Dubai Design District: Designed to impress

Dubai Design DistrictMohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, COO, d3

How has Dubai Design District (d3) shaped up?
We have been watching and researching the design industry for around five years to identify the particular areas of growth and pinpoint the opportunities.

Our research shows a compelling commercial case for creating a centre of design in Dubai due to the size, scale and annual growth displayed by the industry during this time.

All the research pointed to the lack of an epicentre of design, a place where all stakeholders can come together and collaborate, share and grow in order to maximise the sector’s potential.

To shape the specific design and facilities of d3, we consulted numerous focus groups and held workshops in order to better understand the design industry and assess the needs of this community.

By understanding gaps in the market and where the industry needs support, we have been able to design a community that caters to the needs of the entire value chain, alongside strategic initiatives that support the growth of the design sector.

What are the main offerings of d3?
Dubai Design District is a destination for commercial offices, international, regional and local brands, events and ultimately tourism, once phase three of the project is ready with hotels and leisure facilities.

Nurturing young and emerging talent is a top priority for d3 and it will provide them with a dedicated creative hub, as well as a home to internationally established brands.

     Dubai Design District - The nerve centre of the creative and intellectual minds

As a free zone, we offer our creative partners the benefits of a licence that provides 100 per cent ownership, tax-free status and the ability to fully repatriate profits and capital.

We are also unique in the UAE as we also offer the option to apply for an on-shore licence to trade. This allows companies to export and import their products and supplies easily through our memorandum of understanding with Dubai Customs.

Emerging designers will be exposed to the full extent of the industry value chain and there will be opportunities to interact, share and engage with key players from the world of fashion, luxury and design.

We want to foster the future growth potential of this industry and emerging local designers are at the heart of this. We are actually aware of our responsibility to nurture and guide emerging talent in this industry. Therefore, since our official launch in June 2013, we have organised a number of educational initiatives, such as panel discussions, international talent exchange and mentorship opportunities.

Alongside the educational initiatives, we have also developed the Creative Community concept, a specific centre for emerging designers that is made up of shared work spaces. This is developed to inspire collaboration, knowledge-sharing and creativity through cross-pollination of disciplines.

Once ready, how will d3 contribute as a creative space in Dubai?
Our vision for d3 is to become an innovative global design hub. This stimulates collaboration through its integrated design, where local talent sits alongside established designers and galleries are interspersed with studios and fashion houses. d3’s shared offices and communal space offer a single home base for designers and design enthusiasts, where they can unite and integrate to achieve their creative vision. 

d3 timeline 

Phase one: Complete
• Eleven buildings, which will house over 10,000 professionals by the end of 2016.
• Comprises 250,000 sq ft of retail space and 1.25 million sq ft of offices, studios, ateliers and showrooms. 

Phase two: The creative community will be online by 2018
• Workspace for 6,500 creatives
• Area: 1 million sq ft 

Phase three: Waterfront creek-side promenade will be ready by 2021
• The 1.8km Creekside will feature hotels, F&B outlets, boutique retail, entertainment facilities and event space.

Source: Ruqya Khan, Special to Property Weekly

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