Top 10 highlights of Dubai Design Week (DXBDW) 2017

DUBAI DESIGN WEEK 2017 (DXBDW) –NOV 13 – 18, 2017

Dubai Design Week (DXBDW), now in its third year, is the Middle East’s most important, comprehensive and accessible celebration of design and creativity ever staged in the region. The 2017 Dubai Design Week (DXBDW) will see over 200 activities staged in locations across the city. 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:

1. Downtown Design – Exhibition

14 November | 6-9.30pm Trade and Public visitors
15-16 November | 1.30-6pm Trade visitors
15-16 November | 6-9.30pm Trade and Public visitors
17 November |1.30-9.30pm Trade and Public visitors

d3 Waterfront, Dubai Design District (d3)

Downtown Design returns this November (14 – 17) for its fifth edition as the commercial centrepiece of Dubai Design Week. The fair takes a curatorial approach to the visitor experience with the regional buyer in mind, selecting a mix of leading, established brands that need a strategic gateway to the region, as well as high quality emerging brands exhibiting on an international platform for the first time. The fair brings together over 150 brands from 25 countries. Visitors will discover a rich diversity of contemporary design from iconic international brands through to unique pieces by designers featured for the very first time on the international design circuit. Downtown Design reaffirms its position as a fair of discovery this year with the return of the ICE pavilion which will presents emerging design brands. As part of Dubai Design Week’s programme, each day of the fair will feature a series of industry talks and panel discussions targeted specifically at the region’s architecture and design community. Covering a wide range of industry topics including colour trends, spatial experience, product innovation and Dubai’s evolving architectural landscape, the programme will share knowledge and insight on the region’s continually changing world of design. Combined with an expanded Buyers Programme that attracts buyers from the MENASA region and beyond, brands can engage with a growing population of architects and interior designers, extending Downtown Design’s reach as the focal event of the design industry in November.

2. GLOBAL GRAD SHOW – Exhibition

14-17 November | 10am – 9.30pm
18 November | 10am – 7pm

d3 Waterfront, Dubai Design District (d3)

Global Grad Show is a first-of-its-kind exhibition of the most innovative projects from the world’s leading design schools. Comprised of more than 200 projects drawn from 91 universities in 40 countries, Global Grad Show provides 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 exhibition is represented by one of its creators, making Global Grad Show the largest student gathering ever assembled.

Every project included in the exhibition is represented by one of its creators, making Global Grad Show the largest student gathering ever assembled. Rather than sectioning projects off in school-specific zones, Global Grad Show organises them according to what a project does, rather than what it is. The exhibits in the Empower section offer new ways to spark ideas and expand our abilities. The Connection section is concerned with encouraging exchange and building community. Under the Sustain section is a survey of innovative approaches to reducing waste and generating energy.

3. ABWAB – Exhibition

14-17 November | 10am – 10pm
18 November | 10am – 7pm

Between buildings 4 & 6, Dubai Design District (d3)

The Abwab exhibition (Abwab means ‘doors’ in Arabic) is a highlight of Dubai Design Week as it is the only initiative of its kind to offer a snapshot of regional design talent from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Abwab originally consisted of independent pavilions hosting six MENASA countries, but in 2017 the concept has evolved into a single pavilion in the heart of Dubai Design District (d3), exhibiting as many countries as possible. Over 250 designers were reached through an innovative peer-selection process; ‘designer dominos’ as a pay-it-forward mechanism to strengthen a community, whereby in order to be considered for selection, a designer is required to nominate the next designer to submit. The final showcase of contemporary design works was chosen by an international editorial board for being strong representations of ideas or production techniques rooted in these regions. The Editorial Board was made up of Lateefa Bint Maktoum, Joy Mardini, Max Fraser and Rawan Kashkoush. This year’s Abwab pavilion is an architectural investigation of locally sourced materials designed by Dubai-based multidisciplinary architectural firm Fahed + Architects. The ethos of the practice is to capture the spiritual essence of a place through architectural expressions. For the construction of the Abwab pavilion, Fahed + Architects sourced bedsprings from waste management company bee’ah. Strong, but light in character, this mound of bedsprings will be supported by a series of interconnected posts to form a cloud of mesh. Set against a large mass of buildings within the d3 corridors, the structure’s silhouette will be reminiscent of impetuous ocean waves, coral clusters in a reef and clouds in the sky, referencing the practice’s environmental commitment. The pavilion will distil daylight to create patterns on the exhibited works and on the ground.


14-17 November | 10am – 10pm
18 November | 10am – 7pm

Ground Floor, Building 6, Dubai Design District (d3)

Curated by Salma Lahlou with research assistance by Omar Mrani

Casablanca was built upon 2 fundamental axes: commerce and immigration. When the French arrived in 1907, they found a simple town quite unlike the imperial cities of Fez, Meknes, Rabat or Marrakech with 20,000 inhabitants living in a small medina. The Casablanca “miracle” captivated a cosmopolitan population, primarily European but also Jewish and Moroccan, drawn to the promise of business and work opportunities. The city grew to 78,000 inhabitants in 1913, and in eight years, the European population mushroomed from 570 to 31,000. It was in Casablanca that the French term “bidonville”, or shantytown, was coined, as informal reed huts with corrugated metal roofs were cobbled together to respond to an urgent housing shortage. Complexes known as Hay Mohammadi housed thousands of Moroccans who knew only the practices, traditions and customs of their own homelands. This intermixing of populations and cultures on the edges of the city created the identity of Casablanca, and of Morocco, that we know today. Following the country’s independence in 1956, the city saw an inverse polarity in which the centre lost its status both as the historic heart of the city and its decisional power. Displacement became the means for Casablanca to reinvent itself and draw resilience. In one century, the city has undergone profound mutations. Rachid Andaloussi, Casablanca-based architect notes “each time a new urban centre is born, it is a death announcement of the one that preceded it”.


This talk does not require any pre-registration, seats will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

13 November | 7pm – 8pm

DXBDW Mainstage – Building 4, Dubai Design District (d3)

Sir David Adjaye is regarded as one of the world’s most influential architects and designers. Often challenged with high profile and dynamic briefs, the practice’s commitment to embracing the social agenda behind architecture, and providing access to knowledge through his buildings gives him a unique insight into the power of architecture to reflect and enhance ethical pride in both public and private spaces.The conversation with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi will begin by asking about the process in which Sir David approaches the projects he is commissioned to design; who does he communicate with beyond the client, what are his sources of inspiration on topics, how he approaches sites and the creative process of first imagining his buildings.

6. GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond – Exhibition

Curated by Teal Triggs, Richard Doust, Jeff Willis, Adrian Shaughnessy

14-17 November | 10am – 10pm
18 November | 10am – 7pm

Ground Floor, Building 6, Dubai Design District (d3)

GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond celebrates the milestone anniversary of a graphic design course at the RCA that marked the beginning of a break with commercial art, and heralded an era that saw graphic design emerge as a major force in business and culture. Over the past half century, the RCA has produced a range of innovative practices that celebrate the designer as theorist, author, researcher and collaborator.

The exhibition features rarely seen works from the RCA archive, including designs by alumni who have gone on to become leading practitioners; Film Society Posters; stamps commissioned by the Royal Mail; the infamous student magazine Ark; typographic experiments; and early examples from pioneers of digital design. The exhibition opened in London in 2014, travelling to the National Museum of the Republic in Brasilia in 2015. This expanded exhibition features new works by recent graduates and over 120 designers with works ranging from printed posters and books to moving images and digital projection.

Courses: The Royal College of Art, the world’s leading postgraduate Art and Design University, is hosting a series of courses exploring current areas from the design practice. Each 2-day course is led by a dedicated RCA senior tutor, giving participants a unique opportunity to discuss up-to-date challenges in design thinking and experience RCA teaching first-hand. Registrations are open to design professionals and enthusiasts of the field.

Led by Dr Harriet Harriss, Senior Tutor in Interior Design at the Royal College of Art, the lecture will showcase of some of the most radical tactics used by leading retail brands; identify how hybridising technologies with tactile interiors increase immersive engagement; explore how innovations from across the disciplines could be transposed into retail design; and consider some of the immersive strategies other spatial sectors – from museums to smart-homes – are using, and consider how these could be appropriated as a means to enhance and expand the possibilities of retail. The workshop will invite participants to work in small teams to generate their own visions of what the future of immersive retail might be, concluding with team presentations to a panel of judges comprised of Dubai-based brand consultants and retail designers.

Advances in digital technology offer us new and innovative ways of connecting people with information. Technologies such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Wearable Devices and the Internet of Things allow data to break away from the screen and integrate into our environments in engaging and immersive ways. The aim of this workshop is to introduce the new opportunities offered by these immersive technologies, demonstrate the tools available, and allow participants to develop their own vision of future immersive experiences based on the challenges they face within in their own professional contexts.

The workshop will be run by Angus Main, designer, researcher, and Tutor in Information Experience Design at RCA.

It is widely accepted that products, services and spaces are best designed with and not simply for the people who will use them. In this workshop, participants will be presented with traditional and experimental tools and methodologies for public engagement, ‘sense-making’ and co-design from action-research to public interventions.

The sessions will culminate in a playful design workshop in which groups of participants will focus their observations, engagement research on the Dubai Design Week event itself to develop micro-interventions and design proposals. The workshop will be led by Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad, a Design as Catalyst Tutor on the RCA’s Design Products programme. Bahbak is an award-winning designer and researcher who regularly exhibits and conducted workshops internationally.


14-25 November | 10am – 10pm

Atrium, Building 7, Dubai Design District (d3)

IKEA is thrilled to present Let’s Play For Change, an exhibition designed to transport you to another world filled with wonder, delight, mystical illusions, and surprises. Captivatingly designed elements encourage kids, teenagers and grown-ups to engage in play, and the outdoors have been taken indoors to show creative ways of living sustainably. IKEA got rave reviews for its Life@Home exhibition in 2016 which observed how people live around the world and showcased the future of home design. This year, it intends to make room for imagination, highlighting new products and limited collections in never-before-seen arrangements, proving that anything is possible with IKEA. In October, IKEA launched a new collaboration with Danish design company HAY which ranges from sofas and coffee tables to smaller accessories including an updated version of the iconic blue IKEA bag. DELAKTIG is a platform for social living, co-created with designer Tom Dixon, which challenges traditional production methods and redefines the concept of comfort. It can be a bed, a sofa or a chaise longue, and you can add on components.


17 November | 5pm – 6pm

DXBDW Mainstage – Building 4, Dubai Design District (d3)

A compelling presentation of how design and design thinking is vital to any innovation and growth agenda. Mauro will explore how designers are working side-by-side within businesses to delight audiences and consumers by creating incredible experiences, sharing amazing stories and engaging them in exciting ways.

About Mauro Porcini

Mauro Porcini joined PepsiCo in 2012 as its Chief Design Officer. In this newly created position, Mauro is infusing design thinking into PepsiCo’s culture and is leading a new approach to innovation by design that impacts the company’s product platforms and brands, which include Pepsi, Lay’s, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Tropicana, Doritos, Cheetos, Quaker, Mirinda, Sierra Mist and SunChips. His focus extends from physical to virtual expressions of the brands, including product, packaging, events, advertising, retail activation, architecture, and digital media.

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Mauro served as Chief Design Officer at 3M, where his mission was to build and nurture a design sensitive culture in a technology driven and global corporation.

9. ONCE UPON A DESIGN – Curated by Noor Aldabbagh

14-17 November | 10am – 10pm
18 November | 10am – 7pm

Atrium, Building 6, Dubai Design District (d3)

1971 Design Space presents ‘Once Upon Design: New Routes for Arabian Heritage’ curated by Noor Aldabbagh. This exhibit features six design installations resulting from Gulf-based designers collaborating across various design disciplines. It is the result of Banafsajeel’s research on ‘reinventing heritage’ in 2016.

Curator Noor Aldabbagh has selected a group of architects, product designers and graphic designers to experiment with elements of heritage from the Arabian Peninsula, focusing on customs and oral traditions inherited through generations that are implicitly linked to spaces. Ancient to modern heritage is celebrated, from the pure ceramic form brought to the region 3000 years ago, to the pre-renovation Abu Dhabi Corniche of the 1990s. An incense burner is reimagined for the region today and a Majlis is deconstructed around a symbolic bonfire. Palmscapes recalls a pilgrim’s transfer of date seeds from the Prophet’s home in Medina to her home country to use them as prayer beads, inadvertently producing the most delicious ‘dates of light’ in North Africa today. A traditional Samry song that describes the journey to an unattainable love in the south of Arabia is remixed by a director who brings millions of people together on his YouTube channel today.

10. PROLOGUE INSTALLATION – Designed by Fredrikson Stallard, presented by Swarovsk

Designed by Fredrikson Stallard

14-17 November | 10am – 10pm
18 November | 10am – 7pm

Centre Core, Dubai Design District (d3)

Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard began working together in 1995 and are recognized today as leading exponents of avant-garde design. Swarovski and Fredrikson Stallard have been collaborating on spectacular crystal creations for the past ten years, presenting projects such as the mesmerizing eye-like installation Iris, the striking geometric ‘Armory’ jewelry collection for Atelier Swarovski, and the Eden Chamber of Wonder at Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens, which resembles a fairytale crystal forest.

Prologue is a monumental, freestanding sculpture weighing 1.2 tons and holding over 8,000 amber-coloured Swarovski crystal droplets within its 4m-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.

Fredrikson Stallard says: “Our partnership with Swarovski is based on a common vision of concept, material and form. In Prologue we are exploring ways of playing with contrasts – a simple, round shape and the shimmering luminosity of precisely cut crystal creates an oversized lens that reflects the light with incredible intensity. Prologue is the latest milestone in the history of our common vision”.

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