created, showcasing a selection of books curated by L’ÉCOLE. Dr Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts & Literature Sector at Dubai Culture, said that “inaugurating L’ÉCOLE’s permanent campus in Dubai represents a significant milestone in the journey of cultural enrichment and education within our community, as it amplifies the emirate’s commitment to fostering artistic learning and underscores our dedication to preserving and celebrating the rich heritage of jewellery arts.”

Hairpin with flowers and birds designs, Ming dynasty, 1368 - 1644.

L’ÉCOLE’s charitable partner is Dubai Cares, the UAE-based global philanthropic organisation. All of the proceeds raised from L’ÉCOLE Middle East public courses, talks and conferences, will be donated to Dubai Cares to support their youth education programmes. Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares said that “youth empowerment holds immense significance in shaping a brighter future, and in this context, we applaud Van Cleef and Arpels’ support in the establishment of L’ÉCOLE’s first permanent campus in the Middle East. This commitment aligns seamlessly with Dubai Cares’ mission to empower youth through education, fostering a generation equipped with knowledge and creativity. The proceeds generated by L’ÉCOLE Middle East’s initiatives will directly contribute to our youth education programmes, underscoring a shared commitment to forging more empowered and educated youth globally.”

Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) has extended its support to L’ÉCOLE Middle East. By joining their forces, they aim to cultivate a dynamic ecosystem that fosters artistic expression and contributes to Dubai’s economic prosperity and the well-being of the wider region. To celebrate the inaugural, L’ÉCOLE will present a large and informative exhibition: Gold and Treasures. 3000 Years of Chinese Ornaments from April 26 – Aug. 10. Visitors will discover a selection of a hundred masterpieces from the Mengdiexuan Collection, one of Hong Kong’s most outstanding private art collections, spanning over three thousand years of goldsmithing work in China. Gold crystals and nuggets from L’ÉCOLE’s collection will also be on display alongside, highlighting the precious metal’s natural shapes. The show is a journey that echoes the motto of L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts: Discover, wonder, learn.

Trying out jewellery techniques.

Established in 2012 with the support of Van Cleef & Arpels, L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts aims to spread jewellery culture around the world. It is an initiation school, open to everyone – absolute beginners and enlightened amateurs, veteran collectors and those merely with a curiosity for the world of jewellery. L’ÉCOLE offers courses in three major fields: the history of jewellery, the world of gemstones and the savoir-faire of jewellery-making techniques. They will be taught by art historians, gemologists, jewellers and artisans. The classes are practice-based and students will be under the guidance of their lecturers. The School also offers activities such as exhibitions, books, videos, podcasts as well as in-person and online talks. Creative workshops have been created for children and teenagers. L’ÉCOLE has five permanent addresses: two in Paris, one in Hong Kong, one in Shanghai and one in Dubai.  It regularly travels abroad, in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East, for talks, exhibitions or travelling course programmes, that last one to three weeks.

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