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Latifa bint Mohammed inaugurates the 7th edition of Dubai Design Week

08 Nov, 2021

- Held under the patronage of HH Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed, Dubai Design Week presents its most extensive and diverse programme to date
- Week-long event reinforces the city’s position as the region’s leading design and creativity hub
- The most important creative festival in the region features over 260 free-to-attend events and activities at its main hub in Dubai Design District (d3) and around the city, from 8-13 November
- 430 UAE-based designers and 560 companies are participating in this year’s edition

Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, a member of Dubai Council, today inaugurated the 7th edition of the Dubai Design Week with a varied line-up of over 260 activities taking place at the festival’s main hub in d3 and around the city. The event is staged in strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) alongside Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by A.R.M. Holding.

Reinforcing Dubai’s position as the region’s central hub for design and creativity, the seventh edition of Dubai Design Week presents its most extensive and diverse programme of events to date, with 430 UAE-based designers and 560 companies participating in a range of activities, from engaging exhibitions, pop-ups and installations to talks, masterclasses and hands-on workshops, accessible for visitors of all ages and levels of skill.

Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), said: “This seventh edition of Dubai Design Week, will see the design industry’s most influential creatives from around the world converging for the region’s most important creative festival. Not only has the design fair become a key element in the region’s cultural and creative industries agenda, but its rich programme also showcases and engages both the industry and the wider public in a thought-provoking, and accessible way. Dubai Design Week goes beyond presenting aesthetic and practical designs, but also design solutions to complex global challenges, with the potential to enhance our day-to-day lives and even our future. We are proud of the growth of this incredible platform over the years and invite everyone to immerse themselves in all that this design week has to offer.”

Programme Highlights
Visitors can discover the latest in design at the Middle East’s leading fair for original and high-quality design, Downtown Design, from 8 – 12 November. Showcasing more than 150 international and regional exhibiting brands and designers from over 20 countries, complemented by extensive collateral activations including a stellar talks programme featuring global industry experts. This year the fair hosts five national collective showcases from Austria, France, Hungary, Italy and Spain, while Downtown Editions, the fair’s boutique section dedicated to limited-edition and bespoke design, will once again uncover the latest in design by individual designers, studios and creative collaborations with a spotlight on the region such as the works of four designers selected for the 2021 Tanween Programme by Tashkeel, unveiled at the fair.

An interactive installation by award-winning NIU Studio will bring together contemporary design and technology in a unique multisensory experience, while Broadway Interiors created the concept for The Lounge Bar, an eclectic, stimulating environment inspired by the Dubai landscape and The Café by The Lighthouse is designed by prominent practice Lulie Fisher Design Studio.

Showcasing social impact innovation projects in the fields of science, design, technology and architecture by students from universities in the region, MENA Grad Show returns in its second edition, featuring 60 ideas and solutions by 78 students from 29 universities across 10 countries from the region. This year’s projects include a solar powered robot built to plant seeds in desert areas, a device to produce organic super-food at home, an app to organize the routine of dementia patients and magnetic skin to allow people with quadriplegia to control their surroundings.

MENA Grad Show is part of Global Grad Show, the leading international platform supporting social impact innovators in universities across the world. Today, Global Grad Show also unveils 150 game-changing projects for its seventh edition through a digital exhibition at

A multi-media exhibition gathering leading architectural firms and visionary architects practicing in the UAE and the MENA region, the 2040: d3 Architecture Exhibition features concepts envisioning the future of the city, in accordance with the goals of The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan for sustainable urban development, presented by five architecture firms; Beyrac Architects, Dabbagh Architects, Middle East Architecture Network (MEAN) in collaboration with Concreative, RMJM Dubai and Tariq Khayyat Design Partners (TKDP).

Khadija Al Bastaki, Executive Director of Dubai Design District (d3), said: “As a strategic partner, we are delighted to unveil today the 7th edition of Dubai Design Week with its most extensive programme to date, cementing Dubai’s position as a UNESCO City of Design and a global creative capital. Organising the festival at such a scale is testament to our ever-growing and flourishing creative ecosystem at d3. It is always our mission at d3 to bring the design and creative community together, to exchange ideas, nurture and showcase talent, learn, collaborate and inspire – and Dubai Design Week certainly does this. We look forward to welcoming visitors this week to see the rich array of creativity, innovation and talent on show.”
Throughout the festival’s main hub in Dubai Design District (d3), visitors can explore 15 installations and public interventions in the open-air setting. This year’s Urban Commissions, an annually themed Dubai Design Week initiative supported by A.R.M. Holding, has been awarded to Beirut-based architecture and research firm, Bits to Atoms, for an interactive urban intervention titled ‘Yowalah’, a modular 3D printed public space installation aiming to safely reinstate social relations and increase the levels of happiness for users.

Responding to the theme of regenerative design and restorative architecture, the Abwab 2021 commission has been awarded to Dubai-based architect Ahmed El-Sharabassy for his proposal ‘Nature in Motion’, an undulating design concept that references the Dubai desert’s constant motion, emulating the city’s continual evolution. The architectural pavilion will host an exhibition titled ‘Pulp Fusion’ around the topic of the human impact on the planet, curated and produced by Bits to Atoms.
Collaborating with emerging Emirati creative Hessa Al Suwaidi, Bentley Motors is presenting ‘Safeefa’, a creative concept drawing from an integral part of traditional Emirati weaving and the Bentley brand’s design and craftsmanship. ‘The Shape of Light’ by conceptual art studio Shuster + Moseley will explore geometric prismatic forms through a large-scale, specially commissioned glass installation and an immersive architectural concept by Ana Carreras for Lever/Mirage, titled ‘Athenaeum’, which illuminates the recent findings of the 3000-year-old city of Mleiha. 'Context Reflections', by ANARCHITECT led by Jonathan Ashmore in collaboration with Cosentino, will invite visitors to discover the intriguing play of penetrated light created via a naturally occurring optical phenomenon in a low-tech installation using carbon-neutral materials.

A colourful outdoor installation built from recycled materials, ‘Connectivity’ by Kart Group represents the significance and beauty of social connections, while celebrating the diversity of Dubai. ‘The Plume’ by Mohammad Mazen, a student at Ajman University College of Architecture, Art and Design, built using recycled aluminium and acrylic materials, is inspired by migratory birds, symbolising the educational journey.

‘Morphing Nature’, by Kristina Zanic Design Studio for Trend Middle East marks an entrance to Dubai Design Week in d3 by telling a story of sustainability and earth preservation, while ‘The WAW Machine' by Emirati creatives Iman Almidfa and Hessa Ali Alechla behind Wild Arab West (WAW) greets visitors with positive affirmations and cultural sayings in English and Arabic, through an automated vending machine promoting kindness between people and the world.

Pop-ups and Exhibitions
AlUla, the globally significant heritage and geological destination in North West Saudi Arabia, presents an immersive experience designed by Gio Forma and Black Engineering, which is inspired by the extraordinary rock formations in the region’s desert and mountain landscapes.

Providing a platform for emerging creatives, the UAE Designer Exhibition 2.0 presents over 30 emerging and undiscovered talents ranging from Omar Al Gurg and Farah Ahmed’s furniture pieces, to textile design from Shaikha AlTeneiji and Haneen Chaarawi, alongside contemporary pieces and objects created using modern manufacturing technologies, by Alaa Shibly, Nyxo Studio, Sara Al Harbali and more. The exhibition also showcases a range of handmade homeware accessories using traditional craft techniques by Aditi Patwari, Nora Mohammed and Raghad Al Ali, among others.

The Beirut Concept Store presents works by 50 established designers and emerging creatives based in Lebanon in a showcase curated by Mariana Wehbe, presenting the diversity and talent of the Lebanese creative, featuring products ranging from tableware and stationery to books and small gift items.

Shedding light on creatives and makers working with clay, Ceramatastic will feature a wide range of works made in the UAE, including those of finalists of the 5th Dubai Ceramic Award, an initiative by the American University in Dubai, and a series of works by Yadawei Ceramic Studio members, celebrating the golden jubilee of the UAE, alongside pieces by Faissal El-Malak, Michael Rice and Tamara Barrage. The event will also have workshops and demonstrations on the potter’s wheel, dressed by a colourful mural ‘La Playa’ by ceramicist and artist, Lena Kassicieh.

In collaboration with creative studio Hamzat Wasl and Zayed University, the Embassy of Switzerland to the UAE and Bahrain presents an exhibition highlighting the preservation of the printing press and design, while an exhibition titled ‘Design Your Future!’, a collaboration between L’Institut Français of the UAE and Cité Internationale du Design, focuses on the challenges of the design process from idea to application, for a brighter transition to the future. Meanwhile, a pop-up showcase by the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) titled ‘One Grain at a Time’ invites visitors to reflect on the transience of time and boundlessness of space through an immersive intervention while ‘Together’, an active and colourful pop-up space by Jotun is centred around the unique moods that arise when people meet.

in5 Design, an enabling platform for entrepreneurs and startups, presents a multidisciplinary showcase, highlighting emerging and innovative practices, featuring both technology-driven design and traditional user-centered design paradigms, while a pop-up exhibition presented by IED Istituto Europeo di Design features projects by the school’s alumni, focused on sustainability, lightness and fragility, including a pendant light created from eggshells.

Bringing Portuguese flair and creativity to the Middle East, Associative Design - The Best of Portugal will showcase an interpretation of traditional Arabic houses, featuring pieces designed and produced in Portugal in a mix of innovation, sustainability and contemporary design, from furniture and porcelain to textiles.

Talks, Workshops & Masterclasses
Visitors can register to attend more than 150 activities; from hands-on workshops and pottery demonstrations to engaging talks and industry masterclasses, presented throughout the week-long festival to bring impactful experiences for both design professionals and those of all ages. The Making Space, a programme of more than 80 workshops held under the theme of ‘Paper, Plastic + Play’, provides visitors of all ages and levels of experience with the opportunity to experiment with ancient and innovative ways of making and creating; from pottery or reforming plastic to papermaking or using soap as a new medium.

Mette Degn-Christensen, Director of Dubai Design Week, commented: “We are thrilled to be opening this important edition of Dubai Design Week, at a time when the need for, and the impact of impactful design is becoming increasingly crucial to address the serious global issues that we and the planet currently face. We also wanted to ensure that this edition put people and activities at the centre of the festival in d3 to actively engage visitors, and are proud to present our most extensive line-up of events and activities to date. These activities have been designed for visitors of all ages and at all levels of experience, with a strong emphasis on human-centric experiences, community-led activations and a focus on positive narratives and solutions through creativity and design.”

A daily programme of gatherings, curated by Fatma Al Mahmoud, Meet the UAE Creatives brings the local creative community and its stakeholders together in a series of engaging dialogues in an informal setting in one of d3’s bespoke eateries. Participants include Abdalla Almulla, Hani Asfour, Lujain Abulfaraj, Laila Binbrek and Lina Ghalib, around topics such as, graphic design and content creation as well as design education and production in the UAE.

The Forum at Downtown Design will host a series of compelling live interviews and discussions between leading regional and international architects, interior and product designers on each afternoon of the fair, staged in a dynamic amphitheatre specially designed by ema to promote interaction and engagement.  

An insightful programme of talks and masterclasses, hosted by renowned local and international speakers, will take place in the pop-up space by ATÖLYE Dubai titled ‘The:return’.

Weekend Programme
A consciously curated shopping experience for all the family in a safe outdoor setting in the heart of d3, The Dubai Design Week Marketplace returns with its second edition, from 12-13 November, with an even more varied experience. Supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), The Marketplace presents some of the city’s best artisans, entrepreneurs and small businesses, offering quality and original products that are predominantly sourced and made in the UAE. This year’s edition features over 50 new participants this year, a curated selection of artisanal Lebanese delicacies and ceramics, mouth blown glass and unique hand-crafted designs, to support designers and producers working in Beirut.

A series of multi-disciplinary activations and engaging activities will offer creative experiences, including delicious food offerings, a programme of live music sessions and entertainment, as well as over 30 workshops and activities for all age ranges for those wishing to get in touch with their creative side, from pottery to tree planting and fun water colour spray painting to flower pressing.

Around the city, an array of events will be held in conjunction with Dubai Design Week; from the opening of Dubai’s first collectible design gallery, COLLECTIONAL, launching with an exhibition titled ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ and showcasing an exclusively commissioned collection by internationally acclaimed designer Sabine Marcelis, to a host of dynamic showcases at the Jameel Arts Centre and Alserkal Avenue, amongst others.


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