Dubai Design Week | 13-18 November 2017 | Your Essential Guide

Four things to look forward to this Fall in The Luxe Diary Downtown Design

We are pleased to list our guide of events taking place at Dubai Design Week, the Middle East’s most important design event set to be most comprehensive and accessible celebration of design and creativity ever staged in the region. 

Abwab Dubai Design Week The Luxe Diary

The 2017 Dubai Design Week (DXBDW) will see over 200 activities staged in locations across the city from 13 to 18 November 2017. The free-to-attend six-day event will attract designers, architects, thought-leaders and creatives drawn to Dubai Design Week through a high-calibre design programme including: 

  • The fifth edition of Downtown Design, the Middle East’s leading, high quality design trade show featuring 150 contemporary design brands from 25 countries, doubling its size. 
  • Global Grad Show, with twice the number of universities taking part; 200 of the brightest ideas brought to Dubai from 90 universities across 40 countries 
  • Abwab, returning with an impressive pavilion designed by Fahed + Architects using recovered bedsprings to create a showcase structure for 45 products by designers from across the region 
  • A programme of over 90 events taking place at d3, the hub of Dubai Design Week 
  • Original content staged by over 80 businesses, designers and organisations across the city including venues such as Etihad Museum, DIFC and Hamdan Bin Mohammad Heritage Centre 
  • Talks programme led by Sir David Adjaye, one of the world’s most influential architects, Mauro Porcini, PepsiCo Chief Design Officer, and Elmar Mock, inventor of the Swatch Watch 

The programme, now live and available here, is a vivid expression of the varied and talented design community established in and drawn to the region’sdesign capital. Dubai Design Week invites the public to explore the full roster of events taking place, opening up opportunities for thousands to learn, be inspired, network, do business and celebrate the positive impact and potential of design.

Guma Alejandro Dubai Design Week Luxe Diary
Guma Alejandro Curi Chávez | Centro-University, Mexico City

Dubai Design Week’s Head of DesignWilliam Knight, says, “The programme we’re proud to launch today is testament to the talent and commitment that exists within Dubai and interest that has been generated globally through previous editions of Dubai Design Week. The team has been thrilled to work with an incredible range of designers, companies and sponsors to stage an event that is bursting with possibilities for visitors from near and far.” 

Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief Operating Officer, d3 comments “This year’s Dubai Design Week programme truly reflects the talent that is located across the region and within d3, with 50 Business Partners staging events. Visitors can enjoy an incredible programme throughout the event with workshops, installations and The Global Grad Show which showcases the works of young designers. Each year, this event is growing in size and reach and it will continue to be an anchor platform for the design community.”

Dubai Design Week 2017 is supported by Meraas, who are responsible for a unique portfolio of urban destinations, such as City Walk, The Beach, Boxpark, Last Exit, The Outlet Village, Kite Beach, Bluewaters, La Mer and Al Seef,  that are designed to make Dubai and the UAE better for people to live, work and visit; and Audi, the long-time supporter of Dubai Design Week, which will this year launch the second Audi Innovation Award – a competition for design research and the highlighting of innovative ideas.

Dubai Design Week Luxe Diary
Super Design Market House of Folly | Alexander Girard

The Dubai Design Week 2017 programme highlights includes key projects:

Downtown Design is the commercial heart of Dubai Design Week and the region’s leading design trade show held at the new d3 waterfront event space. In 2016, the show attracted 12,500 visitors; over 80% of whom were trade professionals. Doubling in size this year with over 150 exhibitors from across 25 countries, the 2017 edition of Downtown Design features 70 new high-end international and regional brands and debuts eight emerging design brands from the UAE region. The series of live events at Downtown Design will feature an opening keynote from London-based avant-garde  design duo Fredrikson Stallard and include key speakers such as Abbie Chung, Senior Associate at international architecture studio 5+ Design, along with several designand panel discussions featuring George Fleck, Vice-President and Global Brand Management & Marketing-Le Méridien, Renaissance & Westin, Tom Arnel, Managing Director at hospitality specialist Bull & Roo and Delhi based architects Manit and Sonali Rastogi of Morphogenesis.  

Global Grad Show, the “Oscars” of graduate design and technology, is the world’s largest and most diverse meeting of design and innovation graduates. 200 projects showcasing the best in progressive thinking on the future of design, science and innovation will be exhibited from 90 of the world’s elite universities. Those involved include world-renowned names such as The Royal College of Art, London; Stanford University, California and RMIT Melbourne, alongside schools from emerging design centres such as Pearl Academy, New Delhi and Makerere University, Kampala. In addition, there will be daily talks programme held at its location at the d3 waterfront event space. 

Dubai Design Week Luxe Diary

Exhibitions at d3:

Abwab, Dubai Design Week’s exhibition of regional design talent selected by a high-profile international editorial board including Joy Mardini, Max Fraser and Sheikha Lateefa bin Rashid, will be situated at the heart of d3.  Living up to its name – Abwab translates as doors – this year’s exhibition will host 45 designs from 15 countries selected through a process requiring creatives to nominate another designer upon submission; coined as a ‘design dominos’. The innovative structure, designed by Dubai-based Fahed + Architects using repurposed bed springs sourced from waste management company Bee’ah, will encapsulate Abwab’s emerging, regional designs.

Iconic City. 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 the region’s key hubs for creative industries and manufacturing.

GraphicsRCA: 50 Years and Beyond. Exploring the beginnings and possible future direction of graphic design from the world’s leading post-graduate design school, the show is an insight into some of the best graphic design concepts created over the last half-century. The exhibition features original, rarely seen works from the RCA archive, including designs made at the College by RCA alumni who have gone on to become industry leaders and innovators. 

Once Upon DESIGN: New Routes for Arabian Heritage.  

A curated collection of contemporary product and furniture design from the UAE and the region, commissioned by Design Space 1971 (Sharjah) and curated by Noor Aldabbagh, Once UponDESIGN marks an important moment as the heritage of materials and process embraces contemporary design in the Middle East. 

Commissioned installations at d3:

Temporary installations will be dotted across d3 including a structure that plays with light devised by Lujaine Rezk and Albert Kolambel; To celebrate the opening of their new Creative Centre at d3, London-based design studio Fredrikson Stallard present ‘Prologue’, a dramatic, crystal adorned piece for Swarovski; Making her debut at Dubai Design Week Paula Zucotti will bring an intriguing showcase based on her popular book ‘Everything We Touch’; Lasvit will reveal ‘The Silent Call’ designed by Khalid Shafar, which celebrates the daily ritual of the call to prayer, Apical Reform’s interactive and playful piece will create a ‘My Dubai’ moment for all visitors while works by Brand IncSUPERFUTUREDESIGN*, Aljoud Lootah and Gafla Jewellery in collaboration with Abdalla AlMulla will give visitors an opportunity to explore design interpretations inspired by Middle Eastern craft.

d3 will host a series of indoor pop-ups:

Features of Dubai Design Week’s pop-up programme of activities for all ages include the Super Design Market, featuring a carefully selected range of design brands for visitors to purchase high-quality design products, and award-winning watchmaker, RADO who will invite visitors to discover the latest collections with their “Portraits of Design” exhibition. The line-up will also emphasise design-led activities for weekend visitors at d3, welcoming all ages to the popular Ripe Market brining weekend atmosphere to d3 with carefully selected hand-made products, andIKEA’s engaging exhibition ‘Let’s Play for Change’ that aims to bring out the child in every visitor and inspire people to integrate play into their everyday routine. Alongside this there will be opportunities for everyone to get involved at the Makers Space hosted by Al Jalila Cultural Centre for ChildrenMaskaUrban Sketchers and The JamJar, among others. 

Live events, talks and seminars:

The live events programme, opening with a keynote by one of the world’s most influential architects Sir David Adjaye in conversation with Emirati commentator Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi – features a host of gatherings, from academic conferences to keynotes from global design influencers such as PepsiCo Chief Design Officer, Mario Porcini and the co-inventor of the Swatch Watch, Elmar Mock. In addition, Audi will host the Innovation Lounge, with a string of talks on innovation. Daily workshops, staged in association with newly launched d3 co-working spaceRe:Urban Studio, will host a diverse range of activities for design practitioners and the design curious alike. 


Other highlights include the announcement of the winner of the second Audi Innovation Award, the launch of the next Urban Commissions competition supported by d3 and Dubai Culture.

Around the City:

The widest possible array of partners and contributors to Dubai Design Week are involved in this year’s programme, with design and creativity represented in venues across the city. Highlights for 2017 will include activities being staged at the Etihad Museum for the first time as part of Dubai Design Week, a return from DRAK – Design Ras Al Khor with a focus on Luxury. Alserkal Avenue and Al Quoz will also host extensive programmes.

Visit for the full Dubai Design Week 2017 programme


For more events in Dubai this month, click here!

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