The region’s largest creative festival, Dubai Design Week, celebrates its most anticipated edition this month. The fourth annual event has been both critical to the creative industry and has put Dubai on the international design map. The week-long programme features three prominent shows: Downtown Design, the region’s leading trade fair for retail brands worldwide; the Global Grad Show, an exhibition of life-changing inventions bringing together 150 works from 90+ innovative universities from 50 diverse countries; and Abwab, a curated installation and exhibition of original designs. This year Abwab will feature five dedicated pavilions of work under the theme “Between the Lines”, commissioned by designers from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of KSA, together with Pavilion Partner Ithra, and Kuwait City, producing design experiences to encourage cultural exchange.
A new showcase this year, Downtown Editions, is dedicated to limited-edition and bespoke design, featuring design weeks from the region, including Amman, Beirut and Casablanca, bringing some of the Middle East’s brightest design talent to Dubai.
Several great exhibitions this year will also showcase up-and-coming local artists. One highlight, UAE Design Stories: The Next Generation from the Emirates, is an exhibition showcasing eight of the brightest Emirati talents from across the country, curated by prominent Emirati product designer Khalid Shafar.
Design incubator Tashkeel will present Design+Making UAE, a destination for those curious about the local design ecosystem, exploring design practices in the UAE from concept to completion, while DRAK, the design collective based in Dubai’s Ras Al Khor industrial zone will be conducting a community initiative titled “From RAK to DRAK” where three designers, Amal Haliq, Faissal El-Malak and Khalid Mezaina, will get creative with commercial outlets from the neighbourhood.
For visitors heading to the design fair, an especially useful, navigational innovation introduced this year is the Dubai Design Week app, which will give visitors easy access to events and installations and create personalised schedules based on preferences and interests.