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'Points in Common' by Studio Iregular. Image Credit:

With a diverse line-up of more than 100 events and activities, Dubai Design Week 2020 marks the first major cultural event in the region since the pandemic as it returns on November 9.

Held under the patronage of Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and member of the Dubai Council, and staged in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), Dubai Design Week 2020 is a special edition reflecting the resilience of the region’s creative community.

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'Deterministic Path' by Iman Ibrahim and Mahmoud Diaa.

Against all odds, the festival presents activities for visitors of all ages to explore including exhibitions, pop-ups and outdoor installations at d3 alongside new virtual elements including online exhibitions and a series of talks.

Responding to the current reality of physical distancing, the festival offers a wide array of outdoor programming at its hub, d3, giving centre stage to local and regional talent.

Celebrating regional creative talent

Dubai Design Week 2020 gives centre stage to cultural and region-focused showcases shedding light on the local community and its creative scene, including the UAE Designer Exhibition presenting works of 20 locally based creatives and the d3 Architecture Festival 2020 featuring regional projects of 40 RIBA-chartered architectural practices alongside multidisciplinary exhibitions and initiatives by international organisations, councils and institutions.

An extensive line-up of 25 outdoor installations will be staged throughout Dubai Design District, including; the Abwab 2020 commission ‘Fata Morgana’, the winning concept for Urban Commissions 2020, supported by A.R.M. Holding, awarded to Emirati and Saudi architects Reema Almheiri and Lujain Alatiq, will be unveiled at The Dubai Design Week Marketplace.

Multidisciplinary Kuwait-based Studio Meshary AlNassar presents a contemporary take on the ancient Persian paradise garden — an antidote for enclosed spaces that he developed in collaboration with Cosentino.

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Pardis by Studio Meshary AlNassar.

Presented by 1971 Design Space and curated by Khulood Thani and Fatma Al Mahmoud, the ‘Fashcultivate’ exhibition celebrates the date palms as an integral part of the region’s cultural and historical identity through 7 commissioned textile pieces by Gulf-based designers. Tashkeel unveils limited-edition pieces inspired by, designed and manufactured in the UAE featuring the 2020 participants of their Tanween design programme; Nada Abu Shakra, Lina Ghalib and Neda Salmanpur.

Showcasing the breadth of talent within d3, a capsule exhibit of solo work and interdisciplinary collaborations, the d3 Edit reflects the diversity that is thriving in the community.

The Dubai Design Week Market Place

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The Dubai Design Week Marketplace.

The Dubai Design Week Marketplace is a new, outdoor, retail initiative and a key component of the largest creative festival in the Middle East. Held in Dubai Design District from November 13-14, more than 60 invited vendors present a curated selection of the best of Dubai’s artisans, creatives, entrepreneurs, small businesses and food scene. The Dubai Design Week Marketplace will also feature a wide range of fun experiences for the whole family.

MENA Graduate Show

Dubai Design Week Grad Show
Dubai Design Week Grad Show Image Credit: Supplied

Leveraging the established Global Grad Show platform, the MENA Grad Show is a world-first exhibition of the best social impact innovation projects from the region, in the fields of technology, science and design. The inaugural edition received over 200 submissions from 35+ universities based in the Middle East and North Africa. A key component of Dubai Design Week’s programme in d3, the exhibition is complemented with a programme that supports young talent in sharing knowledge and experiences to advance their professional careers.

This year, Global Grad Show will be brought to life in an inaugural interactive digital exhibition. The digital exhibition is organised around key trends identified among the 1,600 applications received this year, and 100 projects will be selected to illustrate their nature, complexity and global relevance.

The Makers’ Programme

The Makers’ Programme offers a range of hands-on activities catering to all ages and levels of experience from leather crafting and embroidery to robotics and laser-cutting, giving participants a chance to explore innovative methods, techniques and an array of materials, from thread to wood. At Re: Urban Studio, professionals and academics in the field of design will be able to participate in masterclasses aimed to elevate practical and vocational skills of SMEs, self-employed and aspiring creatives.

A Global Design Culture

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‘Serres Séparées’.

With innovation in focus, the Embassy of Switzerland presents a series of activities including an exhibition titled ‘BYOM (Bring Your Own Mask)’, showcasing a series of 3D-printed works and studies of young Swiss designers rethinking the hygienic mask.

Presented by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, ‘Serres Séparées’, a dining concept inspired by the recent distancing measures and with a focus on the importance of water, energy, and food is staged in a series of glass greenhouses placed in the heart of d3.

Creating connections between the global lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis, an exhibition curated by Cité Internationale du Design in collaboration with Institut Francais in the UAE draws inspiration from life in a small spaces, such as astronauts when they are confined at the International Space Station. A must see for space enthusiasts!

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‘Design is GREAT: From the UK to the UAE’.

Presented by Department for International Trade (UK), ‘Design is GREAT: From the UK to the UAE’ is a celebration of the historic cultural ties between the two nations, lensed through a showcase of a multibrand showcase of British design excellence. Featuring a diverse selection of designers that cover a range of expertise and know-how that has established the UK as a leading design destination, the showcase will present work by acclaimed designers such as Tom Faulkner, David Harber and Julian Chichester, all with an enviable reputation for contemporary design that is inspired by tradition and British artisanal techniques.

Brought to Dubai by the Portuguese Association of Wood and Furniture Industries (AIMMP), ‘The Best of Portugal’ invites visitors into a conceptual Portuguese home to discover the flair and refinement of their contemporary design scene. At the intersection of artisanship and technology, Portuguese creativity draws parallels with the Middle East’s design scene. Associative Design’s selection of brands — ranging from furniture and lighting to home accessories and textiles — mirrors this unique design culture.

Live programming

Continuing to engage with global audiences and create a dialogue among the international design community, Dubai Design Week’s talks programme will consist of a series of virtual talks and panel discussions. Critical discussions will dive into the emerging alternative structures and solutions that designers and creatives can adapt and learn from, to navigate new realities, emerging from globally disruptive events that affected societies, economies and industries.

The Making Space returns with hands-on workshops that cater for all ages and levels of experience, where participants will have the opportunity to develop and enhance practical and creative design skills through making and exploring. This year, the workshops will be conducted exclusively by independent designers, makers and small businesses from the UAE in varying formats, including physical sessions with small gatherings on-site at d3.

For more information visit www.dubaidesignweek.ae. Dubai Design Week takes place November 9-14. Download their app to plan your experience!