Dubai is set to further establish its status as a cutting-edge, vibrant global design hub with the return of Dubai Design Week this October.
Last year’s inaugural citywide event attracted design aficionados, designers, architects and thought leaders from over 150 of the world’s leading studios, agencies, brands and educational institutions to present work, exchange ideas and showcase innovation in design.
This year’s Design Week will cement Dubai’s status as the design capital of the MENASA region with more than 100 events taking place in Dubai Design District (d3) over six days; with significantly more visitors and internationally renowned exhibitors expected to attend.
The event is held in under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), and sponsored by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Dubai Design & Fashion Council and Audi. Dubai Design Week aims to support UAE-based multidisciplinary design talent and celebrate the city’s forward-thinking approach to urban enterprise, as well as offering a global stage to ideas and innovations with the potential to improve the lives of people and society around the world.
Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief Operating Officer of d3, says: "As strategic sponsors and hosts of Dubai Design Week, d3 is committed to supporting the ongoing sustainable growth and development of Dubai's design industry by providing a diverse and exciting creative destination that inspires, engages and enables both established and emerging talent. Dubai Design Week represents an important platform for showcasing both regional and international design talent to a global audience and helps place Dubai as an innovative centre for creativity."
Cyril Zammit, Director of Design at Art Dubai Group says: “It was clear that Dubai Design Week 2015 tapped into something that both Dubai and the design industry had been waiting for – a global platform for design in the UAE and the Middle East, and an opportunity to share and explore perspectives and ideas with people from a multitude of countries and cultures. This year, we want to build on that – Dubai Design Week 2016 looks set to be an unmissable addition to the world’s design calendar.”
Downtown Design (25-28 October), the region’s only quality-driven design trade fair, returns for its fourth edition as the commercial centrepiece of Dubai Design Week. Bringing together over 100 brands from 25 countries, the event has become an important fixture in the design calendar for both international brands and buyers from the MENASA region and will once again be held at d3. Visitors will discover products across furniture, lighting, bathrooms, kitchens, textiles and accessories not ordinarily seen at the big shows. Re-affirming Downtown Design’s position as a fair of discovery, the popular ‘Destination at Downtown Design’, a unique alliance of international design weeks, returns featuring emerging design brands from Addis Ababa, Barcelona, Beirut, Reykjavík and Taipei.
Global Grad Show is a globally unique exhibition of innovation, inventions and technology that will transform our future, all showcased by the world’s next generation of design talent. With 135 projects from 51 of the leading universities in 30 countries on six continents, it is the largest and most diverse gathering of designers ever to take place and will offer unparalleled insight into the visions of the designers of the future, and a glimpse into our world as it might be Global Grad Show 2015 tomorrow.
Named after the Arabic word for ‘doors’, the Abwab initiative is dedicated to exploring the design narrative of countries within the MENASA region. This year, emerging and established graphic designers, product designers, photographers and architects from Algeria, Bahrain, India, Iraq, Palestine and the UAE respond to the theme of ‘The Human Senses’. Abwab’s temporary pavilion this year has been designed by UAEbased practice Hypothetical Office that will be built into the walkways of d3.
The exhibition, ‘Iconic City: Cairo Now! City Incomplete’ follows last year’s focus on Beirut and takes inspiration from the Egyptian capital’s host of red brick buildings in varying stages of completion, aiming to gauge the current mood of the city’s creative scene. Mohamed Elshahed, editor-in-chief of the Cairobserver, curates what will be a multidisciplinary presentation conducted by young entrepreneurs, aspiring artists and graphic designers, alongside veteran design practitioners.
In landmark locations across Dubai, a series of 15 public, site-specific installations by renowned international, regional and local designers will unite and transform the city throughout Dubai Design Week’s six days. Central to Dubai Design Week is a daily programme of talks and workshops held at d3 with something for everyone, from local start-ups and entrepreneurs to international visitors, the media and families. The free-to-attend programme will serve as a rich introduction to the design scene in the UAE, and build on the many events and exhibitions happening throughout the week and beyond.
Abwab Pavilions 2015
Details on the talks and workshops programme will be released in late summer, along with a full list of the diverse satellite events from studios, ateliers, universities and galleries that will take place ‘Around the City’.
ABOUT DUBAI DESIGN WEEK
Dubai Design Week is one of the world’s newest and most ambitious international design events, conceived to shine a spotlight on Dubai as a leading design hub, and share the UAE’s thriving design scene with the world at large.
Dubai Design Week was established in 2015 by Art Dubai Group in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), and is held under the dedicated patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. Dubai Design Week is also supported by Dubai Design & Fashion Council and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
In Dubai’s collaborative spirit, and as a reflection of the city’s global outlook, its design week is both regional and international in scope, encompasses public and private spheres, culture, education and entertainment, and spans multiple disciplines, ranging from graphic and product design to architecture and industrial design.
Panels, keynote speeches, panel discussions, public performances and educational workshops all contribute to the greater discussion of what design means for the region and the world.
In 2015, 23,000 visitors from around the world flocked to the city to discover the work and ideas of over 150 designers drawn from around the region and internationally.
The success of the inaugural edition cemented the future of Dubai Design Week as an annual event.
Coinciding with Downtown Design, the region’s leading, quality-driven design trade fair, Dubai Design Week also includes a number of unique headline initiatives, such as Abwab, the Global Grad Show, Destination and Iconic City.
From 25 to 29 October 2016, the citywide celebration of design enthrals Dubai with design, engaging the local community and visitors alike.
ABOUT DUBAI DESIGN DISTRICT
Dubai Design District, better known as d3, is a home for the region’s growing community of creative thinkers. It plays a key element in Dubai’s vision to transform into an innovation-led economy, and it aims to engage, inspire and enable emerging talent, as well as providing a platform to showcase Arab creativity to a larger, global audience.
As a dedicated creative destination, d3 answers a growing need for the regional design industry, ensuring that this important sector is able to develop and thrive. It provides businesses, entrepreneurs and creatives from across the design value chain with an ideally located, purpose-built and sustainable ecosystem, which leverages technology to integrate ‘smart’ solutions throughout the development.
d3 is the newest of TECOM Group’s vibrant creative communities, with 11 buildings making up the core of the site already delivered and being handed over to tenants. To support its many creative partners, d3 offers individuals and businesses the choice of operating either as a free-zone entity or as an on-shore business, each with its own merits.
As d3 evolves, so will its facilities to include everything from cutting-edge workshops and renowned design institutes, to high-end homes, hospitality, retail and office space. Its public spaces will be distinct and characterised by unique street furniture and shaded walkways. By 2018, d3 will feature a one million square foot Creative Community, which will act as the site’s cultural epicentre, inspiring emerging designers and artists, and attracting tourists to the area. By 2019, d3 will also boast a bustling, 1.8km esplanade running alongside Dubai Creek where international and design led hotels, a pop-up shop area, and an amphitheatre will all be located.
All these elements have been carefully designed to ensure that the creative thinkers using and visiting d3 every day have an energised and culturally rich environment.
ABOUT DUBAI CULTURE & ARTS AUTHORITY
The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (www.dubaiculture.gov.ae) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Culture plays a critical part in achieving the vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2021 of establishing the city as vibrant, global Arabian metropolis that shapes culture and arts in the region and the world.
The organisation has announced several initiatives that strengthen the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai. These include:
1. The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards: a first of its kind initiative in the Arab world honouring individuals and organisations who have made financial or in-kind contributions through sustained support to visual arts, performing arts, literature and film in the region
2. Creatopia (www.creatopia.ae): the nation’s first government-empowered virtual community that guides and nurtures the creative culture of the nation, by providing a platform of information and opportunities leading to exposure and personal growth.
3. Dubai Art Season: the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative which encompasses:
ABOUT DUBAI DESIGN & FASHION COUNCIL
The Dubai Design & Fashion Council was established in late 2014 by the Dubai government to position the city as the Middle East’s emerging international design capital and to nurture regional talent. The Council is chaired by Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO of Tecom Group, and run by CEO Nez Gebreel. Its board members consist of 15 individuals who represent a mix of key stakeholder groups, including government, academic, not-for profit and private sector experts, such as Laila Suhail, CEO at Dubai Festival and Retail Establishments; Khalid Al Tayer, CEO of Retail Business of Al Tayer Group; Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of Chalhoub Group; and fashion designer Reem Acra. www.dubaidesignandfashioncouncil.ae