Dubai Design Week ready for epic return

Abwab Bahrain Unearthing Production 19 Photo Credit Christian Vennerstrø
  • Larger in scope, the annual celebration of design strengthens
  • Dubai’s position as the region’s design capital between 24th October and 29th October 2016
Abwab Bahrain Unearthing Production 19 Photo Credit Christian Vennerstrø
Abwab Bahrain Unearthing Production 19 Photo Credit Christian Vennerstrø

Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority  in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) and supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Dubai Design Week is set to enthral the city once more, underlining the importance of Dubai as the region’s capital of design.

The second edition of Dubai Design Week will take place across the city with over 550 designers participating in a six-day celebration of ground-breaking design and ideas, free for all to attend. Key facts include:

  • Dubai Design Week doubles in size with over 150 events across the city
  • Downtown Design, establishes itself is the only trade show in the Middle East for professionals to discover original, high quality design from across the world and doubles its registrations
  • Global Grad Show, the world’s largest graduate degree show trebles in size with 145 projects from 50 universities worldwide, including 9 from the region
  • Abwab explores the human senses with design pavilions from six regional countries
  • Cairo takes centre stage as this design week’s featured ‘Iconic City’
  • d3 remains pivotal location as the event’s commercial design hub and an ‘open museum’ of design
  • Dubai Design Week is sponsored by Audi, Huawei and Swarovski.

Dubai Design Week is an advocate for the design community to grow, develop, thrive and succeed as it provides a stage for designers and design programmes from the local and international communities. The annual event embraces the vast potential of designers and their works and presents it to the audience to discover and engage in diversity and richness through exhibitions, installations, talk and workshops, and satellite events.

d3’s Chief Operating Officer, Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, says: “d3, as a destination dedicated to design, is a proud partner of Dubai Design Week. Created to promote fresh new talent whilst celebrating established designers, we have worked together to invite everyone to experience something totally unique, positioning Dubai as an evolving global design hub.”

Rawan Kashkoush, Head of Programming said: “With over 550 designers from around the world gathering in Dubai, Dubai Design Week is set to be a dynamic and diverse six days. Dubai, as an international hub and where creativity flourishes within the mix of its rich heritage and exponential rise as a modern city, serves as a perfect backdrop for the event.”



More than 150 events over six days in d3 and across the city

Local retailers, design brands, galleries, universities and institutions will all independently stage events, exhibitions or installations throughout Dubai to invite visitors to discover design by exploring new neighbourhoods and reconnecting with the more familiar. Uncover the creative heart of industrial Dubai through DRAK at Ras-Al-Khor; watch artisans at work and push the door to open studios in d3; wander through Alserkal Avenue and Al Quoz stopping off for chocolate tours, gemology seminars, machine building and more; and, shop cutting-edge design in Jumeriah’s concept stores.


A design trade fair of discovery

The commercial centrepiece of the fair, Downtown Design is curated to ensure that the experience brings together a collection of relevant exhibitors in the market. This year sees Downtown Design with 100 brands participating from 28 countries presenting top-quality, original products from furniture and fabrics to lighting, bathrooms and kitchens. The show features a dedicated Italian Luxury Interiors pavilion presented by the Italian Trade Agency and has also partnered with six international Design Weeks (Addis Ababa, Barcelona, Beirut, Reykjavik, and Taipei) bringing together an eclectic mix of indigenous materials, skills, industrial techniques and craftsmanship to highlight each country’s individual cultural context.


50 universities from 30 countries around the world present the next generation of innovation
Global Grad Show, the exhibition of innovation, inventions and technology from students across the world, returns to Dubai Design Week as the largest international gathering of design graduates ever with 145 projects showcasing innovation, inventions and technology from 50 leading universities in 30 countries. Following in the footsteps of famed student inventions, such as the electron microscope from the University of Toronto, the television from the University of Berlin, and Google from Stanford, Global Grad Show will showcase thought-provoking projects that will create our future by the world’s next generation of design innovators. Curated by Brendan McGetrick, Global Grad Show highlights designs that Empower, Sustain and Connect.


An exhibition dedicated to exploring the design narrative of countries within the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) region

Abwab, meaning doors in Arabic, literally presents a gateway for six countries – Algeria, Bahrain, India, Iraq, Palestine and UAE – to showcase a range of special commissions revolving around the theme ‘The Human Senses’. Six purpose-built pavilions, by newly-formed UAE-based architects a hypothetical office, will be integrated into the walkways of d3, taking visitors on a design journey across the region.


A look at the city’s various stages of completion through design

Dubai Design Week has selected Cairo as the focus of this year’s Iconic City exhibition, a series of annual exhibitions launched in 2015 that explores the culture and design scene of individual cities within the Middle East. Cairo Now! A City Incomplete captures for the first time under one roof the Egyptian capital’s current design landscape and celebrates innovation and emerging talent in the fields of product, furniture, graphic and typeface design as well as architecture. Curated by Cairo-based architect, independent researcher and writer Mohamed Elshahed, over 65 Egyptian architects, designers, entrepreneurs and graphic artists will contribute to a presentation, inspired by the city’s infamous red brick housing stock that appears in varying stages of completion across the capital.


Challenging convention and exploring innovation

Visually engaging with its unconventional and creative take on Dubai’s diversity, Dubai Design Week’s high-impact sculptural, architectural and experiential public installations 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, including the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa.

Featuring: EMO_DCI by Maja Kozel, Teun Verbeek and Juliette Wermenbol, supported by Dutch Creative Industry (DCI), d3 • hexalite by Zeinab Al Hashemi, presented by Swarovski, d3 • Left Impression by Latifa Saeed and Talin Hazbar, commissioned by Tashkeel, d3 • Mapping the Burj DCI by Studio Mr. White, Burj Khalifa • Ascension DCI by Yusuke Murakami + Tangent,  Burj Khalifa  • Takki W Hakki by Think Tank Co, supported by 1971 – Design Space,  Rove Hotel  • Through the Lens designed by Amer Aldour, Anjali Srinivasan, Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati from Caravan, and Bahar Al Bahar, supported by Galeries Lafayette, Galeries Lafayette

Discussions and educational events about design in Dubai and beyond

Dubai Design Week will not only turn the city into a week-long showcase of ground-breaking design from the Middle East and beyond, but will also be underpinned by an impressive roster of over 30 lectures, workshops, keynotes and panel discussions are aimed at a range of visitors from seasoned design professionals and students, to design aficionados and children.

Held at d3, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, architect of the UAE’ National Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020, kicks off the programme delivering design week’s opening keynote; professor Yasser Elsheshtawy, curator of the UAE’s pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, hosts a Curating Architecture Masterclass; and, Autodesk Remake and Fusion 360 host two workshops to demonstrate how the latest 3D printing software can help designers re-create or improve existing products.

Also for the first time in the region, The Royal College of Art, the world’s leading Art and Design University, will host a series of three design workshops, subsidized by Dubai Design Week in partnership with d3.

FAMILY WEEKEND AT d3 (28-29 October)

On the weekend of 28–29 October, there will be activities abound for families and friends at d3. Alongside Dubai Design Week’s exhibitions and installations will be  a two-day pop-up design and food market courtesy of community-led food and craft initiative Ripe Market, live stage performances and children’s workshops including doll-making making workshops led by Dubai-based textile artist Vinny.     


Downtown Design is the only platform in the Middle East for the region’s trade professionals to discover original, high quality design from all over the world. In its fourth edition, the Fair returns to the Dubai Design District (d3) from 25-28 October 2016 as part of Dubai Design Week. It presents a carefully edited roster of established and emerging brands across a variety of product categories including furniture, lighting, bathrooms, kitchens, textiles and accessories. Fostering greater interaction, connectivity and commercial opportunity, Downtown Design is dedicated to providing a dynamic environment for buyers and brands to do business easily and efficiently.


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 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, a strategic partner of the event. Dubai Design Week is also supported by Dubai Design & Fashion Council, Audi, Huawei and Swarovski.

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 gathered in 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 24 to 29 October 2016, over 150 events will be staged in a citywide 6-day celebration of design that will enthrall Dubai with design, engaging the local community and visitors alike.


Dubai Design District, (d3), one of the TECOM Group’s communities, is a destination dedicated to design. The chosen home for the region’s growing collective of creatives, artists and designers, d3, has fast become the hub for inspiration and innovation. Created to answer the growing need from the industry, d3 provides businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals from across the design value chain with a thriving community where they can collaborate, create and inspire.

Known for its versatility d3 has become a popular events space, attracting international crowds to cultural exhibitions such as Dubai Design Week, Fashion Forward, Sole DXB and Meet d3, which have simultaneously driven footfall to d3’s distinguished repertoire of design-focused outlets, art galleries and eateries.

With this year’s launch of lifestyle boutiques, art galleries and culinary concepts in its core 11 buildings, the Design Quarter, d3 is very much alive. Taking a novel approach, d3 has selected a mix of original homegrown and international concepts to form a creative community of new retail outlets, restaurants and innovative pop-up events that invite visitors to enjoy a more authentic shopping and dining experience.

d3 is constantly evolving. To cater to its growing number of residents, d3 will feature a one million square foot Creative Community which is currently under construction, and will act as the site’s cultural epicenter, inspiring emerging designers and artists. Another key goal for d3 is to continually surpass the expectations of its visitors, and so d3 will also boast a bustling 1.8km Waterfront development running alongside the Dubai Creek, with international and design-led hotels, boutique retail concept stores and an outdoor events space, as well as a host of hospitality and leisure facilities.

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.


The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in order to drive the growth of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. The Authority has grown to play a major role in the realisation of the Dubai Plan 2021, to highlight Dubai as a thriving capital for creative industries and further embed the Emirate’s credentials as a city of happy, creative and empowered people.

As part of its mandate, Dubai Culture has several initiatives that are focused on strengthening both the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, including Dubai Art Season – the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative which kicks off with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and encompasses Art Week including Art Dubai, Design Days Dubai, and SIKKA Art Fair, Middle East Film & Comic Con, SIKKA Art Fair – an annual event aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE and the wider GCC region, Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre – an annual festival that fosters the art of theatre in the UAE and that is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016, and Dubai Next – a dynamic platform that aims to showcase the Emirate’s cultural ethos and its vibrant creative scene on the global stage.

The Authority’s other key initiatives include Creatopia the nation’s first government empowered virtual community that guides and nurtures the creative culture of the nation and provides a platform of information and opportunities that lead to exposure and personal growth.

Dubai Culture also plays a leading role in support of the UAE National Strategy for Reading 2026, in particular by undertaking a major refurbishment of all Dubai Public Libraries branches to transform them into state-of-art cultural and artistic hubs. Across all of its branches, Dubai Public Library also provides children and young adults with a range of educational and entertaining activities that encourage the use of its facilities. The ‘Our Summer is Filled with Culture & Arts Programme’ is a Dubai Public Library initiative which complements the UAE National Reading Strategy, with its activities open to all age groups, and which revolve around four key themes: happiness, reading, family and the future.

The Authority also manages more than 17 heritage sites across the Emirate, and is a key government stakeholder in the development of the Dubai Historical District. As the custodian Authority of Dubai’s museum sector, Dubai Culture will officially launch Etihad Museum in December 2016. The museum will provide a platform to encourage cultural exchange and to connect Emirati youth with their culture and history. As part of the Authority’s mandate to support Dubai’s vision of becoming the focal point of diverse cultural exchange (regionally & globally), all of its museums will provide a catalyst to preserve Emirati Heritage.


The Audi Group, with its brands Audi, Ducati and Lamborghini, is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the premium segment. It is present in more than 100 markets worldwide and produces at 16 locations in twelve countries. In the second half of 2016, the production of the Audi Q5 will start in San José Chiapa (Mexico). 100 percent subsidiaries of AUDI AG include quattro GmbH (Neckarsulm), Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. (Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy) and Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. (Bologna, Italy).

In 2015, the Audi Group delivered to customers approximately 1.8 million automobiles of the Audi brand, 3,245 sports cars of the Lamborghini brand and about 54,800 motorcycles of the Ducati brand. In the 2015 financial year, AUDI AG achieved total revenue of €58.4 billion and an operating profit of €4.8 billion. At present, approximately 85,000 people work for the company all over the world, about 60,000 of them in Germany. Audi focuses on new products and sustainable technologies for the future of mobility.

AUDI AG’s commitment to the region was confirmed through the foundation of its fully owned subsidiary in 2005. The current Middle East model range comprises the Audi  A3 & S3 Sedan/Sportback and RS 3 Sportback, A4 and RS 4 Avant, the A5 Coupe, Sportback, Cabriolet and RS 5 Coupe and Cabriolet, the A6, S6, RS 6 performance, A7, S7, RS 7 & RS 7 performance, A8, A8 L, S8 & S8 plus, the Audi Q3, Q5 & SQ5, Q7 and the Audi TT Coupe/Roadster and TTS Coupe, the Audi R8 Coupe as well as the R8 Coupe V10 plus.