I t may be held in a mall, but Dubai’s ARTE Market offers a much-needed diversion from the city’s samey shopping centres with their identical array of chain stores. An acronym for the decade-old Artisans of the Emirates, the bi-monthly event at Times Square Center is a place for local crafters and artisans to showcase and sell their creations.
Each event is different, as crafters don’t usually attend every one, and the range is extraordinary. From handmade children’s clothes to aromatherapy products, intricately designed candles to freshly baked cakes, products range from the wearable to the edible and everything in between.
Time Out Dubai favourites include Kariba Arts, which sells homewares such as candlesticks, all made from driftwood found on the UAE’s beaches. Antika Dubai can be pricey, but the range of restored antiques and furniture fashioned from colourful timber (collected from scrapyards in places such as Rajasthan) always features something to fall in love with.
Of course, ARTE is more than a place to lavish gifts on your abode – if you’re looking for something uniquely Dubai to present to friends overseas but balk at the idea of awkward Burj Khalifa ashtrays, this is the place to find it. It’s so much more than a stuffed camel when it’s hand-stitched in a one-off design.
The next ARTE Markets take place October 9 and 23. Times Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.arte.ae.