Dubai Design Week

November 2021| 101 views

Dubai Design Week returns November 8-13, 2021 with its most extensive line-up of free-to-attend activities to date.

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. 

Staged in strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) alongside Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (DCAA) and supported by A.R.M. Holding, Dubai Design Week returns November 8–13, with a varied program of 200+ activities staged at the festival’s main hub in d3 and around the city.

Celebrating design and creativity in the UAE and beyond through an extensive free-to-attend program of engaging exhibitions, pop-ups, installations, talks, and workshops, accessible for visitors at all levels, Dubai Design Week presents its most comprehensive line-up of interesting activities to date.

With a key focus on supporting the creative community in Lebanon this year, rising and established Lebanese design talent will be highlighted throughout the festival’s program, from architectural installations and product design to artisanal delicacies and outdoor music sessions.

Key Features 
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, a strong trade program, and an emphasis on discovering new talent. Hosting brands from over 20 countries as well as significant national representations from European countries, including Austria, France, Hungary, Italy, and Spain, the fair will feature creative concepts and contemporary installations, including an immersive, multi-sensory design installation at the entrance of the fair designed by award-winning studio NIU and the Lounge Bar, designed by Dubai-based Broadway Interiors. Downtown Editions, the fair’s boutique section dedicated to limited-edition and bespoke design, will uncover the latest in design by individual designers, studios, and creative collaborations, with a spotlight on the region. The Forum at Downtown Design will host experts in architecture, interior, and product design, exchanging new ideas, creative inspirations, and future strategies.  

Showcasing the region’s most innovative ideas and solutions to make the world a better place in the fields of technology, science, and design, the MENA Grad Show will feature the work of bright young minds coming out of the region’s leading universities, addressing issues ranging from desertification to accessibility through to child nutrition and waste management. Simultaneously, the seventh edition of the Global Grad Show will launch on November 8, with an online showcase set to be the most impactful display of graduates’ projects to date.

A multi-media showcase dedicated to architecture, the 2040: d3 Architecture Exhibition will teleport visitors of Dubai Design Week through the next 20 years of Dubai, with innovative, visionary presentations and projects with a human-centric approach.

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’, referencing the Dubai desert’s constant motion and emulating the city’s continuous development. Unveiled at Dubai Design Week in the heart of d3, the architectural pavilion will host an exhibition curated by Beirut-based architecture and research firm Bits to Atoms. The exhibition will be centered around the human impact on the planet and the role of design as a restorative tool while embedding nature as a core element.

The annual design competition Urban Commissions, supported by A.R.M. Holding, this year launched an open call themed around ‘play’, inviting the region’s creative community to submit their proposals for public space interventions, primarily catering to the wellbeing of children, across urban settings. The commission received 80+ submissions, and the winning proposal will be unveiled at Dubai Design Week in d3.

Over the weekend of Dubai Design Week, November 12–13, The Marketplace returns with the very best of the city’s creatives, artisans, and small businesses, presenting a curated selection of original and high-quality products, and delicious food offerings, alongside a host of children’s activities, from pottery to tree planting.

Program Highlights 
Staged throughout the open-air setting of Dubai Design District (d3), 15 installations and public interventions will be staged including: ‘The Shape of Light’ from the conceptual art studio of Claudia Moseley and Edward Shuster (Shuster + Moseley), exploring geometric prismatic forms through a specially commissioned, large-scale glass installation; an installation inspired by the ancient city of Mleiha and its excavated remains titled ‘Athenaeum’, created by Dubai-based architect Ana Carrera for Mirage; and ‘Context Reflections’, created by ANARCHITECT in collaboration with Cosentino, will invite visitors to pause and discover the intriguing play of penetrated light created via a naturally occurring optical phenomenon in a permeable, low-tech installation using carbon neutral materials.

Marking a dramatic entrance to Dubai Design Week in d3, ‘Morphing Nature’, a walkway feature designed by Kristina Zanic Design Studio, will tell a story of sustainability and earth preservation, while ‘The WAW Machine’ by Emirati creatives Iman Almidfa and Hessa Ali Alechla, founders of Wild Arab West (WAW), will greet visitors with positive affirmations, compliments and cultural sayings in English and Arabic, through an automated vending machine, promoting kindness between people and the world.

Exhibitions & Pop-ups 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 talent, 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. A collaborative group showcase by leading Emirati designers Aljoud Lootah, Khalid Shafar, and Abdalla Almulla, UAE Iconics, will present the latest in contemporary living in the UAE.

The Embassy of Switzerland will collaborate with Zayed university and UAE-based creative studio Hamzat Wasl Studio, led by Hind Bindemaithan and Fatma Al Mahmoud, to bring a unique exhibition highlighting the preservation of the printing press and the importance of book design and an exhibition titled ‘Design Your Future!’, a collaboration between L’Institut Français of the United Arab Emirates and the Cité du Design, will focus on the challenges of the design process from idea to application for a brighter transition to the future.


Live Programming 
A program 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 at the Making Space; from pottery or reforming plastic to paper making or using soap as a new medium, each activity curated with people and the planet in mind.

A line-up of 50+ talks will feature the leading designers and architects in the region as well as international guest speakers, to learn more about the latest innovations and trends in the global design scene; new, daily remodelled program 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 talks and dialogues.