The region’s largest creative festival will take place from November 8 to 13, with over 200 free-to-attend events, reinforcing Dubai’s position as the region’s central hub for design and creativity.
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 Dubai Council, the region’s leading design fair for high-end and quality design, Downtown Design is back with an in-person showcase of 130+ international and regional exhibiting brands and designers.
Along with it a multi-media showcase, the 2040: d3 Architecture Exhibition, will feature five architectural firms presenting concepts of how Dubai could look in 20 years. This year, the fair will host brands from over 20 countries as well as major national representations from European countries including Austria, France, Hungary, Italy and Spain, and Downtown Editions, the fair’s boutique section dedicated to limited-edition and bespoke design, will once again uncover the latest in design by individual designers, studios and creative collaborations, with a spotlight on the region.
The UAE Designer Exhibition 2.0 will unveil works by 25 emerging and undiscovered creative talents, based in the UAE and producing locally.
This year’s Abwab commission has been awarded to Dubai-based Ahmed El-Sharabassy for his proposal responding to the theme of regenerative architecture and restorative design.
A programme of 80+ hands-on workshops at the Making Space will offer visitors of all ages and levels of experience the opportunity to experiment with ancient and innovative ways of creating.
The Marketplace will bring a curated selection of 80 of the city’s best artisans, creatives and small businesses, presenting high-quality, handcrafted and responsibly sourced products.
A programme of 50+ talks will feature regional and international industry leaders, shedding light on the latest innovations and trends in the global design scene.
The event is staged in strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) alongside Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by A.R.M. Holding.
Khadija Al Bastaki, Executive Director of d3, said: “We are proud to continue as the strategic partner of Dubai Design Week, reinforcing Dubai as the emerging global centre of innovative design. This flagship event elevates an ambitious generation of designers from around the world and demonstrates the ingenuity of d3’s creative community. Our partnership with Dubai Design Week exemplifies d3’s genetic makeup to rethink the regular. Such platforms demonstrate how business, entrepreneurship and innovation can thrive in a collaborative ecosystem, further cementing d3’s position as the region’s leading hub for art, design and culture.
“This event has always brought the best of the industry to the forefront, and we look forward to seeing how the 2021 edition expands the design landscape with remarkable foresight and impactful dialogue.”
Global Grad Show, which this year has had a record amount of applications from 470 universities in 70 countries, will on November 8 launch its online exhibition of the best social impact innovations created by university graduates.
Responding to this year’s theme of regenerative architecture and restorative design, the festival’s headline commission Abwab has been awarded to Dubai-based Ahmed El-Sharabassy for his proposal titled ‘Nature in Motion’, an architectural pavilion referencing the Dubai desert’s constant motion and emulating the city’s continuous development. The pavilion will host an exhibition titled ‘Pulp Fusion’, curated by Beirut-based architecture and research firm Bits to Atoms and centred around the human impact on the planet.
Staged throughout Dubai Design District (d3), 15 installations and public interventions will be staged for visitors to explore in the open-air setting. Highlights include: Marking an entrance to Dubai Design Week in d3, ‘Morphing Nature’, by Kristina Zanic Design Studio for Trend Middle East, will tell a story of sustainability and earth preservation, while ‘The WAW Machine' by Emirati creatives Iman Almidfa and Hessa Ali Alechla behind Wild Arab West (WAW) will greet visitors with positive affirmations and cultural sayings in English and Arabic, through an automated vending machine promoting kindness between people and the world.
‘The Shape of Light’ by conceptual art studio Shuster + Moseley will explore geometric prismatic forms through a large-scale, specially commissioned glass installation and an immersive architectural installation by Ana Carreras for Lever/Mirage, titled ‘Athenaeum’, will illuminate the recent findings of the three-thousand-year-old city of Mleiha.
'Context Reflections', by ANARCHITECT in collaboration with Cosentino, will invite visitors to discover the intriguing play of penetrated light created via a naturally occurring optical phenomenon in a low-tech installation using carbon-neutral materials and the winning proposal of the annual design competition Urban Commissions, supported by A.R.M. Holding, will unveil a public space intervention of a social space for people to play safely together.
A range of showcases will uncover the latest in design from the region; the UAE Designer Exhibition 2.0 will unveil works by 25 emerging and undiscovered creative talents, based and producing locally, while The Beirut Concept Store will feature works by 50 established designers and emerging creative talent based in Lebanon, from tableware and furniture pieces to books and small gift items.
The Embassy of Switzerland will collaborate with Zayed University and UAE-based creative studio Hamzat Wasl, led by Hind Bin Demaithan and Fatma Al Mahmoud, presenting a unique exhibition highlighting the preservation of the printing press and design, while an exhibition titled ‘Design Your Future!’, a collaboration between L’Institut Français of the UAE and Cité Internationale du Design, will focus on the challenges of the design process from idea to application, for a brighter transition to the future.
Meanwhile, an exhibition by the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), titled ‘One Grain at a Time’, will invite visitors to reflect on the transience of time and boundlessness of space through an immersive intervention and ‘Together’, an active and colourful pop-up space by Jotun will be centred around the unique moods that arise when people meet.
At the Making Space, a programme of 80+ workshops under the theme of ‘Paper, Plastic + Play’ will provide visitors of all ages and levels of experience with the opportunity to experiment with ancient and innovative ways of making and creating; from pottery or reforming plastic to papermaking or using soap as a new medium, each activity curated with people and the planet in mind and Atölye will explore themes across circular economy, design thinking and community design at The Re:turn, their pop-up space in d3.
For those visitors who want to learn more about the business of design, The Forum at Downtown Design will invite leading international and regional experts in the fields of architecture, interior and product design to shed light on the latest innovations and trends in the global design scene and exchange new ideas, creative inspirations and future strategies.
A new, daily remodelled programme of gatherings, curated by Fatma Al Mahmoud, ‘Meet the UAE Creatives’ will bring the local creative community and its stakeholders together in a series of engaging dialogues in a casual format at in one of d3’s many bespoke eateries and visitors can meet the region’s artisans, creatives and small businesses offering a curated selection of original and high-quality products at The Marketplace, 12-13 November, supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
Throughout the week in d3, a series of multi-disciplinary activations, events and engaging activities will offer creative experiences to visitors of all ages, including delicious food offerings and a host of children’s activities, from pottery to tree planting, alongside a programme of live music sessions and entertainment on the weekend.-- TradeArabia News Service