Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and member of the Dubai Council, in strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), a member of TECOM Group PJSC, and supported by Dubai Culture, Dubai Design Week, the Middle East’s leading design platform, opens tomorrow at d3.
Dubai Design Week is a fundamental pillar in Dubai’s standing as the design and creative capital of the Middle East and a UNESCO City of Design. The free-to-attend programme that will run throughout the week includes exhibitions, pop-up events, discussions, hands-on workshops, and outdoor urban installations. This year’s Dubai Design Week will host its most ambitious and diverse programme to date and is set to welcome more than 500 designers, architects and creative practitioners from over 40 countries.
The anchor event of Dubai Design Week, Downtown Design, opens Wednesday 8 November. The leading fair for contemporary and quality design in the Middle East, Downtown Design brings together international and regional designers, architects, and design enthusiasts to showcase the latest trends and innovations in the design world. The event features a curated selection of established and emerging brands, designers, and design studios. It provides a space for networking, learning, and exploring design trends across the design industry through a programme of talks and masterclasses, in addition to a curated networking programming known as Trade/Connect.
Khadija Al Bastaki, Senior Vice President of Dubai Design District, part of TECOM Group, said: “We are thrilled to see Dubai Design Week kick off at our global creative ecosystem for another highly successful and inspiring edition. People often overlook the many ways design impacts our lives. This showcase celebrates publicly the different executions and evolutions of design across its many disciplines, including furniture, interiors, architecture more. We are proud to be strategic partners of this definitive design showcase as it invites visitors to appreciate the diversity of talent through installations, exhibitions, activations, workshops, and talks – including the fourth d3 Architecture Exhibition. Each edition of Dubai Design Week captures how fast Dubai’s creative community is growing and demonstrates the ways Dubai is reinforcing its status as a UNESCO Creative City of Design.”
Natasha Carella, Programming Director for Dubai Design Week, commented: “This year’s Dubai Design Week sees designers from across the globe come together to exchange ideas and demonstrate the positive impact that can be fostered through design. As we find ourselves immersed in the complexities of the modern world, sustainable practices take centre stage with thought-provoking programming that explores design in all its forms: from ancient materials to emerging technologies, and from documentation of Arab visual culture to design solutions for vulnerable communities.”
Visitors to Design Week can explore over 25 large-scale outdoor installations realised with unconventional materials like palm leaves, loofah, sugar, paper pulp and cement alternatives. Created by local, regional and international designers and design studios, these immersive public interventions emphasise the synergy between design, science and technology, exploring options for responsible, circular processes and sustainable practices. At the heart of Dubai Design Week’s outdoor programme is the Abwab commission, led by Emirati architect Abdalla Almulla, whose striking, colourful pavilion ‘Of Palm’ explores the use of palm tree stands as a prime example of a sustainable resource in architecture.
This year’s Urban Commissions, Dubai Design Week’s design competition, was awarded to the Syrian concept designer and architect Ahmad Alkattan. His project - Designest - is a series of intimate gathering spaces that look to nurture micro-communities and foster the exchange of ideas, offering ‘nooks’ and shelter as a bio-inclusive space for both humans and non-humans.
Titled ‘Sustainability - Past, Present and Future’, the d3 Architecture Exhibition organized by Dubai Design District in partnership with RIBA Gulf Chapter will return alongside Dubai Design Week’s calendar. It presents a compelling narrative through time and the ever-evolving ethos of sustainable architecture in the Gulf region, whilst underscoring the critical role of architects in this journey. The exhibition features work by students and emerging architects alongside leading architectural firms such as Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and UN Studio. A series of talks and workshops will run as part of the exhibition.
Additionally, the d3-based Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) will host a series of engaging design workshops, student and designer exhibits and campus tours designed from 8 to 10 November for visitors to get a glimpse of what it would be like to study at DIDI. in5 Dubai, an enabling platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups by TECOM Group, will present The North Star, the region’s largest 3D printed exhibition. Developed and built by in5’s own Nyxo Studios, the installation signifies the principle of guiding individuals in their goals.
Now in its fourth year, the UAE Designer Exhibition, under the curation of Fatma Al Mahmoud, and themed around the future of living spaces, will host over 30 exceptional talents, showcasing their design products with a focus on eco-conscious material and social impact.
People of all ages and skill levels can participate and learn from a range of experts, including professors from renowned institutions and experienced practitioners at The Maker Space, Dubai Design Week’s dedicated workshops’ programme. Tufting, sustainable packaging design, recycling, reforming and glass fusing are some of the skills that the audience will have the opportunity to learn and practice.
The weekend programme will be enriched with the Marketplace from 11 – 12 November, an outdoor market located in a pedestrian-friendly outdoor setting in the heart of d3, that will bring together over 80 of the best homegrown small businesses.
Visit dubaidesignweek.ae and download the app to explore the programme and plan your visit.
This year, Downtown Design will raise funds for humanitarian aid to support the many innocent civilians who are affected by the ongoing tragedy in Gaza. Visitors to the fair will be asked to pay an entrance fee of AED 25 at the door; the full amount will be donated to Emirates Red Crescent for Gaza relief efforts. The Art Dubai Group, who owns and manages Downtown Design, will match the total funds raised.