As the Middle East’s leading creative festival, Dubai Design Week has a reputation to uphold. And it does so for the fourth edition, delivering content that engages not only the UAE but the wider region.

Echoing the UAE’s inclusive spirit, this year’s presentation, from tomorrow until Saturday, will feature some of the most brilliant minds in design from around the world as they pull the region into a creative dialogue — one that will offer new insights, challenge perceptions, inspire the community and firmly underscore Dubai’s repute as a design capital to be reckoned with.


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This year, Abwab brings five communities from the Middle East together to wield the instrument of storytelling. This annual iteration of the regions design activity and talent will bring five pavilions from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait City together to produce collaborative work that plays in between the lines of the physical, metaphorical, territorial, topographical or simply the lines of drawing or text.

Nestled in the heart of the Dubai Design District, the hub of Dubai Design Week, the Abwab 2018 pavilions are designed by UAE-based architects Architecture+Other Things, and are composed of natural and recyclable synthetic materials such as twigs sourced from the Sharjah-based waste management company Bee’ah. The five pavilions will explore the story of its respective countries and is a must-see exhibit of the growing design talent in the region.

Global Grad Show

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A showcase of the future, Global Grad Show presents 150 inventions that will shape the generations to come. Design graduates from around the globe present their ground-breaking projects and passionate ideas that follow the pathway to answering the most pressing issues of the world.

Encompassing 61 nationalities from 100 universities, the selected entries follow three main categories that transcend technology and work to solve human issues; empowerment, connection and sustainability. The show brings together not only physical but virtual solutions, high-tech to complex yet conceptually simple and impactful works. From a pen that identifies cancer cells to low-cost synthetic prosthetics that empower the disabled, or affordable ways to combat climate change, the Global Grad show brings together projects that positively impact the world.

Alongside the exhibition, Global Grad Show will host ‘Belief in Al’, the inaugural Innovation Conference. Curated by Ben Vickers and Kenric McDowell, the conference will examine how the underlying beliefs of a person, nation, company or religion will shape and influence the development of a technology.

Talks and workshops

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An extensive programme of talks and workshops run through the six days of the festival, bringing professionals in the industry to share their diverse knowledge with the audience and inspire design in the city.

The three main talk programmes within the festival take place:

On the main stage: where designers and creatives from the region and internationally come together to share their insights and knowledge of industries that span the creative spectrum. The main stage will be home to the keynote presentations, panel discussions and conferences-including the. These include talks by international innovator Daan Roosegaarde, globally renowned Italian designer Paola Navone and Arab satirist Karl Sharro.

The Audi Innovation Hub — a space dedicated to the solutions and advances in design through innovative problem-solving, will present daily conversations with various experts inviting audiences to engage in the discussion of technology and innovation in an intimate setting. This year’s speakers include Audi’s own automobile lighting designer Konrad Troeger and Riyad Joucka founder of MEAN* (Middle East Architecture Network).


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Bringing design to life, the festival will feature large-scale installations throughout D3 beginning right at the entrance to the festival with Abet Laminati’s gateway — an interactive, oversized, three-dimensional puzzle. Among many of the fairs awe-inspiring installations this edition, is a circadian light synthesis pavilion by Dubai-based Anarchitect that highlights the human relationship with natural light and Vitra’s exploration of originality in design, viewed through the lens of the iconic brand’s history.

Also enlivening Dubai Design District’s urban neighbourhood are ‘Parametric Surfaces’ by Super Future Design that explores the futuristic aspects in the world of design and Tabanlioglu Architects’ brilliantly evocative work, HousEmotion that seeks to question where we belong. Apical Reform will present Trapeza, a collaboration with AHEC that explores sustainable design via modular concept designed with ultimate commercial viability.

Making Space

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A five-day pop-up studio for workshops and children’s activities, Making Space will feature a wide group of UAE-based regional and international designers, professionals and creatives. An interactive part of Dubai Design Week, this extensive programme was developed to engage visitors of all ages in an interactive experience. Visitors can sign up and drop by to get a hands-on experience on the creative process behind design.

The programme encompasses miniature modelling with Sharabassy Studio, 3D printing with Ethan&Co, sculpting, Chari cycle design, Ceramics with Yadawei studio and many other interactive hands-on workshops and demos. During the weekend, families will be able to enjoy activities aimed primarily at children, engaging them with design and the creative world from an early age.

Design for all

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It might be a trade fair, but this year’s edition of Downtown Design (November 13-16) is full of Instagram-ready moments for the social media savvy!

Making its regional debut this week is Preciosa’s award-winning immersive installation, Breath of Light. The interactive installation invites visitors to blow into one of many glass orbs and watch as their breath manifests in a dynamic play of light. The installation that won the Red Dot 2018 ‘Best of the Best’ award will connect visitors — strangers even — through design. It is also the perfect setting for Boomerang videos and GIF creations!

For four days only, the region’s bloggers, design enthusiasts and cool kids will have yet another hotspot to hang out at. House of Negroni will present a new pop-up concept authored by Dubai-based design studio Bishop Design. Decked in vibrant red, white and black, this pop-up bar finds its inspiration in the design codes of the Futurist movement.

Alongside workshops that will be fun and insightful for the entire family, this year’s showcase will also feature the fair’s first-ever pop-up retail section. Re-style your home, invest in limited-edition statement pieces or pick up some really cool gifts from some of the most exciting design brands from around the world.

Don’t miss it!

Dubai Design Week runs from November 12 to 17. Entry to talks, exhibitions and activities are free. For a full listing, go to