Dubai Design Week 2019: everything you need to know

Must-see exhibitions, art talks and more

Dubai Design Week 2019: everything you need to know
Dubai Design Week 2019: everything you need to know Image #2

So, what is Dubai Design Week?
To put it simply, it’s the biggest creative festival in the Middle East. Now in its fifth year, and under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the festival aims to celebrate artists from across the UAE and the region, as well as international talent. Most of the exhibitions, installations, workshops, talks, tours and events are free-to-attend and mainly take place in d3, the city’s buzzing creative hub, but there are also activities held in Al Jadaf, Knowledge Village, Al Quoz, Jumeirah and Sharjah. The six-day festival will be held from Monday November 11 until Saturday November 16 so mark those calendars.

What are the highlights 2019?
The main highlight has to be Downtown Design – the Middle East’s leading fair for original design. The fair will showcase the latest collections from premium design brands from around the world, alongside special experiential projects and a line-up of talks and workshops.

Another stand-out event is the Global Grad Show where you’ll find 150 of the best projects submitted by 100 of the world’s top design and technology universities.

There will also be three pavilions in d3 dedicated to Abwab (which translates to ‘doors’ in Arabic), an exhibition celebrating design from the region. The communities chosen for this year are Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, India and Lebanon with the theme being ‘ways of learning’. The Abwab designers have been challenged to recreate the local classrooms of their cultures.

What’s this we hear about the chance of winning US$25,000?
The Audi Innovation Award is a competition for design research aimed at highlighting innovative ideas from across the Middle East and the theme for 2019 is “simplification” – the ability to design for efficiency. The award aims to stimulate a regional discussion on transitioning towards smarter cities and a sustainable future. The winning project will be showcased together with the two runners up, and the overall winner will receive a mega $25,000 (Dhs92,000) investment to developing their project.

Who’s attending?
Well, other than thousands of expected visitors, there’s also going to be an extensive series of talks from some of the most prominent experts, designers, creatives and thinkers from across the world. Highlights include a conversation with international architects Andrew Whalley, David Spierings and Simon Fraser about their work their work on Expo 2020 Dubai, as well as talks with industry leaders from the likes of Facebook and Ernst & Young about the future of design careers in the coming years.

What else can we expect?
There are nearly 200 exhibitions, installations, workshops, talks, tours and events taking place over the six days including Umbra – an immersive design installation inspired from the mashrabiya (an element of traditional Arabic architecture); Kabul Old City – A Visual Journey, which is a multi-media installation that will provide viewers with a direct and interactive experience of the cultural richness and diversity of the Old City of Kabul; and Culture Meets Design – Pottery Workshop, where you can mould clay into a jug.
Free. Mon Nov 11-Sat Nov 16. For the full schedule of events and timings head to

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

The combined number of confirmed exhibitions, installations, workshops, talks, tours and events that will be held across the city this year.

The number of people who visited d3 alone for the 2018 edition.

Akiba Dori
Inspired by the neon-lit streets of Akihabara in Tokyo, this funky Japanese restaurant and bar is worth a visit for Japanese bites and pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven.
Open daily noon-midnight. Dubai Design District (04 770 7949).

Tasty European food with eclectic artsy décor. Admire collections in the restaurant’s frequently updated art gallery before turning your attention to the food menu.
Open daily noon-2am. Dubai Design District (052 949 2202).

The Lighthouse
For fine food served up in a stylish setting head to this cool eatery.
Open Sat-Wed 9am-10pm, Thu-Fri 9am-11pm. Dubai Design District (04 422 6024).

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