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If ever there was proof needed that the emirate is a melting pot of culture and art, a visit to Dubai Design Week is just what the doctor ordered.

Artist-architect Michel Abboud, displaying his work for the first time at the event, said Dubai is the new cultural capital.

“Beyond the fact that it’s become absolutely cosmopolitan, it’s one of the most active art markets in the world today. And that’s why it’s a unique opportunity to be part of this event,” he said.

Speaking exclusively to Business Recorder, he explained that he creates “parametric sculptures - which is basically using advanced algorithm and computer-generated software to create forms by translating music into physical manifestation, using colors to represent notes, and using three dimensional pixels to represent the physical manifestation of the digital world”.

His is one of many fascinating installations and artwork on display. The six-day event, now in its eighth iteration, kicked off on November 8 and this year has three new exhibitions including ‘Matter-ials’, featuring a series of indoor installations that underscore prominent environmental issues.

Then there is ‘Designing Women’, a multi-disciplinary showcase where visitors journey through a display of aesthetics and statement designs within indoor installations and design pieces.

Dubai Design Week: immersive installations and a sustainable future

And there is also ‘Design in the Metaverse’ by Dubai-based Metaverse development specialist MetaDecrypt, which offers visitors an immersive exploration of how metaverse technologies are pushing the boundaries of design.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Design with Impact’ and is taking place under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Member of the Dubai Council.

In a statement, Sheikha Latifa said that “by showcasing designs for a sustainable future, the event will foster meaningful conversations on how design can accelerate efforts to protect the environment. Dubai Design Week will also help raise the ability of creative industries to be at the forefront of global efforts to advance sustainability and human wellbeing”.

Speaking about the theme around sustainability, Mette Degn-Christensen, Director at Dubai Design Week, said the event hopes to answer questions such as: “What role does the creative, the design of the manufacturer, the material, the brand play?”

Dubai Design Week is aimed at both consumers and businesses.

Dubai is showing rest of the world the metaverse is here

As Degn-Christensen explains: “We do have emphasis on commercial opportunity, but that doesn’t mean we should be standard and commercial. I think we can bring innovation into our showcases.”

Speaking to Business Recorder, she added that she feels “the word commercial has in the past essentially been perceived as a bad word in the creative sector. I think it’s something that everyone has understood. We’ve all got to eat and need to look for the commercial opportunities. And of course, Dubai as a hub to the wider region really makes sense.”

Talking about why Dubai is the best place for such an event, she said the city is “very fast growing and with that comes a lot of opportunity”.

“We’re seeing real estate skyrocketing, we’re seeing hotels being put up all over the region, sourcing product, sourcing design out of Dubai as a hub for the wider world. For regional designers it is a stage onto a global design scene.”

Dubai's luxury property market heats up with Ambani's $163mn purchase

Yogesh Chadhary, Director at India’s Jaipur Rugs, is certainly there for the commercial opportunities.

“Dubai has become like the hub spot of the world. And coming here and meeting the people who are designing homes, spaces and the hotels that are going to be up and running in the next months or years, it’s extremely exciting to be a part of that.”

Meanwhile, Degn-Christensen says that since moving to Dubai five years ago, she has “really seen the pace at which things move here, which is super inspiring. And I think with that comes (the fact that) we’re in the middle of still building.

“We’re 50 years old as a country, soon 51, and we’re still developing our sectors, be that cultural, be that heritage. I think that for that is super important for us to have that recognition and to further build us a community.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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