Quick Guide to Dubai Design Week

Creativity and innovation festival has top events for design fans of all ages


Now in its third year, Dubai Design Week is the Middle East’s most comprehensive and accessible celebration of design and creativity. More than 200 activities will be staged throughout Dubai from Monday November 13 to Saturday 18, with the free-to-attend event due to host designers, architects, thought leaders and creatives from around the world. Highlights throughout the six days include the fifth edition of trade show Downtown Design, the Global Grad Show, Abwab, talks from the likes of architect Sir David Adjaye and Elmar Mock, the inventor of the Swatch Watch, as well as more than 90 events taking place at d3. Here are just a few of the top events for the general public.

1 20th Century Fine Vintage Jewellery Design Influences
Running throughout Dubai Design Week, this exhibition is accompanied by a series of talks by Sophie Stevens, a fine jewellery specialist, gemologist and founder of 51:55. A collection of fine vintage jewellery designs from the 20th century by world-famous jewellers including Cartier, Bvlgari and Van Cleef & Arpels will be showcased and available for purchase.
Free. Nov 14, 8pm-9pm. Office 405, Building 9, d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

2 Abwab Exhibition
Abwab (meaning “doors” in Arabic) is described as a highlight of Dubai Design Week. It’s the only initiative of its kind to offer a showcase of regional design talent from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. The exhibition originally comprised independent pavilions hosting six MENASA countries, but this year has evolved into a single pavilion in the heart of Dubai Design District (d3). Designers across the region are invited to take part through a peer-selection process called “design dominoes”. Each designer must submit a contemporary object that represents ideas or production techniques routed in the region, while also nominating the next designer, creating a unique Abwab community. The final exhibition will feature 101 products from 15 countries.
Free. Nov 14-18, 10am-9pm. d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

3 Chocolate Makers Tour
Dubai’s Mirzam makes chocolate with just three ingredients: cocoa beans, unrefined cane sugar and a small amount of cocoa butter. Better still, the production process has been designed so that visitors to the Al Quoz chocolate factory can experience every aspect of chocolate-making, from roasting cocoa beans to hand-wrapping each bar.
Free (advanced online booking required). Nov 13-Dec 13, 10.30am-12.30pm (kids), 3pm-5pm (adults). Mirzam, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, www.mirzam.com (04 563 1426).

4 Design Therapy pop-up
Got a brand, design or digital challenge you’re struggling with? This Design Therapy pop-up hosted by Maek Design throughout Dubai Design Week offers free consultations to help you work through challenges, and move closer to the right design, brand or digital solution. Each consultation will last between ten and 30 minutes, depending on the size of the challenge you’re looking to solve. Participants can apply for a consultation appointment by registering at the pop-up, or turn up and wait.
Free. Nov 18, 10am-3pm. RE:Urban Studio, Office 107B, Building 7, d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

5 Global Grad Show
A first-of-its-kind exhibition of the most innovation projects from the world’s leading design schools, Global Grad Show is comprised of more than 200 works drawn from 91 universities in 40 countries. It promises to provide an unprecedented overview of what the world’s emerging designers are working on, and a first glimpse at the technologies that will shape our future. Almost every project included in the show will be represented by one of its creators, making this the largest student gathering ever assembled.
Free, space limited. Nov 14-17, 10am-9.30pm; Nov 18, 10am-7pm. Waterfront Event Space, d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

6 How to Dress Your Bed Like an Interior Designer
Professional linen company Linen Obsession will deliver tips on how to create a showroom-worthy bed through co-ordination and layering ideas. There will also be tips on what size pillows and duvets to use to create that so-inviting-you-want-to-nap-in-the-department-store look. Thread count, Egyptian cotton and sateen will also be explained, and the secrets to what makes hotel beds look so great will be revealed.
Free, places must be booked via aalamario@wilsonfabrics.ae. Tue Nov 14, 3.15pm-4.30pm. Office 106A, Building 6, d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

7 Iconic City: Loading… Casa
An annual spotlight on a regional city, this year’s exhibition, Loading… Casa, has been curated by Salma Lahlou, who has commissioned new works from a sound artist, graphic designer, photographer and interior architect to portray the city she lives and breathes – Casablanca. The exhibition will provide an insight into the design culture and atmosphere of one of the region’s key hubs for creative industries and manufacturing.
Free. Nov 14-18, 10am-9pm. d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

8 Let’s Play For Change
An exhibition by global homeware store IKEA, Let’s Play For Change is designed to transport viewers to another world filled with wonder, delight and mystical illusions. Elements encourage kids, teens and grown-ups to engage in play, while the outdoors have been brought indoors to demonstrate creative ways of living sustainably. The show intends to make room for imagination, while also highlighting new products and limited collections in new arrangements, all designed to bring out the child in everyone who visits and inspire them to integrate play into their everyday routine.
Free. Nov 14-17, 10am-10pm; Nov 18, 10am-7pm. Atrium, Building 7, d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

9 Prologue Installation
Designed by Fredrikson Stallard, Prologue is a monumental, free-standing sculpture weighing 1.2 tons and holding more than 8,000 amber-coloured Swarovski crystal droplets within its four-metre diameter, patinated steel frame. The luminous ring mimics the golden sun and its endless circle represents new beginnings, life and rebirth. The work was originally unveiled at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2014.
Free. Nov 14-17, 10am-10pm. Nov 18 10am-7pm. Centre Core, d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

10 The Apartment #3: Design from the ’50s to the ’70s
For the very first time, a gallery has transformed itself into a permanent apartment concept, in which objects and furniture vary and change regularly. The Apartment #3 exhibits artworks, decorative arts and furniture from Europe from the second half of the 20th century by designers such as Mathieu Matégot, Pierre Guariche, Marco Zanuso, Serge Mouille, Charlotte Perriand, Hans Wenger, Joseph-Andre Motte and Pierre Paulin. Visitors are welcome to wander around the apartment to experience these iconic, rare finds and one-of-a-kind collectibles.
Free. Nov 13-Mar 13, 10am-7pm. Unit 27, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 563 1426).

11 The Ripe Design Market
Ripe’s Design Market brings the region’s finest local start-ups and small businesses comprising designers, trend-setters, taste-makers and culinary artisans together to d3 to showcase their work. Discover the city’s emerging creatives and pick up fresh, local organic produce from the Ripe Organic Stand, plus enjoy entertainment from local artists, activations, pop-up shops and workshops for children, presented by the makers and designers themselves.
Free. Nov 17-18, 10am-7pm. d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

12 Virtual Reality in Architecture & Interior Design
DZ Design has always looked at technology to enable successful and easy design. Visitors are invited to wear the Oculus head gear and experience the possibilities of designing, viewing and changing finishes with a few simple hand gestures. They will be able to walk into the interiors of a villa, or walk
around a whole building viewing it from various angles, all within the confines of DZ Design’s office.
Free. Nov 16, 10am-2pm. Office 205B, Building 6, d3, Ras Al Khor Road (04 563 1426).

13 While We Wait
Originally commissioned by the Victoria & Albert Museum in the UK, where it was exhibited in September 2017 as part of the London Design Festival, While We Wait is a meditative, immersive installation was designed by Palestinian architects and designers Elias and Yousef Anastas (AAU ANASTAS). It’s comprised of pieces of stone quarried in various regions of Palestine, which fit together to form a large, lattice-like, self-supporting structure. The resulting installation is visually porous, allowing viewers to see their surroundings from inside, while listening to evocative sound and video components.
Free. Daily 10am-7pm. Until Nov 18. Concrete, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 563 1426).

For more information and the full programme of events running this November, visit www.dubaidesignweek.ae.

In Numbers
Dubai Design Week

The length, in days, of the event, which will take place in galleries and spaces across the city.

More than 90 events will be taking place at d3 over the course of the show, which runs from November 13 to 18.

The number of activities set to be staged across Dubai during this epic showcase of design and innovation.

There are more than 8,000 amber-hued Swarovski crystal droplets contained within the Prologue installation piece.

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