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We’re So Ready For The Region’s First Creativity Festival

The three-day imaginative extravaganza will feature a host of international talent…

Work by Ismail Zaidy


The first creativity festival in the region is set to take Abu Dhabi by storm. Globally renowned multi-disciplinary experience company Semi Permanent is partnering with The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DTC Abu Dhabi) to bring Semi Permanent Middle East 2021, an array of global talent from the design, retail, branding, fashion and technology industries. Taking place from October 14-16, the festival will feature an immersive, multi-sensory schedule of inspiring performances, talks and experiences. Additionally, the extravaganza’s venue, Manarat Al Saadiyat, known as the emirate’s cultural hub, is undergoing an innovative design makeover by leading LA-based design studio Perron.

Portrait of Tom Sachs

Curated around the theme ‘Bridges’, which aims to inspire unique solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges, the partnership between Retail Abu Dhabi, the retail platform of the DCT Abu Dhabi, and Semi Permanent will bolster the emirate’s role in enabling industry growth in the region.

Sabine Marcelis 

“Partnering with Semi Permanent is a strategic move to further establish and elevate Abu Dhabi’s presence as a hub of retail design, business and creativity, continuously creating opportunities for the industry,” HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi, said. “As a headline event, we are tapping into an internationally recognised brand partner in Semi-Permanent and signalling our intention to host a gathering of creative forces from every corner of the world.”

Mark Ronson, the British-born Oscar- and Grammy-winning songwriter, record producer and DJ, is confirmed to appear ‘in conversation’ and perform an exclusive DJ set. Plus, the festival with Go Safe certification will be where Rotterdam-based objects designer Sabine Marcelis, who has collaborated with the likes of Celine and Burberry, officially releases an exclusive-to-Abu Dhabi bespoke collection. Turkish-born, Los Angeles-based new media artist Refik Anadol will stage an exclusive large format installation in the emirate too, while The Flower Shop NYC will host a dining pop-up. Additionally, Aaron Rose of La Rosa Social Club will debut in the Middle East along with several world-renowned contemporary art-makers, including Tom Sachs, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Barry McGee.

Refik Anadol's "Melting Memories"

“Abu Dhabi’s rapid cultural growth into an international epicentre of art, design and technology and its gateway-positioning for the wider Arab world, Africa and Asia make it the perfect host,” Murray Bell, Founder and Creative Director of Semi Permanent, said. “Through a series of internationally renowned art exhibitions, hotel openings and collaborations with some of the world’s most respected architects - including Jean Nouvel and Bjarke Ingels – it is clear this is a community with limitless imagination.”

Kim Gordon

The head of the company that specialises in connecting world-class innovators with audiences and brands also said the challenges of last year offered the best opportunity to design a future to be proud of. Bell added Semi Permanent is excited to bring some of the world’s most inspiring people to explore new ideas and possibilities with the audience.

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