My first edition of the Dubai Design Week!

  • 2nd December 2019
  • Design + Art
  • Exhibition

I was so pleased to discover the 5th edition of the Dubai Design Week, to which I had never been before.

Created to celebrate and encourage, creativity and design in Dubai, this is the largest creative festival in the region; its multiple events are in honour of international names and the middle-eastern scene which is represented by the new generation of designers.

Let me share some of my favourite aspects of the 2019 edition ☺

Global Grad Show


It exhibits works from over 150 students from 100 universities in 43 countries. The aim of this event is to show how innovation can positively impact our lives.

As an example, here is the ‘WEBE’ project that I loved: The young student had explained to me her design of a ring, that could be worn around the fingers of each person, in a couple, and it would allow each to know the ’emotional charge’ felt by the other.

She had the intention of refining the ring until it resembled a piece of jewellery. Just incredible!

Downtown Design

Following the conference announcing the official launch of the Dubai Design Week, I had the pleasure of discovering the premiere of the ‘Downtown Design’ ☺

This edition showcased 100 new regional and international designers.

I had a very pleasant walk through the spacious alleyways, exploring the different stands, which were wide and beautifully decorated, making it a colourful and inspired Design walk!

Here are some my favourite aspects:

  • ‘Capital collection’ designed by the New Yorker designer Fernando Mastrangelo.
  • It is a series -though limited- of sculptural mirrors honouring the natural resources of Dubai. Just superb!
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  • ‘CarouselOfLight’ by the brand ‘Preciosa’.
  • It is impossible not to be amazed by the sumptuous gigantic light installation, which welcomes us majestically upon entering the Fair.
  • ‘Katta Screen’ designed by Yara Habib.
  • This artist is part of the ‘Tanween’ programme, which is to promote Design in the Emirates.
  • As part of Downtown Editions – which, after a strict selection process, presents creations from regional and international designers I noticed this screen, which is made of a mixture of brass and wood, with rotating pieces, and is reminiscent of the traditional tents from Bedouin tribes.
  • Talk with the famous Greg Natale & Talib Choudhry from AD Middle East.
  • For the Downtown Design Fair, interviews were organised with different personalities coming from the worlds of both decoration and design.
  • I was so pleased to attend the one with Greg Natale. I love the work of this Australian interior designer; his projects are full of colours and patterns resulting in most stunning interiors. During his talk, he mentioned his journey, his inspirations, and the difficulties he met along the way. It was a real sharing and inspirational event!


For the enjoyment of the visitors, all of the installations within the Design District, commonly known as the d3, highlighted the regional skills.

  • ‘Barjeel’ is a 6-metre-high installation created by the Turkish architecture studio MAS.
  • It is inspired by traditional wind towers in the Emirates and is made with layers of recycled cardboard!
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  • ‘Abwab’, which means doors in Arabic, is an exhibition that is remodelled each Edition to become a common platform for artists from the Middle-East, North Africa and South Asia.
  • The first installation, from Saudi Arabian provinces, was imagined by Azaz Architects in collaboration with Ithra: the architectural installation was created with local artists developing innovative materials. As I wandered around d3, I could see that this installation was largely used for relaxation by the visitors. Brilliant ☺
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  • The second one is designed by the Lebanese Design Studio ‘T Sakhi’.
  • Illustrating the theme for 2019, ‘Ways of Learning’, it encourages people to take a psychological trip through real and imaginary walls, while at the same time, echoing the socio-political barriers of the Lebanese society. Such a beautiful and inspiring work !!
  • The last, ‘Qissa Ghar’ by ‘The Busride’, is an Indian installation and represents ‘the House of stories’.
  • Gathering some of the most popular myths from different cultures in India, it constitutes a union of diverse religions and philosophies.
  • Seven artists were invited to reinterpret those myths through a labyrinth of elements. These were made from a fibre of Indian fabrics and were backlit at night. The result is magical and it was definitely my favourite installation
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  • ‘The maze’ designed by Nixo Studio.
  • I loved this dynamic and sculptural installation!
  • It is entirely reflective and it explores the domain of interactive surfaces; each configuration is truly fun and impressive ☺
  • ‘Umbra’ designed by Finsa in collaboration with the Emirati creative studio ‘Tinkah’.
  • I had so much fun walking around inside this installation, which subtly plays with shadows and lights…
  • ’The Heartbeat of Design’ is just incredible and will be the last installation I will describe.
  • Roca has managed to reproduce the beatings of the heart with this massive installation entirely made of ceramic. It is beautifully lit up and punctuated by happy music day and night ☺
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This first time at the Dubai Design Week was a truly memorable experience for me and very different from my time in Paris and Milan.

It was an opportunity for me to discover and appreciate the work of artists and designers from the local region and thus enriching my knowledge of the worlds of decoration and design…

I look forward to the next edition ☺

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