Bottega Veneta Hosts an Emotional and Memorable Ramadan Event at ‘The Square’

Bottega Veneta The Square Dubai
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This week, Bottega Veneta highlighted its dual pillars of diversity and inclusivity with an incredible Ramadan activation in Dubai. Dubbed ‘The Square’, the Italian luxury house tapped Carl Gerges to design its modern majlis. Gerges, who hails from the popular Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, is a rare polymath – an architect, a stage designer, a multi-instrumentalist composer, a photographer. He digested the Bottega codes effortlessly, and his arrangement of the square spoke to his innate understanding of community. Absent of any in-your-face branding – save for the now-iconic Bottega green and that delightful nubby tweed texture that’s recently become a brand signature – Gerges completely transformed the space inside Concrete in Alskeral with sunken seating and minimalist block tables. 

‘The Square’ suhoor took place over three nights, and was emceed by Apple Music MENA Editor-in-Chief Samer Doumet. Uniquely, it invited a mixed audience to experience its original storytelling proposal. Instead of separating the nights by press, clients, and VIPs and by bringing everyone together on equal footing, the experience was well-rounded and thoughtful. You could instantly detect the purity of the intention; it wasn’t to sell you anything, it existed simply to make you feel something.

It existed simply to make you feel something.

The event, with its considered approach, took on a sacred quality. This comes from the fact that it was born right here in Dubai and ideated by Bottega’s local team. Inspired by hakawatis and the ancient Arab art of storytelling, each invited guest was brought in to share their personal stories. The line-up featured an emotional poetry reading by British-Sudanese activist, basketball player, and poet Asma Elbadawi who read from her book Belongings. a goosebump-inducing acapella vocal performance by Mustafa the Poet, and a screening of Yemeni filmmaker Shaima Al Tamimi’s short film Don’t Get Too Comfortable. Moonrise and its French-Syrian Chef Solemann Haddad constructed the food program, which was as beautiful as it was delicious.

Artistry and craftsmanship are Bottega Veneta’s DNA. Right after Matthieu Blazy took the helm, the house introduced its ‘Bottega for Bottegas’ initiative. Bottega means “creative workshop”, and so the house partnered with other famed Italian bottegas like Krumiri Rossi with its legendary biscuits, handmade pasta purveyor Pastificio Martelli, and Bottega Cantina Bisson with its native Ligurian wines. Past collaborative efforts have also come from the likes of German conceptual artist Rosemarie Trockel with her book of photography, controversial Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, and portrait photographer Pieter Hugo. In fact, its collaborations during the Tomas Maier era were commemorated in a Rizzoli publication Art of Collaboration. All of this – including Bottega’s recent suhoor in Dubai – stems from the house’s deep commitment to creative crafts, whether that be poetry, music, interior design, photography, or architecture. 

The #BottegaSquare experience was special because of its thesis of representation and the emotional connective tissue that bound the audience to the storytelling. Conversations between attendees flowed forth on topics ranging from death and grief to personal immigrant experiences. We lingered long into the night, unwilling to break the enchanting spell cast by the spontaneity of connections with our fellow guests.

Furthermore, it proved the depth of talent within the Arab diaspora. Its success now serves as a roadmap for future events, with ‘The Square’ traveling next to Tokyo, followed by San Francisco and São Paulo, where each will showcase its own localized perspective. It’s validating to see a homegrown cultural concept travel out into the world, and take on a new life in the city of its respective hosts. To have built something so intimate and meaningful in a sea of overlapping brand activations takes tremendous effort. To say we’re proud of Bottega Veneta for this would be a vast understatement.

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