Dubai Design Week concludes its fourth edition, celebrating its largest and most extensive programme to date
The region’s largest creative festival welcomed 75,000 visitors into Dubai Design District (d3) from the 12-17 November and saw over 250 events by 130 participating companies, reflecting the city’s position as a regional hub for design and creativity and as a key event in the global cultural calendar.
Illustrated in the growth of content in this year’s Dubai Design Week, the annual festival fosters an environment that supports new ideas and welcomes the brightest minds from across the world, with a vast programme this year including the opening of the city’s first contemporary arts institution, Jameel Arts Centre, and the inaugural Fikra Graphic Design Biennial, a wide-ranging exhibition and curatorial initiative dedicated to graphic design.
His Excellency Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “We are delighted to support Dubai Design Week, the largest creative festival in the Middle East, since its launch in 2015 as we deem it exemplary for encouraging and empowering local and international talents. This was reflected in our commissioning of the Emirati architect and designer, Abdalla Al Mulla, who showcased an inspirational design piece entitled ‘Shak’l’. The event had a positive impact on Dubai’s status and reputation, helping the Emirate become the first Middle Eastern city to be featured on UNESCO’s ‘Creative Cities Network’ list, and contributing to strengthening Dubai’s position as a leading design centre in the region. We are pleased to keep up with the community-based creative programmes of local talents and the presentations made by creators in Dubai to attract an increasing number of visitors, be they art enthusiasts or professionals, and help achieve Dubai Plan 2021 as a city for happy and creative individuals.”
d3’s Chief Executive Officer, Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, says: “It has been another great week here at Dubai Design District and I’m personally delighted with how well Dubai Design Week has been received. The district has again played host to a very high calibre of design installations, activations, talks and workshops which combined to bring some of the best design related content to Dubai. As a Design District, we are really cementing Dubai’s role as a serious global destination for design and supporting the wide array of creativity on an international level. We already look forward to next year”.
Rawan Kashkoush, Creative Director of Dubai Design Week, said: “By recognizing an undeniable hunger for Dubai to be a resource for ideas and change, the 6-day event is a mandatory tool in unveiling existing talent in the UAE and the region, and forging connections with the global community”.
In line with the festival’s focus on sustainability and design for the future, Dubai Design Week 2018 was supported by sustainability partner Bee’ah, whose materials were used in highlight projects and installations, including Abwab and Audi Innovation Hub. Among other partners the Week also had the support of Abanos, Facebook, and Hills Advertising.
This year’s edition of Downtown Design, the leading design fair in the Middle East, attracted 16,000 visitors and presented a wide range of established and emerging exhibitors, comprising 175 brands including 40 regional designers, the fair’s strongest showcase of regional talent to date, and with 65 brands exhibiting at the fair for the first time. The inaugural section of the fair, Downtown Editions, showcased limited-edition and bespoke design from the Middle East and beyond, alongside installations and retail pop-ups.
Held in partnership with Investment Corporation of Dubai, the 2018 edition of Global Grad Show showcased 150 forward-thinking projects from universities across the world, each selected from 1000 submissions, double that of last year, and based on its power to accelerate, change and improve lives. New to this year’s event was the ‘Belief in AI’ conference, looking at creativity in the age of Artificial Intelligence and automation and the Dubai Evolution Challenge, bringing international and UAE design students together to create the next evolution of a Dubai-inspired product or service.
The winning project of Global Grad Show’s annual Progress Prize, ‘Twenty’ is a is a collection of dehydrated household products designed to reduce unnecessary emissions and waste, designed by Mirjam de Bruijn from Design Academy Eindhoven in The Netherlands. The coveted award celebrates the next generation of design talent and recognises the impact that socially and environmentally impactful design can have on the future of humankind.
Audi Innovation Awards 2018
Audi Middle East announced Lebanese designer Elias El Soueidi as the winner of the Audi Innovation Award 2018, responding to this year’s theme ‘Connections’. Selected from 65 submissions from across the Middle East, the winning project ‘Ruin to Reality’ is an app that aims to allow access to virtual 3D models of ruined historical buildings and will receive $25,000 worth of investment in its concept. The first of its kind in the region, the Audi Innovation Award seeks to empower local designers and inspire innovation by challenging creatives to submit entries. The 2019 theme will be announced in January.
Rado Star Prize UAE
Offering the next generation of design talent an opportunity to launch their career onto the international stage, Swiss watch makers Rado announced the first edition of the Rado Star Prize UAE during Dubai Design Week. Young designers will be able to submit their innovative proposals for a chance to be featured at Dubai Design Week 2019, focusing on the idea of design as something enduring, long-lasting and versatile. Finalists will be selected by a jury of design industry professionals and the winner will receive the prize of AED 20,000. Submissions are open until 15 May 2019.
Supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (DCAA) and Dubai Design District (d3), Urban Commissions is an annual Dubai Design Week initiative that presents designers living in the UAE with an opportunity to produce an urban furniture product, unveiled during the Week and installed permanently at d3. The 2018 winning project ‘Fayyd’, which means overflow in Arabic, by Khalid Al-Tamimi, responded to the task of creating a water feature in order for city dwellers to maintain a connection to nature. Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2019, Urban Commissions 5.0 will pay homage to the Deira Clocktower, one of the first monuments of the city of Dubai, with the theme ‘Telling Time’.
Part of Dubai Design District (d3)’s ‘Design for Good’ initiative, the winning project of Design 100, “The Reading Bench” by Sakina Kara-Sabur and Alicia Spoljar, was unveiled and on display within Downtown Editions, the inaugural fair section of Downtown Design. 100 pieces of the winning design have been produced and were available for purchase. All proceeds go to Dubai Cares.