DUBAI: Holding court by the waterfront at the Design District, the eighth edition of Dubai Design Week is underway in full swing, hosting local, regional, and international industry designers and experts.
The Dubai Design District, the city’s design, art and fashion hub located in Business Bay, is already home to an array of local, global and regional brands, situated in an open-air community space that encourages creativity and collaboration.
The event set up immersive design installations under the theme of ‘Design with Impact’ at several focal points within the Design District, encouraging crowds to interact with the spaces.
Standout installations include OBMI’s ‘One Upon A Forest’, with an installation at the heart of the Design District, a makeshift straw canopy intended to remind visitors of the beauty and importance of mangroves, encompassing a large space within a set of buildings. The structure is accompanied with a call to action to join the climate pledge.
Another titled ‘RI-BORN’ designed by students at Ajman University encompassed a cube space encouraging sustainability by providing makeshift swings descending from the ceiling as a reminder to reuse and recycle.
The caliber of talks, exhibits and design were at par with international design fairs on the global calendar such as Art Basel Miami, Frieze New York, Art Toronto and more.
The fairy lights hung through the alleys within the buildings give it a quaint feel, while local designers have set up stalls nearby within the Design Market by FLTRD, offering a variety of products by local designers.
A large component of Dubai Design Week though was Downtown Design, a trade design fair hosting local and international brands.
A short golf-cart drive away, the fair was located in a purpose built white-tented space, very reminiscent of Frieze New York.
At the entrance, you are greeted by an immersive installation comprising of stacks of muti-coloured circular sand orbs, built by IOTA, design duo Karim Tamerji and Elias Hage, which is rammed earth using sand from the UAE.
A swift check-in opens up a large rectangular space with a large and varied variety of design stalls, featuring both local and international designers.
The caliber of exhibitors hosted within the space was truly mind-blowing with over 200+ exhibitors. These comprised both local and premier international designers with the exhibitor list spanning Italian furniture design house Natuzzi, along with Minotti, Samovar, Pinetti, Elie Saab and more. The countries exhibiting were too truly varied making it a truly international experience.
Local and new and emerging designers provided visitors with a full spectrum of the developments and movement within the design world, this past year.
The designs featured were cutting-edge, sustainable and contemporary —befitting of the region and a design fair of this caliber and the crowd was eclectic and jet set, comprising students, visitors and professionals belonging to the design community.
The fair was both an Instagrammer’s paradise and sensory overload all the same. Part trade fair and part visual paradise, a great place to familiarize oneself with the latest in design especially sustainable design.
For decorators and interior designers, it was a must-see, and for those just generally inclined towards the art and aesthete in them, too, a must attend.
Spaces to work, eat and mingle were set up within, both by local and international vendors such as The Café by Lighthouse featuring Middle Eastern ingredients including a lounge by Veuve Clicquot, spanning a terrace facing the water.
A fantastic blend of east and west, the fair was open to all.