Dubai Design Week reveals expansion, growth plans

Dubai Design Week reveals expansion, growth plans

Dubai Design Week reveals expansion, growth plans

By Mariam Nihal
Saudi Gazette

Another successful round of Dubai’s Design Week featured around 150 events at d3 Design District and welcomed over 100 exhibiting brands from 30 countries.

Dubai Design District (d3) is a testimony to Dubai’s vision to become the regional hub and leader for design, and is on the way to establish itself as a global design center. 90% of economic growth in the design industry is expected from architecture, interiors and fashion. According to MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Design Outlook report commissioned by Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) last year, the design market in the UAE is expected to rise to an estimated $35.9 billion in 2019. 

“We are extremely proud that Santiago Calatrava, Zaha Hadid architects, foster + partners and Benoy have chosen to make d3 their new home,’ said Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief Operating Officer of d3. “d3 is fully committed to supporting the development of the region’s design industry and the architecture market is a key component of this. We currently have over 30 architectural practices located at d3 but we are dedicated to ensuring that each and every brand that joins us — ranging from small design start-ups to iconic global brands — is part of a fully-fledged creative community that sits at the heart of our architectural design scene,” he added.

A splendid round of the Global Grad Show featured the largest exhibition of innovative mechanisms from leading international design schools. Young innovators won the crowd over with their unique innovations and unconventional concepts. 

Launched in 2015 as a part of Dubai Design Week, the 2016 Global Grad Show was composed of 145 projects from 50 leading universities, selected by curator Brendan McGetrick. One of them was Saudi’s KAUST presented SADEEM Wireless Sensing System at the exhibition. Saudi Gazette caught up with the presenter Mustafa O. Mousa, who said the project has garnered great interest and is essential in the Kingdom to help its flood and traffic sensing system.

International press witnessed new announcements, collaborations and exhibitions including the six Abwab pavilions showcasing the works of designers, studios and curators from six different countries in the MENASA region mainly Algeria, India, Iraq, Bahrain, Palestine and the UAE. 

One of the major announcements included the creation of a new university DIDI (Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation). The first school of its kind in the region, with collaborations from esteemed American universities: MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and New York’s Parson School of Design. 

Like many other things, UAE has aligned itself with the future needs of the region, including all aspects of education and growth. The one of a kind institute will not only create opportunities for locals and those in the region but also help develop future pioneers for the region. The 100,000 square feet campus is set to be a private, non-profit institution located in the heart of the D3 Dubai Design District. The project will cost around AED 270 million and admissions for students are planned to begin in 2018.

 The design school will offer a bachelor of design, with a focus on product design, strategic design management, visual arts, media and fashion design, bringing students and faculty together in a dynamic environment. 

The Royal College of Art (RCA), voted as the world’s leading art and design university, hosted design workshops during Dubai Design Week. Tailored to inspire design enthusiasts, the workshops covered a range of design disciplines: curatorial approaches to design, challenges of interior design pop-ups and techniques of industrial design.

“Our mission to create a design hub for the Middle East here in the Emirates shows great potential; and with Downtown Design and the return of Dubai Design Week, we are contributing to raising the profile of our city’s design output, both for brands and buyers.

One way is to balance the established and iconic brands with new ‘discovery’ brands that allow visitors to engage with innovative new products they won’t find on their annual trip to Milan,” Rue Kothari, Downtown Design’s fair director said.