Dubai Design District (d3) has hailed the success of Dubai Design Week 2020, which attracted thousands of people to the emirate for the first major cultural event to take place physically since the global coronavirus pandemic.
As the strategic partner of the region’s largest creative festival, d3 opened its doors to the world for an outdoor-focused six-day event that complied with the COVID-19 precautionary measures and blended physical and digital events including the launch of the inaugural d3 Architecture Festival in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gulf Chapter. The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) and in5 Design, the community’s knowledge creator and startup incubator respectively, also provided visitors with a range of meaningful experiences during Dubai Design Week.
Underscoring the importance of the event, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth, visited Dubai d3 for a tour of the outdoor installations and exhibitions. This included the socially-distanced outdoor seating exhibit Please Sit Hear – created by three Emirati designers including d3 business partner Aljoud Lootah, Khalid Shafar and Hamad Khoory.
Khadija Al Bastaki, Executive Director of d3, said: “Dubai has successfully concluded one of the first major cultural events to take place in physical form since the global coronavirus pandemic struck and this is a considerable achievement. It took place in exceptional circumstances, but the emirate’s readiness and resilience should provide the rest of the world with hope and confidence that physical events can get moving again.
“Dubai Design Week has grown tremendously in the last six years, establishing itself as an important platform showcasing talent and innovation across art, architecture and design. We are pleased to have contributed to its continued success as the strategic partner for the sixth consecutive year and look forward to building on the growing reputation of the UAE’s creative industries in the future.”
d3 Architecture Festival in partnership with RIBA Gulf
The emirate’s first architecture festival broke new ground in d3. It featured a combination of physical and digital events including live-streamed talks and workshops with some of the region’s top architects, as well as a physical exhibition showcasing works from 39 shortlisted entries across the GCC. Following the success of the event, the d3 Architecture Festival will return bigger and better in 2021.
The d3 edit was a new capsule exhibition, shining a spotlight on the diverse d3 creative community, featuring works from businesses, brands and designers. It included jewellery designer Nadine Kanso’s cross-disciplinary work with third-generation carpet specialist Iwan Maktabi and architect Fadi Sarieddine. There was also an exclusive collaboration of nine designers from nine countries in five continents from Hands Carpets. d3 retailers such as Christopher Guy and Silsal Design also unveiled new products.
Dubai Institute of Design & Innovation
DIDI, the region’s only university exclusively dedicated to design and innovation, wrapped up an eventful participation. Six student projects were shortlisted for the MENA Grad Show, with two highlighted as part of the virtual Global Grad Show.
Amal Hassan Alsuwaidi showcased ‘Shameless’ – a garment designed using biodegradable material to promote climate action. Sana Mohamed debuted her project ‘Inner Voice’, a sound-healing computer mouse that detects human emotions using GSR sensors and plays soothing music.
DIDI students Alhaan Ahmed, Abdulaziz Al Zamil and Heba Naji unveiled ‘Judhur’ – a biodegradable material derived from date seeds. Separately, Alhaan Ahmed debuted ‘Aibo’, a light that allows people to communicate, express themselves and ask for help.
Zinah Ahmad Issa exhibited ‘Hugo’ – an inflatable soft robot that interacts with humans. Final-year student Nikhilesh Mohan showcased a device called ‘Nexus’ that translates the colours of paintings into sounds, allowing blind people to listen to what a painting has to say.
It also debuted FLUSION, a unique exhibition promoting a new design culture of flux and fusion that displayed 12 students, which included prototypes social robots and automated building structures.
‘Made in in5’
Highlighting the startup community’s contribution to the creative economy, the Made in in5 exhibition which assembled a variety of products created at in5 Design’s innovation centre. Using state-of-the-art creative facilities and innovative manufacturing methods, the prototyping labs feature laser cutters, 3D printers and woodworking studios.
The array of products on display included 3D printed face shields produced for Dubai Health Authority to protect the UAE’s frontline workers, as well as a laser-cut lamp, wooden tables, stools and chairs.
in5 also ran short workshops during Dubai Design Week, enabling people to familiarise themselves with the state-of-the-art equipment that is accessible to startups on in5’s incubation programme, as well as students, freelancers, professionals and entrepreneurs enrolled on its membership programme.