Wednesday 7, October 2015

Dubai – MENA Herald: On the 26th of this month, Dubai lays its claim to being one of the great emerging design cities of the world, as the very first Dubai Design Week kicks off across the city.
Showcasing the best of contemporary design from both the Middle East and across the world, the inaugural Dubai Design Week aims to cement the city’s reputation as the design capital of the region, attracting professionals, aficionados and design-curious visitors to the city for a six-day celebration of ground-breaking ideas across a raft of creative platforms, spanning public installations, architecture, product, industrial and graphic design.

Conceived and managed by the Art Dubai Group, Dubai Design Week is held in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) and is supported by the Dubai Design & Fashion Council and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

d3’s Chief Operating Officer, Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, says:  “We are proud of our strategic partnerships with key local and global organisations across the design sector which collectively, aim to promote design in the region. d3, as a destination dedicated to design, is pleased to host the inaugural Dubai Design Week; it is our privilege to be able to share Dubai’s vision for the design scene with its many visitors and participants – a vision embodied by d3. Together with our partners, we aspire to enable both new and well established designers, as well as artists locally and regionally, to thrive and succeed.”

The first Dubai Design Week will seek to reflect the city’s enormous potential by offering a level field for designers and design programmes from everywhere and all over the city; residents and visitors are invited to explore, discover and interact with a diverse and convention-puncturing programme of exhibitions, installations and events, with the newly developed creative hub d3 at the heart of it.

Cyril Zammit, Director of Design at Art Dubai Group says: “Thanks to Dubai’s position as an international hub, the rich but under-acknowledged creative heritage of the emirate and the growing appreciation of the role of design in the modern city, Dubai Design Week has a unique opportunity to establish an inclusive landmark event that embraces and engages the imagination – in a way that the world’s traditional design centres, with their established reputations and structures, often cannot.”   

In addition, Dubai Design Week will produce a programme of talks and workshops giving UAE based designers unique access to insights from some of the leading players in the regional and global design industry, through a series of engaging talks, panels and workshops that  will take place in d3.

Nez Gebreel, CEO of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council comments: “The inaugural edition of Dubai Design Week will give us the opportunity to educate and support local talent, while working towards our commitment to raise the profile of Dubai as a key player on the global design scene. Design is an essential building block of innovation and a catalyst for change, and we look forward to six inspirational days filled with great work from all around the world and opportunities for creative collaboration and cultural exchange.”

Dubai Design Week centres on the third edition of Downtown Design to be held at d3, the region’s fastest-growing design trade fair, which will bring more than 90 designers from 24 countries to present their pioneering innovations in furniture, lighting, bathrooms, kitchens, textiles and accessories. The fair has also partnered with six of the world’s leading Design Weeks (Helsinki, Istanbul, San Francisco, Mexico, Beijing and Melbourne) to bring their emerging designers to Dubai, thereby helping make Dubai Design Week a place of global discovery.
Accompanying the fair will be a packed calendar of public events and a host of cornerstone initiatives that offer insights into Dubai’s own creative energy and shine a light on the most remarkable developments in design thinking worldwide.

To find out more information on any of the Dubai Design Week programmes, visitors should go to the Dubai Design Week website


10 universities present the next generation of innovation

For the first time, the highlights of graduate shows from a worldwide roster of design-education programmes are brought together in a single space, giving visitors an unprecedented opportunity to discover the ideas that will define the design landscape of the future.  
The exhibition features the work of 50 international young designers and design teams, each selected for their creative approach to problem-solving and their potential to make a lasting improvement to human society, across six themes: Construction, Home, Health, Memory, Play and Work.

Featuring • ECAL (Switzerland) • Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands) • Hong Kong PolyU (China) • KAIST (South Korea) • Keio University Graduate School of Media Design (Japan) • National University of Singapore (Singapore) • MIT (US) • Pratt Institute (US) • Royal College of Art (UK) • Tsinghua University (China)
Curator Brendan McGetrick


Emerging and established talent from six MENASA countries

Six purpose-built pavilions, integrated into the walkways of d3, invite visitors to journey through design from six nations of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region. United by the theme ‘Games: The Element of Play in Culture’, the content of each is selected by a curator from each country, enabling the pavilions to act as windows into the local aesthetic and immersing visitors in different design worlds.

Featuring • Jordan • Kuwait • Pakistan • Saudi Arabia • Tunisia • UAE

Creative director: Rawan Kashkoush


A Lebanese Design Showcase: 1950–2015

The first in a new annual series of Iconic City exhibitions, Brilliant Beirut explores the impact of local urban dynamics in the areas of design, production and creative culture. Tracing the development of Lebanon’s design scene from the 1950s to the present day, the exhibition straddles architecture, education, graphic design, fashion, furniture and cultural trends.

Drawing parallels with and distinctions from Western design movements, the far-reaching show considers the shifts in design thinking engendered by civil war and the transition to stability. In addition, it examines how Beirut’s complex social make-up helped nurture creativity, while its long-standing craft traditions and ample production resources contributed to the country’s pre-eminence in the global design scene.

Featured designers, brands and interiors:

200Grs • Bokja • Ideo Parfumeurs • Maus Haus • Nayef Francis Design Studio • WonderEight • Karen Chekerdjian Studio • Sandra Macaron • Arab Center for Architecture • david / nicolas • Liwan • Ghassan Salameh Studio • Karim Bekdache Showroom • Lux • L’Artisan du Liban et L’Orient • Nadia el-Khoury • Nada Debs • Waste • OFF the WALL: Political Posters of the Lebanese Civil War • Papercup • The Outpost • White sur White and White Lab • Studio Safar • Ghaith & Jad Architecture and Design • Rana Salam Design • Assem Salam • Karim Chaya • Jacques Auriac • The Aïshti Foundation • Interdesign • Marc Dibeh • .PSLAB • American University of Beirut – IFI Building • 29Letters (29LT) • Joe Kesrouani • Bernard Khoury • Serge Najjar • Art Factum • Thierry Van Biesen • Ghandour • Bonjus • Cortina • Rami Dalle • Liza Beirut • BlattChaya • Leila Musfy

Curator: Rana Salam

INSTALLATIONS 12 site-specific sculptural works to transform the cityscape

Designed to give pause, spark imagination and spread the idea that wonder and beauty can be found in the most unexpected places, these 12 specially commissioned sculptural, architectural and experiential pieces have been positioned at locations around the city for Dubai Design Week, including d3,  Al Fahidi Historical District, Tashkeel, Meraas The Beach and Meraas City Walk.

Conceived by international artists, architects and designers and chosen for their convention-challenging impact and strong sense of belonging, the installations collectively explore regional decorative traditions, technological possibility and the human environment.

The 12 site-specific works have been created by a handpicked selection of renowned international and local designers, artists and architects and will be positioned at strategic locations around the city for the duration of the event.

“We looked for proposals that presented bold ideas, questioned conventions and responded to the issues faced by global society today,” says Cyril Zammit, Director of Design at Art Dubai Group. “But most importantly, we chose the works on the basis of context; each of these pieces has been selected for its sense of belonging to the city – they all celebrate the creative dynamism and diversity of Dubai in unique ways.”
Many of the installations will receive their world premiere at Dubai Design Week. After the event, many will remain in situ, acting as urban landmarks for the Dubai of the future; others will be rotated around the city to introduce them to different audiences and alternative contexts.

Featuring • Detritus Wall by Ali Al-Sammarraie • Yaroof by Aljoud Lootah • LUZ by Bahar & Sawsan Al Bahar • Untitled (Archway) by Anjali Srinivasan • Deconstructing Zone by Henrique Stabile presented by Coletivo Amor de Madre • Nervous Structure by Cuppetelli and Mendoza • Earth Hives by Latifa Saeed and Talin Hazbar • Love Project by Guto Requena • LOT36587 by Raudha Al Ghurair • Soundweaving by Zsanett Szirmay and Bálint Tárkány-Kovács • Fragments of Now by Yohei Iwaki • Scaffolding/Truss by Zeinab Al Hashemi

Curator: Cyril Zammit

Discussions and educational events about design in Dubai and beyond

Throughout Dubai Design Week, a daily programme of talks, lectures and workshops held at d3 and Downtown Design will explore topics of local and international impact, ranging from considerations of modular Arabic typography to analysis of how developments in modern lifestyles are changing design in the home. Keynote speakers include: world-renowned architects and designers Bernard Khoury and Humberto Campana.  

At the weekend in d3, there will be daily sessions for families offering opportunities to learn and create using technology.


Satellite design showcases across the city

Alongside the core events of Dubai Design Week, stores, studios, universities and galleries all over the city are staging independent exhibitions, workshops and open-door days, collectively underlining Dubai’s rich and multi-faceted design landscape.

Surprise, insight and creative expression await at every turn: from Ras Al Khor where design collective DRAK is highlighting the neighbourhood’s value as both a creative district and wildlife sanctuary through projects in architecture, fashion, jewellery, food and product design, to Al Quoz where Caravan’s performance piece blending human gesture and origami-generative design.


Pop-up design and food market and outdoor dining

On the weekend of 30–31 October, a two-day pop-up design and food market comes to d3, courtesy of community-led food and craft initiative Ripe Market. The work of local makers, artists, designers and craftspeople will be available for visitors to buy, alongside food and produce from the region’s independent food businesses and live entertainment via acoustic performances and children’s workshops hosted by participating designers.

Launching with such an ambitious and broad-ranging agenda, Dubai Design Week aims to make a statement as bold and attention-grabbing as the spirit of the city itself, while encouraging the world to look beyond the expected and discover the balance of imagination and innovation that drives Dubai forward.

“Design is integral to any artform and Dubai Design Week puts the spotlight on the newest trends in the industry globally. It is a key initiative that also provides local designers the opportunity to interact, share ideas and work together to create innovative pieces. The breadth of talent participating in this year’s Dubai Design Week reflects our commitment to promote intercultural dialogue that will further define Dubai’s status as hub for the design industry,” says Moza Suwaidan, Director Projects & Events of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

2015 marks the first Dubai Design Week. There will be many more.