13 July 2023
Radical Podcast x Alserkal Avenue Mini Series
Introducing The Radical Contemporary Podcast x Alserkal Avenue podcast mini-series in collaboration with Alserkal Avenue and hosted by Radical Contemporary founder Nour Hassan. This series of 6 episodes spotlights the risk-taking entrepreneurs who have molded and shaped the culture and community at Alserkal Avenue, across the MENA region and beyond. We share the unique stories of 6 founders from multidisciplinary bacIkgrounds who chose Alserkal as their home, and through challenging convention and pioneering in their respective fields, have shifted the status quo.
Episode 1: CRANK
In this episode our founder Nour Hassan speaks to the founders of workout space and community CRANK based in Dubai at Alserkal Avenue with another facility in Abu Dhabi.
The four founders of CRANK are Ken Calleja, Kourosh Dara, Sami Hakim and Nuno Costa. Nour speaks to Kourosh, Sami and Nuno about the journey of building a brand rooted in passion, the regional fitness industry and how CRANK broke the mold, the struggles and triumphs of entrepreneurship and closing Alserkal Avenue as their flagship location.
For more information visit @crank.uae on Instagram to check out their class offerings.
Episode 2: NIGHTJAR
In this episode our founder Nour Hassan speaks to NIGHTJAR Founder, investor & active co-owner Leon Surynt. Leon has a history of innovating the food & beverage industry in both New Zealand and United Arab Emirates. A creative director of signature branded concepts that are consistently highly regarded & often play to a cultural need.
Leon has collected many awards along the way, including concurrent years for Best Cafe (Dubai) & Restaurant of The Year (NZ), one of the top 20 bars of the world, with accolades at New Orleans prestigious 'Tales of The Cocktail'. Founder of Nightjar Holdings (2006), with its first venture being Nightjar Coffee Roasters, now a market leader in UAE's Craft Coffee & Beverage Sector. Currently growing Nightjar's distribution and store footprint regionally, alongside R&D for brewing zero ABV craft beverages.
To learn more visit @nightjar.coffee.
Episode 3: CINEMA AKIL
Butheina Kazim is the founder of Cinema Akil, the only independent arthouse cinema in the Gulf region programming repertory cinema programs at their flagship home in Alserkal Avenue in Dubai and through the nomadic cinema across the UAE. Kazim is a member of the Steering Committee of the Network of Arab Alternative Screens where Cinema Akil is a member. Kazim holds an MA in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University and lives and works in Dubai.
Find Butheina on Instagram @butheinahk.
Cinema Akil is an independent cinema platform that brings quality films from across the world to the audiences in the UAE. Showcasing directors and filmmakers across the decades, Cinema Akil aims to create awareness and interest in film and the cinematic arts. Launched in 2014 as a nomadic cinema, Cinema Akil has held over 60 pop-up nomadic cinemas attracting over 50,000 attendees in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. In September 2018, Cinema Akil opened its first permanent location in Al Quoz, Dubai making it the GCC’s first arthouse cinema. Cinema Akil’s flagship home is brought to you in partnership with Alserkal Avenue. Cinema Akil is a member of the Network of Arab Alternative Screens (NAAS) which includes members from the MENA region such as Metropolis in Beirut, Zawya in Cairo and Cinematheque du Tangier in Morocco. Follow us into the dark.
Episode 4: JAIPUR RUGS
NK Chaudhary founded the idea of Jaipur Rugs in 1978, working beside nine artisans on two looms. He started his business on the principles of dignity. Today, he is the entrepreneur behind the one of the largest manufacturers of hand-knotted rugs and is often referred to as the ‘Gandhi of the Carpet Industry’.
Raised in a traditional family in Churu, Rajasthan, NK Chaudhary took a loan from his father after college to buy a bicycle and some raw material to set up two looms for nine artisans in Churu. The first carpets were identical twins of 24 square meters and were exported under the name ‘Bharat Carpet Enterprise’.
NK Chaudhary’s greatest achievement was subverting century old practices that shunned women, artists and the poor. In the company’s early days, he removed middlemen to connect directly with tribal artisans. He treated them with dignity, empathy and respect who were considered untouchables.
Jaipur Rugs is an Indian company that combines the pursuit of profit with the spreading of kindness, with the aim of benefiting all the people sitting around its rugs; customers, artisans, local communities, employees, suppliers, buyers and partners.
Jaipur Rugs is a family business. The founder NK Chaudhary is the company’s president, while each of his children have their own responsibilities and areas of expertise. The eldest daughters Asha and Archana are CEO and COO of Jaipur Living in the US. In India, Kavita the middle-child is the Design Director with her own label 'Kavi', while his son Yogesh is the Director of Sales & Marketing. The youngest, Nitesh is the Director of Supply Chain & IT working with both the US and India team.
Episode 5: NAPPA DORI
Nappa Dori is one of India’s foremost contemporary design brands that has captured the imagination of the world through it’s carefully curated design aesthetic and craftsmanship that preserves artisanal sensibilities and minimalism to harmoniously blend form with function.
Behind the brand is the visionary creative force of Gautam Sinha, the Founder and Creative Director of Nappa Dori.
Renowned for his creative process that has propelled Nappa Dori from a single store in HauzKhas Village in Delhi to over 20 countries. Gautam’s design approach is rooted in his Indian heritage yet is a confluence of contemporary interpretations that align to internationally aspirational aesthetics. Having spent the early years of his career designing fashion accessories for numerous renowned high street brands and eventually discovered his love for leather as a material, which eventually gave birth to the Nappa Dori brand.
Episode 6: JOINT SPACE
The philosophy of Joint Space is to create a patient-centric environment within an ecosystem of evidence and science-based physical therapies and medicine, movement practices and movement coaching, educational workshops, seminars and talks. Joint Space recognizes that each individual has their own unique biological landscape, and alongside providing physical therapies, we encourage individuals to become students of their own bodies, understand how to prevent injury, create longevity in their structure, and develop the physical capacity to move well.
Special Episode 7: VILMA JURKUTE
Vilma Jurkute is the Executive Director of Alserkal Initiatives, overseeing Alserkal Avenue, Alserkal Arts Foundation, and Alserkal Advisory. Her professional and academic experience is centered on placemaking and the development of sustainable, community-centric creative economies with both global and regional impact.
Vilma has been instrumental in the evolution and growth of Alserkal and its initiatives. Since joining the organisation in 2012, she led the $20 million expansion of Alserkal Avenue into a 500,000 square foot cultural destination that is now home to over 70 prominent cultural organisations and entrepreneur-led businesses. Under her leadership, Alserkal has grown into a socially responsible and forward-thinking cultural enterprise. She oversees Alserkal’s three primary areas of activity: cultivating a creative economy in Dubai and building a collaborative network of civic-cultural institutions through its renowned cultural district, Alserkal Avenue; providing advisory services to public and private sector entities through Alserkal Advisory; and supporting public artist commissions, residencies, research grants, and educational programs through its non-profit, Alserkal Arts Foundation.
Vilma has been featured in numerous global publications including The Financial Times, CNN’s Great Big Story, Forbes, Arabian Business, The National, Yatzer, and Place Observer. A regular
commentator on cultural districts and sustainable urban development, Vilma has spoken at Art Basel Hong Kong, We Are Museums, New York Times: Art for Tomorrow, Talking Galleries, WRLD City Forum, and Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), among others.