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Anyone who has visited the Dubai Design District (d3) while it hosted the Dubai Design Week last month could well be forgiven for thinking they had walked into a trendy arts exhibition in London’s Bankside, or a cool warehouse showcase in Italy. Owned by the Art Dubai Group in partnership with d3, and under the patronage of Shaikha Latifa Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, the event was also supported by the Dubai Design and Fashion Council.
Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief Operating Officer of d3, spoke to PW about how the event is placed on the global design scene.
“We started Design Days back in 2012, and in the next few years we will catch up with the big design cities,” he says. “If you talk about creative talent and creative minds, I believe the region has a lot to offer, we just need to showcase them and to make sure designers have the right platform to celebrate their skills.”
The six-day public programme offered the best creations from the Middle East and also welcomed 90 brands from 25 countries. It presented a selection of original designs spanning the worlds of furniture, lighting, bathrooms, kitchens, textiles and accessories.
Even though d3 was the centrepiece for Dubai Design Week, there were more than 100 events and installations hosted across the city involving a diverse cast of designers, studios, artists, architects, educational and cultural institutions, retail stores, iconic brands, authors and thinkers.
“The idea was to draw the public into the event and get everyone excited about it,” explains Al Shehhi. “When we visited London, we saw that the whole city celebrates design and that is the aim for us. It is not only d3 that should be celebrating designers and their talents, everyone should.” On the installation side, highlights included UAE-based Syrian architects Bahar Al Bahar and Sawsan Al Bahar, who took an unusual look at muqarnas — the three-dimensional decoration traditionally found covering the undersides of vaults and arches — with their work LUZ.
Iraq-born architect Ali Al Sammarraie used his installation Detritus Wall to challenge how we see discarded waste by transforming it into installations that provide sound and visual barriers. Brazil’s Henrique Stabile invited visitors to build and rebuild their own furniture solutions in his Deconstruction Zone, serving as a space for community interaction, cultural exchange and seeing humanity behind design.
Meanwhile, the first in the annual celebration of international cities of note, Brilliant Beirut, curated and designed by Beirut-born designer Rana Salam, explored the impact of the city’s ever-changing urban and social landscape on creative expression. It also introduced the Global Grad Show, which brought the top ten designs from the top ten design schools from countries such as the US and China to motivate local design students.
“This is an amazing opportunity for students here to be inspired and see where their peers are heading,” said Al Shehhi. “This is a really great thing for the next generation and I see this being even better next year.”
Haven't been to Dubai Design District yet? Better check it out now.
Source: Emma Procter, Special to Property Weekly