Staged in strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), with the support of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (DCAA) alongside Audi and A.R.M. Holding, the fifth edition of Dubai Design Week presents its most multidisciplinary and extensive programme to date.

Consisting of over 200 events by over 150 participating companies, the week-long festival comprises of a wide range of exhibitions, installations, panel discussions and workshops, as well as city-wide events for design enthusiasts and the public alike, highlighting the design identity of the UAE.

With its main hub in d3, the business community dedicated to the art and design industries, Dubai Design Week has been a key player in cementing the city as a destination for design professionals and enthusiasts. This year’s programme focuses on regional designers, offering more opportunities than ever for visitors to directly engage with them, and creating a dialogue that affirms Dubai’s position as the region’s creative capital.

Khadija Al Bastaki, Chief Executive of Dubai Design District (d3), says: “d3 has played a pivotal role in establishing Dubai Design Week as the largest regional design event. As the strategic partner, d3 helps aspiring designers translate their disruptive ideas into commercial success by providing a valuable platform to promote the wealth of creative talent that exists both in the UAE and the wider region. Over the years, we have brought some of the region’s most renowned design talent to Dubai to add vibrance and depth to the local creative community. d3 has created a robust foundation for the design industry to grow in the UAE, bringing events like Dubai Design Week to unlock a wealth of opportunities for the region as well as its emerging talents.”


Downtown Design, 12 - 15 November 2019

At the heart of Dubai Design Week is Downtown Design, the leading fair for high-quality and original design in the Middle East. With increased participation from international brands, including Arper, Pedrali, Preciosa, Skram and Swarovski, this year’s edition is the most varied yet. Country pavilions have also expanded to include France and Spain spotlighting their manufacturing strengths.

Downtown Editions is the fair’s dedicated section for limited-edition and bespoke design with a spotlight on regional talent. Exhibiting designers include Kuwaiti Meshary AlNassar, with a new collection of sculptural marble lights, Sharjah-based Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council who presents pieces of traditional and modern crafts, and UAE-based Tashkeel who unveils the outcome of their 2019 Tanween Design Programme featuring designers: Abdalla Al Mulla, Lana El Samman and Yara Habib. Aljoud Lootah presents a limited-edition collection of objects inspired by the Emirati wooden dowry chest, while Fernando Mastrangelo launches a collection of mirrors inspired by the geographic features of Dubai.


An initiative supported by d3 and curated by Dubai Design Week Guest Curator, Ghassan Salameh, MADAR is an educational exhibition that sheds light on the current emerging movements and initiatives in the design market of the region today situated within Downtown Editions. The curated exhibition features work by regional designers and design experts based in the Middle East, offering insights on the different components and stakeholders that constitute the ecosystem behind the design industry as well as highlight the various stages of starting a design business. Taking a closer look at regional design activity through a diversity of design-related projects showcased in a non-hierarchal display aiming for an inclusive, the exhibition features a diverse representation from Amman, Cairo, Beirut, Kuwait, Bethlehem, Sharjah and Dubai.”

Ghassan Salameh, Guest Curator of Dubai Design Week, says: “The Middle East is home for an incredibly young population that thrives on change, using it as fuel for creative aspirations. Translating to ‘Orbit’ in English, MADAR is a metaphor, showing that ideas are moving around, never remain still and are always evolving.”

Global Grad Show, 12 - 16 November 2019

Now in its fifth year, Global Grad Show, the world’s largest and most diverse gathering of universities, will return to Dubai from 12-16 November once again in partnership with Investment Corporation of Dubai. Free and open to the public during Dubai Design Week, Global Grad Show is a key event and is the only exhibition of its kind, showcasing graduate projects from over 100 universities from 43 countries, in the fields of design, science, technology and engineering.

Under the curation of Eleanor Watson, Global Grad Show explores how innovation can impact our lives through different scales: The Human, The Home, The Community, The City and The Planet. This year’s expanded programme includes the “Innovating for Social Impact” conference, as well as an Entrepreneurship Programme for participating students.

Eleanor Watson, Curator of Global Grad Show, says: “Global Grad Show is a unique moment in the design calendar as it allows so many different people to come together and celebrate the discipline, taking stock of where we are and allowing us a moment to reflect on where we want to go. We are facing a time of immense change- environmentally, socially, politically- and it is very heartening to spend time learning from all of these bright young minds who are setting themselves the challenge of facing this landscape head-on, with intelligence and compassion. I hope that visitors to Global Grad Show will leave feeling refreshed, inspired, and empowered.”

Dubai-based conglomerate, A.R.M. Holding, with investments in a variety of sectors including real estate, education and telecommunications, announced that it has established an AED 10 million fund to support start-ups that are conceptualised by graduate talent from around the world over the next 10-years. Through Global Grad Show, A.R.M. Holding is announcing this initiative in line with the Emirate’s vision to elevate the level of talent flowing into the country and region.

This year, Global Grad Show presents a conference, curated by Community Jameel, for industry professionals and academics, promoting knowledge exchange between institutions, titled “Innovating for Social Impact”. The conference explores how institutions can be catalysts for sustainable development and social impact across the world. Drawing from the experience of professors, graduates, entrepreneurs and stakeholders, shedding light on the learnings from initiatives that use sustainable innovation in the fields of technology, architecture and design.


Translated as ‘doors’ in Arabic, Abwab is an architectural installation that offers a platform for design talent from across the Middle East. In its fifth edition, the designers selected from India, the Eastern Provinces of Saudi Arabia (supported by Ithra) and Lebanon were challenged to recreate the local classrooms of their cultures through one common theme: “ways of learning”.

The projects include: ‘Qissa Ghar’ meaning ‘Home of Stories’ presented by The Busride Studio which retells creation myths from across India brought to life on Khadi lanterns. ‘WALL(T)Z’ by Polish-Lebanese sisters Tessa & Tara Sakhi, known as T SAKHI Architects, present a journey depicting real and imagined walls. The Eastern Provinces of Saudi Arabia present ‘Sa’af’ by Shahad Alazaz, founder of Azaz Architects, in collaboration with local craftspeople, the work investigates palm fronds woven textiles banded together as a symbolic representation of community.

Rawan Kashkoush, Creative Director of Dubai Design Week, said: “One of the strongest aspects of the festival this year is the collaborative spirit with which our partners, brands and studios have come together to develop concepts and share knowledge, speaking volumes of the way to approach the next phase of living on our planet. Dubai Design Week has acted as an invitation to expand our attitude towards sharing and there is no better place to do it than at the world’s most diverse intersection.”


With a focus on design talent from the region, a series of site-specific installations are situated within the Design Quarter of d3, including:

‘Umbra’, an immersive gateway to Dubai Design Week at d3, is a collaboration between Finsa and Emirati design studio Tinkah, inviting visitors to explore the interplay of shadow and light inspired by the Mashrabiya, an element of traditional Middle Eastern architecture historically used as a window or spatial partition.

MAS Architecture Studio have produced a six-metre tall installation titled ‘Barjeel’, inspired by the traditional wind towers of the UAE, composed from layers of reclaimed cardboard and strip lighting in an exercise to build from reused materials.

‘The Maze’ by Nyxo Visionary Design consists of an interface composed of modular panels. The dynamic installation explores interactive surfaces with a sculptural quality creating a seamless and unique pattern every time the visitor reconfigures the rotation.

The Audi Innovation Hub this year is an immersive structure designed by Emirati designer and architect Abdulla Almulla, founder of design studio MULA. Consisting of a sweeping steel structure combined with gradient mesh which creates shade, the design of the hub was inspired by the technology of Audi’s e-tron and Almulla’s use of patterns and geometry in setting design guidelines.

Other highlights include a calligraphic study of the word 'friends’ by Austrian furniture makers Bene in collaboration with designer Ibraheem Khamayseh, the installation ‘Green Nexus’ by MAS Paints and UAE Modern which features technology and natural elements focuses on recyclability, and creative installations and edible experiences for all ages in Deliveroo’s pop-up ‘Design, Delivered.'


Exploring cultural aspects of design, architecture and creativity, exhibitions featured at the core of d3 include:

‘Kabul Old City - A Visual Journey’ is a multimedia experience by Turquoise Mountain, using virtual reality technology to digitise endangered cultural heritage sites in 3D.

A showcase of prototypes based on contemporary forms of miniaturisation, DIRes19: Miniaturising Interactive Technologies is a group exhibition bringing faculty and students from the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) together with startups and In5 members.

Staged by local design incubators Tashkeel, ‘Design + Making UAE is’ the destination for emerging design professionals and everyone curious about the local design ecosystem.


An essential part of Dubai Design Week is the opportunity to experience design through a variety of hands-on workshops and in-depth design talks and panel discussions, throughout the week. This year’s highlights include:

Conferences, panels and talks on the DXBDW Main Stage will cover the intersection between language, craft and the future of urban living, held by over 50 thought leaders ranging from international practitioners to regional influencers, including leading figures from Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE National Pavilion at Venice and ibda design.

The Audi Innovation Talks are taking place across the week, with a programme of conversations exploring the future potential of technology and innovation, whilst The Forum at Downtown Design is offering talks with Tomas Alonso, Christian Louboutin, Greg Natale, Dara Huang and Lina Ghotmeh, offering insights into the evolving design scene. From digital marketing for design entrepreneurs and leadership skills in a creative industry, to design trends for 2021 and how to win clients, this year’s workshops at Downtown Design offer actionable insights to help attendees better navigate their professional sphere.

The inaugural edition of the Dubai Culture Creative Lab consists of a programme of live demos and drop-in activities. Visitors of all ages can explore materials and design processes, each focusing on a specific discipline, including; traditional crafts, ceramics 3D printing and S.T.E.A.M. education.

Returning for its third edition, the Making Space provides the opportunity to participate in instructor-led workshops and experiences through making, including pattern printing, thermoforming, terrarium making and mood board designing, whilst at Re:Urban Studio, Dubai Design Week’s masterclasses will be led by members of the local and international design community with the intention to elevate the skills of professionals and aspiring creatives.


Throughout the festival, the public is invited to enjoy what Dubai Design Week has to offer at d3. The weekend programme features a range of sights, sounds and experiences tailored to anyone and everyone interested in creativity.

Special workshops and activities for children taking place across the weekend including a Designathon for younger generations to come up with innovative solutions to real-world problems.

The Akiba Garden is hosting a series of activities including live street jazz and the Merchant & Makers Market will feature local makers and artisans selling original products.


In addition to the wide range of activations during the 2019 programme at Dubai Design Week’s main hub at d3, a range of events will be taking place across the city, engaging the wider community in Dubai and the UAE. In Al Quoz, Alserkal Avenue is staging the exhibitions ‘Is this Tomorrow’ and ‘Building Bauhaus’. Additionally, exclusive behind the scenes tours with the decision-makers and designers are offered at Al Shindagha Museum throughout the week and the inaugural edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, the first major platform for architecture and urbanism in the region.


Rado Star Prize UAE

The winner of the first edition of the Rado Star Prize UAE will be announced at this year’s Dubai Design Week, with submissions responding to the theme ‘Design with timeless appeal’. Held in various countries before, the established competition offers fledgling designers the opportunity to launch their career on an international stage. The winning project will be on display in the Rado pop-up space in d3 alongside a limited-edition collection paying tribute to the iconic architect and designer Le Corbusier.

Audi Innovation Award

Audi Middle East will announce the fourth winner of the Audi Innovation Award during Dubai Design Week 2019. The first of its kind in the region, the award seeks to empower local designers and inspire innovation by challenging creatives to submit entries, this year responding to the theme ‘Simplification. The winning project will receive $25,000 worth of investment in their concept and prototypes of all the shortlisted designs are presented in the striking Audi Innovation Hub.

Source: Asda’a BCW