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Your ultimate guide to Dubai Design Week 2017

The international design event is back in Dubai this week, and we have all the details on what to do

Image Credit: Supplied

Event information:

What is Dubai Design Week?

Dubai Design Week is an international design events, conceived to shine a spotlight on Dubai as a leading design hub, and share the UAE’s thriving design scene with the world at large. Dubai design week is an event that includes both regional and international participants and encompasses public and private spheres, culture, education and entertainment, and spans multiple disciplines, ranging from graphic and product design to architecture and industrial design.

Dubai Design Week will include smaller events such as panels, keynote speeches, panel discussions, public performances and educational workshops that will all together contribute to the greater discussion of what design means for the region and the world.

The free-to-attend programme will serve as a rich introduction to the design scene in the UAE, and build on the many events and exhibitions happening throughout the week and beyond.

Dubai Design Week

When it is?

Dubai Design Week will take place from November 13 to November 18 2017

Where it is?

Dubai Design Week’s events will take place in landmark locations across Dubai, a series of 15 public, site-specific installations by renowned international, regional and local designers will unite and transform the city throughout Dubai Design Week’s six days.

The daily programme of talks and workshops will be held at d3

Entrance fees

 No entrance fees


Car Parking is available inside and around d3, Al Serkal Avenue and the other various destinations where events will take place.

Dubai Design Week

Noteworthy Events:

Global Grad Show

Image may contain: night

Dubai Design Week’s unique showcase of new design: with more than 200 projects from around the world, Global Grad Show provides an un-paralleled view of important and ground-breaking projects, providing a first glimpse of technologies and ideas that will shape our future. Curated by renowned author and designer Brendan McGetrick, the selected entries emphasise four categories: innovation that transcends technology and exists independent of wealth; equality without hierarchy among universities, regions and designers; universal design open to all types of projects; and impact on the world at large through solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.


This year’s iteration of this regional design showcase will be housed in an extraordinary structure. Designed by Dubai-based multidisciplinary architectural firm Fahed + Architects, the pavilion is constructed from bedsprings sourced from the Sharjah-based waste management company bee’ah. Strong, but light in character, this mound of bedsprings will be supported by a series of interconnected posts to form a cloud of mesh. Set against a large mass of buildings within the d3 corridors, the structure’s silhouette will be reminiscent of impetuous ocean waves, coral clusters in a reef and clouds in the sky, referencing the practice’s environmental commitment. Containing more than 40 design pieces from 15 countries, this exhibition is a must-see to experience the best of the regions’ growing design talent across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

Iconic City

From archival postcards, to a contemporary sound installation and graphic design tracks down the creative heartbeat of Casablanca. The third edition of Iconic City provides a poetic journey into the design scene within the North African City, influenced by the past yet very much a contemporary snapshot. Following the country’s independence in 1956, the city saw an inverse polarity in which the centre lost its status both as the historic heart of the city and its decisional power. Displacement became the means for Casablanca to reinvent itself and draw resilience. Curated by Salma Lahlou with research assistance by Omar Mrani.

Royal College of Art: 50 years of graphic design

With a retrospective look at the growth and development of graphic design over five decades, the Royal College of Art (RCA) brings its showcase of work from graduates that shines a bright light on the advancement in the field over the past 50 years of graphics at the world’s leading graduate design college. This year, Dubai Design Week provides a wealth of experiences and opportunities; not least access to world-class designers and ideas. This is best brought home by the series of six RCA courses that are being staged on interior, product and information design. The subjects of the courses, the quality of the teaching and insight is exceptional.

Super Design Market

Running for the first time this Dubai Design Week, the Super Design Market will allow visitors to purchase leading design products from companies with limited retail presence in Dubai. Offering high-quality retail experience featuring a carefully blended range of brands, the market will also feature limited-edition collections by regional designers. D3-based designer Pallavi Dean debuts a collection of sketchbooks aimed at those who are digital doers, but analogue thinkers. The pad comes with a mesh bag at the back to carry the tools of the trade: pencil, rubber, business cards and maybe even a phone.

Everything We Touch

Paula Zuccotti is an acclaimed design expert, artist, future archaeologist and photographic novelist who views brands, products, and services through the lens of trends, ethnography, research, strategy, design and art. Staged for Dubai Design Week, Everything We Touch is a beautifully simple but highly insightful exhibition. Zucotti, explores different cultures using everyday artefacts as storytellers; the exhibition will see a cast of characters from across Dubai reveal the objects they use and treasure in a normal day. This unique showcase explores where design really matters — the connection between designed objects and their user.

Audi Innovation Award

Audi announces the second winner of the Audi Innovation Award during Dubai Design Week 2017. As a driver for innovation and ideas across the Middle East and Levant. Responding to the theme of Autonomy, the top three will be showcased within the Audi Lounge at d3 during Dubai Design Week


Prologue is a monumental, free-standing sculpture weighing 1.2 tonnes and holding more than 8,000 amber-coloured Swarovski crystal droplets within its 4 metre-diameter, patinated steel frame. The luminous ring mimics the golden sun and its endless circle represents new beginnings, life and rebirth. Designed by Fredrikson Stallard — Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard began working together in 1995 and are recognised today as leading exponents of avant-garde design — it explore ways of playing with contrasts. A simple, round shape and the shimmering luminosity of precisely cut crystal creates a monumental lens that belies its small, individual parts.

While We Wait

After a resounding success at Abwab last year, Palestinian-duo Elias and Yousuf Anastas return to Dubai Design Week showcasing While We Wait. A partnership with the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, this meditative structure will appear at Concrete, Alserkal Avenue. The installation is comprised of pieces of stone quarried in various regions of Palestine, which fit together to form a large, lattice-like, self-supporting structure. The changing colour of the stones represent the different Palestinian regions that contribute to the installation; in addition to offering a meditative space, the work becomes a commentary on the country’s landscape, a lot of which stands drastically altered due to the ongoing strife.

People to Watch

Michael Rice is one of the busiest designers at Dubai Design Week. Showcasing an exhibition, as well as hosting a series of workshops, he’ll be presenting a traditional Balinese method of firing techniques and process of the Raku kiln. Visitors can browse the exhibition, as well as get hands-on at the workshops.

Born and raised in the UAE, Omar Nakkash completed his Bachelor’s in Design and Management from Parsons, the New School for Design in New York, and then moved to Milan to complete his graduate studies in Interior Design from Scuola Politecnica de Design. This year he explores outdoor living through a nautical experience. Through an installation featuring sailing boats, The Dock offers panoramic water views at Dubai Design District, becoming an ideal backdrop for the design lovers to discover Nakkash Gallery’s latest collection of iconic new works and ocean-inspired furniture.

Emirati designer Khalid Shafar and Czech lighting superpower Lasvit unveil a programmable dynamic lighting sculpture. Silent Call has been two years in the making; the chandelier features the silhouettes of the domes of five iconic mosques in five countries — Russia, Malaysia, Germany, UAE, and Denmark. Each dome is resized in five different sizes, and reversed for functionality and composition.

A kinetic light installation moves five times a day to adapt to each country’s time zone, synchronising with the times of the five calls to prayer. Shafar also presents, along with other co-founders, the third edition of DRAK — Design Ras Al Khor. For 2017, this creative activation project explores the theme ‘Industry to Luxury’.

Other exhibitions around town:

Studios, boutiques and unique spaces are adding to the week’s design frenzy, with special events and activities across the city, from workshops and talks to exhibitions and installations- the city comes alive with design during the week of November 13 to November 18. Check out some of the events to look forward to here



The Innovation Factory – Inventor Elmar Mock

Presented by the Embassy of Switzerland in the UAE
17 November; 4pm – 5pm
DXBDW Mainstage – Building 4, Dubai Design District (d3)

Presented by the Embassy of Switzerland in the UAE: a talk by the Swiss Swatchmaker, Elmar Mock, founder of Creaholic explains how to become a serial innovator. A professional inventor and entrepreneur with 40 years of international experience.

The Ripe Design Market

Ripe Market
17-18 November; 10am - 7pm
Dubai Design District (d3)

The Ripe Design Market brings the region’s finest local start-ups, small businesses comprising of designers, trend-setters, taste-makers and culinary artisans together to the premises of Dubai Design District (d3) to showcase their work. Discover and experience the best of the city’s creativity whilst shopping and savoring foodie treats! Pick up fresh, local organic goodness from the Ripe Organic Stand and enjoy the market’s entertainment from local artists, activations, pop-up shops and workshops for children, presented by the makers and designers themselves.

Portraits of Design By Rado

13 - 18 November; 10am - 9pm
Ground Floor, Building 7, Dubai Design District (d3)

The award-winning watchmaker is proud to be a part of Dubai Design Week and invites you to discover the latest collections at their “Portraits of Design” exhibition. The star of the exhibition is this year’s Rado True designers’ collection: an exclusive series of limited edition timepieces created in collaboration with renowned designers from around the world.  The collection includes the glittery True Blaze, whose dial mimics the structure of diamond powder, and the True Shadow, which changes colour based on the presence or absence of UV light.

LWD: Ladies, Dine & Design Dubai

15 Wednesday, 8:30PM
Molecule in Dubai Design District

Ladies, Dine & Design Dubai is a chapter of LWD, one of 100 across the world, founded by Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh in New York. They host monthly salon nights in order to encourage female creatives through mentorship and championing each other’s work. Through their interactive discussions on design, business and life they hope to build a strong network of creative women. Guest speaker Zeinab Alhashemi, followed by live music by resident artist Clarita for an evening of casual conversation and networking.

Audi Lounge

14-17 November | 10am – 10pm
18 November | 10am – 7pm
Ground Floor, Building 5, Dubai Design District (d3)

At Dubai Design Week 2017, Audi is showing the original prototype of their own autonomous car for the first time in the Middle East. With this car Audi proved its leadership in the field with a demonstration drive on the Hockenheimring race track. In the 2014 season finale of the German Touring Car Masters (DTM), this Audi RS 7 autonomous driving concept completed a lap at race speed with no driver at the steering wheel. Its developers called it “Bobby” – a thank-you to Robert William “Bobby” Unser, who won the mountain race up Pikes Peak in an Audi Sport quattro in 1986

Arabic Type Workshop

Please contact Sharabassy for dates and times
Office 601B, Building 1, Dubai Design District (d3)

Learn how to create, design, use different materials and objects, sketches and your own eye-catching photographs to create a unique Arabic type. Open to all levels of experience. Digital SLR cameras or current IOS/Android phones with high-quality cameras recommended.

Mystery Of Diamonds


18 November; 4pm - 6pm
Office 402, Building 8, Dubai Design District (d3)

In association with IGI (International Gemological Institute), 55FIFTY7 will host two educational seminars aimed at young jewellery enthusiasts from the age of 7. Each seminar has up to 12 places.

Future Designers, Sass Brown And Hani Asfour – Didi

18 November; 4pm – 5pm
DXBDW Mainstage – Building 4, Dubai Design District (d3)

Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, Founding Dean, Sass Brown and Associate Dean, Hani Asfour take Dubai Design Week’s Mainstage to discuss the diverse world of careers in design for aspiring students and their parents. With the region requiring 30,000 new design graduates by 2019, aspiring design professionals can learn about how best to prepare for careers of the future at DIDI.

Urban Sketching With Shanqoo: Exhibition and Sketching Session With Urban Sketchers Dubai

Workshop: 17 November | 3pm - 5pm
Exhibition: 15 – 17 November | 10am – 10pm, 18 November | 10am – 7pm 
Making Space, Building 7 - Dubai Design District (D3)

Join us for an Urban Sketching workshop in the heart of d3 on 17 November. It is aimed at introducing and fostering the spirit of Urban Sketching for enthusiasts and beginners in Dubai.

We will also be showcasing an exhibition of our members work with live sketching demonstrations throughout the week.


Super Studio
13 - 18 November; 10am - 9pm
Outside Buidling 5, Dubai Design District (d3)

Super Studio presents Konstantin Grcic’s Jungle_One installation, shipped over from Magis’ headquarters in Italy to re-launch the designer’s iconic Chair_One in the Middle East. This iconic stacking chair is made from polished, painted or anodised aluminium and comes with an optional cushion. It is a fantastic example of Grcic’s pared-down, minimalist style.

Design your Tile

13 - 25 November | 9am - 6pm
Office 101B, Building 5, Dubai Design District (d3)

In this exhibition, porcelain stoneware will be used as a blank canvas for inspiration and new expressions of design, by demonstrating the unique vision of architects and interior designers in a brand new way. Presented with just a simple black marker, a large slab of porcelain stoneware by Mirage and their own creativity, they have to create something innovative.

Mirage will also host a drinks reception for the design community from 7pm-11pm on the evening of Wednesday 15th November at its offices.

Live Emotions - Storytelling In Interior Design

360° decoro
13 - 14 November; 6.30pm - 7.30pm
RE:Urban Studio, Office 170B, Building 7, Dubai Design District (d3)

Storytelling is the most effective way to merge meaning and emotions. A personal story enables authenticity, creates interest and facilitates memories. 360° decoro will show how stories can be implemented in architecture and interior design by using strong images, powerful messages and bespoke graphics. In the workshop, you will explore how to create a story concept and how to finalise it with the right choice of sustainable and cost-effective materials.

Weltformat Dxb

13 - 18 November | 10am - 8pm
Ground Floor, Building 5, Dubai Design District (d3) and Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba 1

Weltformat DXB is a collaboration between Tashkeel, Welformat (a collective of graphic designers from Lucerne), Cairo-based designer Engy Aly and Mobius Design Studio’s Design House, with the support of Pro-Helvetia. It will be supported by four poster design workshops, three public talks and a publication.

There will be an exhibition of posters created in response to the theme of Delusions and Errors by a diverse group of designers from the MENA region. It attempts to explore notions of embracing seemingly imperfect processes, malfunctions, or the unpredictability of different methodologies of working.

Everything We Touch

Designed by Paula Zuccotti
13 - 18 November; 10am - 9pm
Ground Floor, Building 6, Dubai Design District

Paula Zuccotti is an acclaimed design expert, artist, future archeologist and photographic novelist. Paula’s exhibition ‘Every Thing We Touch - Dubai Design Week’ will explore the cultures that make up Dubai, using everyday artifacts as the storytellers, and examining the similarities and differences of these objects. Many things we know about past civilizations are gleaned from the insights gathered through their objects.  Paula’s art of future archeology reflects on the customs, traditions and behaviours of the different people and cultures of Dubai through the physical footprint of the objects they interact with in a day.

3D Printing & 3D Scanning Workshop

Sharabassy Built Environment Studio
13 – 18 November; contact for details
Office 601B, Building 1, Dubai Design District (d3)

Explore the disciplines of 3D printing and 3D scanning, and learn how to transform real life objects into 3D models by using simple tools. The workshops are divided into two main parts. The first part is developed in partnership with the Institute of Advanced Architecture in Catalonia and the second consists of workshops that allow kids to get messy, have fun, discover their talents and learn how to be entrepreneurs.



Service Design: The Next Wave Of Evolution For Dubai

14 November; 11am - 12pm
Hamdan Innovation Centre, Office 501, Business Village, Block B, Deira

The most forward-thinking companies are turning to Service Design to provide the catalyst required to initiate change within their organizations. Better services create happiness, so it’s critical that they are designed well. It’s not just what a service does, it’s how a service makes people feel that counts and because of this, organizations are now obliged to do more for their customers and for society than ever before. 

This talk hosted by Dubai Managing Director, James Samperi will focus on bringing to life the principles and practice of Service Design through Engine’s work with its clients. It will show how to progress from a compelling service vision for a business, its employees and its customers to designing compelling multi-channel services more quickly and holistically. 



Design Of Emotion: Robotics & The New Humanoid Paradigm

13 - 30 November | 11am - 7pm
Unit 69, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been with us for almost a century. More recently we are seeing an expansion of the humanoid robot, and Japanese design teams are at the forefront of this revolution. 

Dr. Nikolaos Mavridis, Director of ‘Interactive Robots and Media Laboratory’ (IRML), and creator of the first Arabic language dialogic robot ‘Ibn Sina,’ will give visitors a creative, interactive insight into the uncanny and surreal world of designed robotic futures and new human paradigms. Design of Emotion will also conduct collaborative and interactive research through visitor participation and a series of conversations.

Chocolate Makers Tours

13 November – 13 December; Tour for children: 10.30 and 12.30am; Adults: 3pm and 5pm

Mirzam creates chocolate with just three ingredients: cocoa beans, unrefined cane sugar and a small amount of cocoa butter. The production process has been designed to be transparent, so visitors to the chocolate factory can experience every aspect of chocolate making, from roasting cocoa beans to hand wrapping each bar. Daily tours for children at 10.30 and 12.30am - and for adults, 3pm and 5pm.

Advance booking required at

Digital Fabrication X VR

16 November | 6pm - 9pm
Unit 25, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1

Thanks to the technology of virtual reality, we can simulate any environment and any material in the palm of our hands. It also gives us the ability to create and design any architectural element, product or artwork. Techarc will be conducting an intimate workshop for 10-12 attendees with a design background who need guidance on how best to experiment and enhance their skills set using virtual reality.

DIY Concrete Design

17 - 18 November 2017 | 3pm -5pm
thejamjar, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1

A unique Design Making session with Concrete.You will have the opportunity to learn how to work with this distinctive and unusual material and do your own objects in a two sessions workshop, starting Friday to create your design, your mold and pour your mix, you will come back the following Saturday to polish your work, paint and finalize to (proudly) bring home your very own modern industrial vase (or pot, or candlelight, or cup, or lamp, or pen holder, or bowl,….) the limit is your mind! 



Rediscovering Manuscripts by Engy Aly

Weltformat & Tashkeel
16 - 17 November; 10.30am – 4.30pm
Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba 1

A look at commonly used elements in medieval manuscripts like detailed ornaments, gold leaf and precious stones, how they produced emotions of wonder and awe, and how to generate similar emotional responses using experimental and contemporary tools and visuals.

Riso Gig Posters by Sarah Alfarhan

Weltformat & Tashkeel
16 November; 3pm – 6pm
Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba 1

Participants will be introduced to Tashkeel's Riso ME 9350 Printer to create an edition of 30 bilingual, A3 gig posters in Arabic and English to promote a selection of musicians. This digital, eco-friendly printer uses soy oil based ink.

State Of Earth: The Opening Exhibit

AR Gallery
15 - 18 November; 11am - 9pm
AR Gallery, Ground Floor, Building 6, Dubai Design District (d3)

For its inaugural exhibit, AR Gallery explores the impact of climate change to instigate thought, conversation and implementation.  Curated by Dubai based design journalist and Consulting Editor, Pratyush Sarup, State Of Earth will feature new works by the artist and designer Cecilia Setterdahl; the fine jewellery designer and founder of Bil Arabi, Nadine Kanso; and Tashkeel, the leading Dubai-based contemporary art organization dedicated to creative experimentation across art and design.



Vase D'avril

Comptoir 102
13 - 18 November; 8.30am - 9pm
102, Beach Road, Jumeirah 1

Twenty-five years ago, friends Catherine Levy and Sigolène Prébois launched the iconic April Vase by Tsé & Tsé. To celebrate this anniversary, thirty designers have exhibited their versions and interpretations of the Vase d’Avril at famous concept stores across the world including Merci in Paris, H.P. DECO in Tokyo and Please Do Not Enter in Los Angeles.    

Architectural Portraits Of Dubai By Tolasse

13 November – 11 December | 10am - 8pm
The Workshop, 23B Street, Villa 45, Jumeirah 2

An exhibition of eight architectural icons in Dubai which have been digitally recreated and interpreted by Tolasse using a mixture of photography, architectural lines and layers of dynamic, graphic coating. Curated by Fann à Porter @ The Workshop, the pieces are contemporary, fresh and appetizing to the discerning eye.



Typeunite Dubai 2017

American University in the Emirates
13 November - 13 December; 10am – 5pm
AUE, International Academic City, Block 7

TYPEUNITE Dubai 2017 is an International Typographic Poster Design Exhibition organized by College of Design at the American University in the Emirates (AUE) and TYPEUNITE, an International Alliance of Design Professors for contribution to typography education and practice. The exhibition aims to bring together students’ works from ten countries: UAE, Turkey, USA, South Korea, Indonesia, Ecuador, Denmark, Poland, China and Switzerland.

Art, Objects & Material Culture By Magdalene Odundo Obe

American University in Dubai
16 November; 6pm
Rotunda Gallery, American University in Dubai, SZR

Talk presented by international ceramic artist Professor Magdalene Odundo, OBE, known for her distinct handmade, anthropomorphic, vessel forms. Odundo was born in Kenya and is Professor Emerita of Ceramics at the University for the Creative Arts in the UK, a trustee of the National Society for Education Art and Design (NSEAD), and sits on the British Council Art Advisory Panel. Recently she as announced as the next Chancellor of the University of the Creative arts UCA.

Emerging Green Designers Workshop

College of Architecture, Art & Design, American University of Sharjah
17 November; 10am - 6pm
American University of Sharjah

Professor Camilo Cerro, Daniel Chavez and Juan Roldan lead a workshop designed to foster awareness around sustainability. Using the facilities and tools of the Fab-Lab of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, participants will create a designed object by using and reshaping only recycled materials including scrap wood and plywood. The final prototype of furniture piece will be completed during the allotted time of the workshop. The final pieces will be exhibited and documented at the end of the workshop.

Smoke & Dirt

By Michael Rice at American University in Dubai
16 - 30 November; 9am - 9pm
Rotunda Gallery, AUD, SZR

Professor Michael Rice exhibits a new body of work following his recent residency and research in Bali, focusing on Raku, Naked Raku and Saggar firing. The finishes are straightforward yet complex, this creates a dialectic that transcends simple visual appearance.


Architectural Tour Through Bastakiya With Andre C. Meyerhans

Alserkal Cultural Foundation
18 November; 3pm – 4pm
Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, Heritage House No.13

Designer and architect Andre C. Meyerhans explores the history and house typologies of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, and explains the value of historic districts and how to best keep them alive.

Umm Suqeim 2

Design In Bloom

o’de rose
13 - 18 November; 10am – 8pm
999 Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 2

An exhibition celebrating the work of designers Tamara Barrage and Meherunnisa Asad who have transformed flowers into design pieces.


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Event Map

Dubai Design Week Event Map