Design – Until October 12, Dubai Design Week 2023, the Middle East’s largest design festival, returns to D3 – Dubai Design District with free-to-attend installations and exhibitions by 500 designers and architects from over 40 countries. We have selected some of the best ones, responding to the main theme and motto: Rethink the Regular. Enjoy!
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A key feature of this year’s programme will be large-scale outdoor installations with a focus on how design, science, and technology can converge to reclaim materials of our past, as well as reimagine new forms that foster sustainable practices with immersive public interventions made from materials such as palm leaves, loofah, sugar and paper pulp, with 3-D printed architecture at the forefront.
DOWN TOWN DESIGN
The Dubai Design Week anchor event, Downtown Design, celebrates its 10th anniversary with over 300 internationally renowned brands and manufacturers alongside independent designers, collectives and studios from the region and beyond. Italian artist Anna De Florian, founder of Ultra Arte, has created a mesmerising installation at the fair’s entrance on D3 Waterfront. Once inside, visitors can discover the Ultime collection by international brands such as Cassina, Lasvit, Venini, Lago, Cosentino or Jaipur Rugs.
Discover bespoke furniture manufacturers from the MENASA – Middle East, North Africa and South Asia – region. For example, BEIT Collective actively contributes to safeguarding Lebanon’s cultural heritage with collections by Lebanese and internationally acclaimed designers. Innofab45 and UAE-based studio Binchy & Binchy joined forces with Downtown Design to present innovative pieces using 3D printing technologies and materials.
In particular, the UAE Designer Exhibition 4.0, curated by Fatma Al Mahmoud, features the work of 24 individual designers and collectives, presenting their works under the theme For Future Living Spaces.
ABWAB, ‘Of Palm’ pavilion by Abdalla Almulla
Abwab, which translates to ‘gate’ in Arabic, is a platform celebrating design from different areas of the MENASA region. Emirati architect and founder of MULA design studio, Abdalla Almulla. Almulla has created Of Palm, an architectural pavilion centred around sustainability and materiality in times of scarcity. The temporary architecture exemplifies how the palm tree, abundantly found in the local environment, can serve the multifaceted needs of the community.
‘Altostrata’ pavilion by Mamou-Mani Architects
Mamou-Mani Architects and Therme Group present The Altostrata, a 3D-printed architectural pavilion made from biodegradable sugar-based PLA. Eco-cooling walls are made entirely from loofah and a paper pulp modular system, as well as other interactive interventions.
‘Flowing Threads’ installation by Areen
Palestinian textile designer Areen expands her practice through Flowing Threads, an installation embodying symbolism using textiles that are unravelled and reshaped by the designer’s own hands. This meticulous and laborious technique reveals layers that allow the fabric to follow the movement of the wind, accentuating its lightness, whilst the contrast of colour against the muted solidness of its surroundings creates a dynamic gradation of reflections.
‘Naseej’ pavilion by AlZaina Lootah and Sahil Rattha Singh
Naseej means ‘to weave’ in Arabic. Emirati architect AlZaina Lootah and Indian architect Sahil Rattha Singh crafted a wooden pavilion inspired by Emirati traditions and palm fronds, inviting inner reflection, intertwining heritage, sustainability, and architectural brilliance in a captivating tapestry of craftsmanship.
‘CYCLE’ installation by SIBYL Design Studio
The CYCLE installation by Saudi architects Meaad Hanafi and Rahaf Al-Muzaini of Sibyl Design Studio is inspired by the rapid change Saudi Arabia has witnessed over recent years. With a large sliding arm that can be pushed and pulled across a rotating sandboard, CYCLE relies on the collective participation of visitors, where the outcome is ever-evolving and determined by each individual’s spinning of the board and by the imprint of lines and patterns they leave on the sand, picking up from where the last person has left off.
Eco Sand Wall
Conceived by engineer Leena Tatan, The Eco Sand Wall installation was designed and fabricated by architect Dr Aref Maksoud with his students at the College of Engineering – University of Sharjah. It consists of 3D-printed bricks made from PLA (Polylactic Acid), a biodegradable and sustainable plastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane mixed with sand. Plants can grow directly on the wall’s surface by embedding seeds within the brick material during the 3D printing process.
100/100 Best Arabic Poster
The 100/100 Best Arabic Poster exhibition showcases posters from the region that aim to document the Arab world’s visual culture. The 421 independent platform is dedicated to nurturing emerging artists and creative practitioners within the UAE and the broader region. It supports the showcase.
‘Shaking Sanctuary’ by nngg Studio
Patterned canopies draw inspiration from UAE’s native fauna, casting intricate shadows that connect with the local environment. The Shaking Sanctuary installation by nnggStudio honours the resilient species of the Arabian desert while creating a serene urban oasis.
‘Designest’ by Ahmad Alkattan
Each year, Dubai Design Week tasks designers with a competition dedicated to unexpected outdoor furniture solutions. Ahmad Alkattan has imagined a multi-species urban shelter made from glass-reinforced concrete inspired by the historical significance of pigeon towers in the Arabian Peninsula.