Savoir Flair’s Guide to Dubai’s First-Ever Design Week

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Photo: Courtesy of Dubai Design Week

A celebration of Dubai’s fast-emerging innovation, creativity, and collaboration in both regional and international design, the inaugural Dubai Design Week kicks off today and runs through October 31st at the Dubai Design District (d3).

From veteran designers and industry experts to art and design aficionados and design-curious visitors, attendees will have the opportunity to experience a variety of exhibitions, keynote speakers, panel discussions, and workshops exploring cutting-edge global trends and diverse conversations about the industry and community at large.

Read on to learn more about Dubai Design Week’s most promising offerings, and to discover a few interesting talking points about each event.

Abwab Pavilions
Abwab is a series of six pavilions integrated and built into walkways and open areas in the Dubai Design District. Each pavilion celebrates and showcases the work of the most exciting designers, studios, and curators from six different countries across the region, including Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the UAE.

SF Talking Point: The pavilions get their names from the Arabic word Abwab, which translates to “doors” – as the installations are intended to acts as a window into the region’s local design talent.

When & Where:
October 26: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
October 27 to 30: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
October 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Walkways and open spaces, Dubai Design District (d3).

Photo: Courtesy of @DubaiDesignWeek

Design Ras Al Khor
Design Ras Al Khor (DRAK) is
 a collective design initiative established in 2015 in Dubai 
and founded by four UAE-based designers: Khalid Shafar, Khulood Thani, Nadine Kanso, and Tarik Al Zaharna.

The purpose of DRAK is to raise awareness for the potential of Ras Al Khor industrial area, one of the oldest areas in the city, to become a future creative district for Dubai. For its inaugural edition, DRAK will present five design projects in product, fashion, jewelry, architecture, and food design.

SF Talking Point: This year, DRAK’s theme sheds light on a key element of Dubai’s creek, Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

When & Where:
October 26 to 31: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
KASA, no. 7, street 22a, community 612 Ras Al Khor Industrial 1

SF Tip: Use the promo code DRAK to receive 20% off your ride to Kasa with KOI car services.

Destination at Downtown Design
Downtown Design has doubled in size this year, and it’s the only platform in the Middle East for the region’s trade professionals to discover original, high-quality design from all over the globe. This year’s new feature is the Destination initiative, which highlights Dubai’s mission to become a global design hub.

A collaboration with various cities from around the world, Downtown Design will host six different design weeks featuring work from Helsinki, Beijing, Mexico, Melbourne, San Francisco, and Istanbul. Each city will bring three of its most exciting, young design brands and portray native material and crafts while demonstrating both regional appeal and commercial potential.

SF Talking Point: Be sure to check out the world’s first musical cactus, Cactunes, an experimental project that questions our intimate relationship with technology and gadgets with a little magic and humor. Household cactus plants will be equipped with sensors and audio devices, transforming them into musical instruments.

When & Where:
October 27: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
October 28 to 29: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
October 30: 1.30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Downtown Design tent, Dubai Design District (d3).

Global Grad Show
A world-class exhibition and the first of its kind, Global Grad Show features ten leading design schools from around the world.

The exhibition will feature work from 50 international young designers and design teams, each selected for their creative approach to problem-solving and the potential to make a lasting improvement to human society within six themes: construction, home, health, memory, play, and work.

SF Talking Point: Don’t miss on the memory section of the Global Grad Show, which will highlight new strategies for extending the “virtual evidence of our lives”, including lamps with the ability to display the story of your life.

When & Where:
October 26: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
October 27 to 30: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
October 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Building 6, Dubai Design District (d3).

Photo: Courtesy of Sauce

Workshop: Paige Smith in Partnership With Sauce
Join celebrated LA artist Paige Smith and learn how to embellish ordinary items with hand-made kirigami structures in this interactive workshop. Using mathematical nets, Paige will guide participants as they craft their very own sculptures.

Paige will also be discussing her experience and processes for “Things [Extra] Ordinary”, a series of pop-up design installations across Dubai. Seats for this workshop are limited and pre-registration is required. To register, click here.

SF Talking Point: Smith is best known for creating a series of sculptures around Los Angeles that resemble metallic geodes.

When & Where:
October 31: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Press Room, Building 7, Dubai Design District (d3).

The Ripe Design Market
Featuring a mix of local and small businesses comprised of artists, designers, and culinary delights to Dubai Design District, the Ripe Design Market showcases their work in a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.

The market will include entertainment from local artists, pop-up shops, 
and workshops for children, presented by the makers and designers themselves.

When & Where:
October 30 to 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dubai Design District (d3).

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