In mid-November one of our new team members had the opportunity to visit the new cultural and creative hub, Dubai Design District (d3) and its showcase event of the year, Dubai Design Week. Now in its third edition, the event brings together over 500 designers and 60,000 attendees from around the world and is an opportunity for the participants to display some of the most unique and intriguing design pieces currently on offer.

The district has been designed to cater to the emerging creative start-ups in the region, as well as the international luxury and fashion brands. The first phase was finished in 2015 and includes 11 office buildings that share common open space. It is in this space that Dubai Design Week has positioned itself, surrounded by the creative minds of the city.

Abwab, the centre piece, is an initiative to showcase MENASA designers, studios and curators. Translated as “doors” in Arabic, the pavilion was designed by UAE based Fahed + Architects and uses repurposed bedsprings to create a copper cloud like structure that appears to float, creating a striking difference against the clean glass and steel lines of the buildings neighbouring it.

Abwab Exterior

The Global Grad Show also made a return this year, allowing students from the best design universities around the world to showcase their work. This is the largest student gathering for design in the world, which is understandable when we see that 43 nations are represented and 200 projects displayed. It was summarised as “The grad show to end all gradshows, featuring the cream of the crop from all over the globe”.

Alongside the up and comers, there is also the opportunity to visit some of the offerings that the big design brands have to offer. Audi, RADO, Swarovski and IKEA all came to show what they can bring to the table in terms of contemporary design. The week seemed to be a success for those involved and the feedback from the organisers was very positive. As d3 continues to expand its space over the next few years I’m sure that we will see the Dubai Design Week continue to come up with new and exciting concepts to fill it with.

Ikea Exhibition – Lets Play to Change

By Sam Ward