Supported by Dubai Culture to cement the emirate’s position as a global capital of arts ‘And Beyond’: Emirati creativity shines at the 2023 London Design Biennale

  • Khulood Khoory: Dubai is an ideal launch pad for world-leading contemporary design’
  • Abdalla Almulla: Reflecting Dubai’s creative journey from camel caravans to the Hope Probe

Dubai, UAE: Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) has announced its participation in the global exhibition, London Design Biennale, from 1 – 25 June at London’s Somerset House, during which the ‘And Beyond’ design installation, created by Emirati architect and designer Abdalla Almulla, commissioned by Dubai Culture, will be unveiled. The exhibition is a platform to introduce world-leading contemporary design and design-led innovation. Dubai Culture’s participation comes as part of its responsibility towards the emirate’s cultural and creative industries, strengthening its presence on the global cultural map and cementing its position as a global capital across various fields of design, creativity, and the arts.

‘And Beyond’ celebrates Dubai’s history, in which Abdalla Almulla blended Dubai’s camel caravans that crossed the deserts and contributed to activating cultural exchanges between societies at that time, and the launch of the Emirates Mars mission, the Hope Probe, a historic achievement for the UAE. Visitors to the London Design Biennale can experience the power of human connection and the evolution of collaboration through immersive design and story-telling. Drawing inspiration from global collaborations, Almulla’s design juxtaposes two seemingly disparate moments in history, united by the ingenuity of human collaboration.

Khulood Khoory, Director of the Projects & Events Department at Dubai Culture, affirmed the importance of the Authority’s inaugural participation in the London Design Biennale, which brings designers and creatives from around the world under its umbrella, saying: “The London Design Biennale provides a wide space for constructive dialogue, anticipating the future of design, encouraging the exchange of experiences, and showcasing best practices in the creative sector, which Dubai attributes special importance to and works to enhance and push towards its growth and prosperity. This global event contributes to enhancing the competitiveness and strength of the design sector in Dubai and elevating it to new levels. Design is an essential element in creative expression, consolidating creativity, innovation, and sustainability. At Dubai Culture, we seek to highlight the emirate’s cultural identity on the global map through our participation in the exhibition.”

Abdalla Almulla, Founder of ‘MULA’ design studio, said: “‘And Beyond’ takes visitors on a creative journey from camel caravans to the Hope Probe via scenes inspired by my observations and experiences in Dubai, whose desert environment I rediscovered and prompted me to think about the nature of the challenges our ancestors faced and their ability to face harsh conditions and adapt to them. I juxtaposed their story with the remarkable success achieved by the Hope Probe, which is an example of human ambition and our infinite capabilities.”

Almulla stated that the installation aligns with the biennale’s theme, ‘The Global Game: ReMapping Collaborations,’ adding: “The design installation is based on the idea of ​​collaboration and its role in encouraging creativity and innovation. It helps introduce different points of view, allowing us to reach various solutions that lead us to a better future.”

The London Design Biennale’s fourth edition, ‘The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations,’ features over 40 exhibitors from around the world that will showcase world-leading design, confronting global challenges and inspire audiences with thought-provoking installations. This year’s Artistic Director is the Nieuwe Instituut, the Dutch national museum and institute for architecture, design, and digital culture, led by General Director Aric Chen. The theme aims to go beyond borders and territories to enact new forms of international cooperation and participation through the medium of design.

The London Design Biennale continues its mission to demonstrate how design can better the world we inhabit. Established in 2016 by Sir John Sorrell CBE and Ben Evans CBE, it promotes international collaboration and the global role of design. Since its inception the Biennale has welcomed the world’s most exciting and ambitious designers, innovators and cultural bodies to the capital.

The biennale brings together the world’s leading design and design-led innovation, creativity, and research. It presents an awe-inspiring exhibition that entertains, informs, and challenges visitors against the historic backdrop of Somerset House. The event ignites debate, encourages international collaboration and forges future partnerships through the stories of designers from all around. It also considers the ripple effect of design concepts on the way we live and highlights the importance of design in bringing about positive social change and economic growth.

Eureka, a new addition to the biennale, will showcase design-led innovation from the UK’s leading research centres to address ideas around sustainability, health, aging and community cohesion, featuring cross-disciplinary invention and creativity from academics and problem solvers.