Design Week offers a glimpse into the future of Dubai

Here are the some of the most intriguing exhibits and installations at the mega creative festival

KT file photo/Shihab
KT file photo/Shihab

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 8 Nov 2021, 8:01 PM

From vintage prints to 3D-printed furniture and a table crafted from a 200-year-old tree, the latest edition of the Dubai Design Week is showcasing the best of the region’s creative offerings.

With 260 free-to-attend events and activities, the region’s biggest creative festival opened on Monday, November 8. A majority of the events will take place at Dubai Design District (D3), the main hub for Design Week until November 13.

Organisers have said over 430 UAE-based designers and 560 companies are participating in this year’s edition. The event is being held under the patronage of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

“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 fun, thought-provoking, and accessible way,” Sheikha Latifa said.

“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,” she added.

What’s new at Dubai Design Week?

KT file photo/Shihab
KT file photo/Shihab

This year, more than 150 international and regional brands and designers are exhibiting at the design week from over 20 countries. The fair hosts five national collective showcases from Austria, France, Hungary, Italy and Spain.

Khaleej Times toured the exhibition on the opening day and here are some of the most inspiring installations and exhibits at the design mega event.

Emirati designers take centrestage

With participation from 430 UAE-based designers, the works of Emirati designers have taken centrestage at Design Week. Moreover, 560 companies are participating in a range of activities, from engaging exhibitions, pop-ups and installations to talks, masterclasses and hands-on workshops.

Providing a platform for emerging creatives, the UAE Designer Exhibition 2.0 presents over 30 emerging talents including Omar Al Gurg and Farah Ahmed’s versatile furniture pieces, to textile design from Shaikha AlTeneiji and Haneen Chaarawi.

Fatma AlMahmoud, a guest curator with the Meet the UAE Creatives talks, a traditional format majlis, told Khaleej Times, “As part of the creative talks, we’re having talks about how UAE is moving towards applying sustainable design and innovation. We also have a talk on creating graphic design content that is relevant to us rather than getting inspired by other cultures.”

She said the UAE creative economy in the country is increasingly featuring the voices and works of Emirati artists and creatives in a manner that is becoming mainstay.

Here is how Dubai will look 20-years from now

Wonder how the UAE would look 20 years from now? The ‘2040: d3 Architecture Exhibition’ is d3’s response to the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, which was launched in March this year by Dubai leaders.

A collective of d3 and UAE-based five architectural firms have provided ideas on how goals of the 2040 Urban Master Plan can be achieved. Khadija AlBastaki, the executive director of Dubai Design District, said, “Establishing dialogues on the future of sustainable cities has never been more important. The exhibition shows how they are rethinking the building of the past and envisaging the sustainable future of our city.”

Sawsan Beyrac, the CEO and architect of Beyrac architects, one of the participating architectural firms, said, “We worked up on the accessibility and mobility portion of the exhibition. Here, we encourage people to use public transportation.”

“Twenty years from now, we have planned to extend the pleasure of people by repurposing parts of the cities to fit infrastructure for public transport and bicycles. We’ve designed blueprints for sky gardens on Sheikh Zayed Road for example. These gardens can serve pedestrians as a place for meetings and entertainment, and cut carbon emissions,” she added.

Global and MENA Grad Show

Showcasing social impact innovation projects in the fields of science, design, technology and architecture by students from universities in the region, the Grad Show returns for 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 superfood at home, an app to organise the routine of dementia patients and magnetic skin to allow people with quadriplegia to control their surroundings,” said Tadeu Baldani, the director of the Global Grad Show.

MENA Grad Show is part of Global Grad Show, a platform supporting social impact innovators in universities across the world. The Global Grad Show also unveiled 150 projects for its seventh edition through a digital exhibition. “The event highlights the need for academic innovation to solve global problems,” said Baldani.

Check out zero-waste garments with inc5

Supplied photo
Supplied photo
Supplied photo
Supplied photo
Supplied photo
Supplied photo

In collaboration with its partners, in5 Design, a business incubator, will also be hosting a series of workshops during Dubai Design Week. Sustainability is also featured in the workshops, especially through sessions covering zero-waste design for garments as well as the sourcing of sustainable fabrics. “These workshops not only provide participants with valuable insights into a range of design technology subjects but also offer a platform for our partners to showcase their solutions to a wider audience,” said Majed Al Suwaidi, managing director of Dubai Media City.

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