Returning to Downtown’s The Venue, the fourth edition of Design Days Dubai was hailed as a spectacular success. As if further evidence were needed of the emirate’s fascination with creativity and innovation, the fair attracted record-breaking numbers with 13,500 visitors flocking to see the works of some 150 designers showcasing over 780 designs.
Large-scale installations, sculptural works and limited-edition designs were all on show, from household names such as Zaha Hadid and Nada Debs, to the ambitious designs of relative newcomers including Khaled El Mays and South African David Krynauw.
In its four-year history, the event has always garnered international interest, but in addition to repeat exhibitors, such as the Crafts Council from the UK, the line-up also saw new galleries like London’s David Gill, Beijing Design Week and World Design Capital Taipei 2016. The playful geometric designs of Emirati designer Aljoud Lootah and Lebanese architect-turned-furniture designer Fadi Sarieddine were particular standouts among an impressive line-up of established designers and rising stars from the GCC region.
The fair director, Cyril Zammit, is particularly proud of this home-grown aspect of the event – with local designers accounting for 50 per cent of the exhibits. ‘The fair has sparked both the country’s and regional interest in design, so various forums and initiatives have been developed that have given individuals the confidence to pursue design as a profession and not as a hobby,’ he says.
With this in mind, the public programme was a much more robust offering this year, with more than 560 people participating in the 13 free workshops and attending nine talks with leading design experts. Cyril adds, ‘It is important to create opportunities to share knowledge and expertise; it is, after all, the primary role of Dubai, and Design Days Dubai continues that vision.’