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.
When: 24–29 October
This year’s Dubai 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 internationally renowned exhibitors expected to attend.
Here’s what’s going down:
1. 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.
2. Global Grad Show
A breath-taking 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 tomorrow.
3. The Abwab Initiative
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 UAE-based practice Hypothetical Office that will be built into the walkways of d3.
4. ‘Iconic City: Cairo Now! City Incomplete’
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 for the Cairobserver, curates what will be a multidisciplinary presentation conducted by young entrepreneurs, aspiring artists and graphic designers, alongside veteran design practitioners.
Talks & Workshops
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.
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’.
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.
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.