Interview with Rue Kothari

What are the highlights of Downtown Design 2016?
This year Downtown Design will exhibit even more new brands than ever before, with many world and regional firsts for the visitor to explore. We will unveil a new installation created especially for the fair by local architect Tarik Zaharna in collaboration with AHEC, that ties in with the fair’s overall theme of sustainable design

How the exhibition is included in the Dubai Design Week circuit?
Downtown Design is the commercial centrepiece, and the largest element of the Design Week drawing leading design professionals from the region and beyond.

What kind of exhibitors will we  have to expect?
We will present a mix of established, international iconic names in design with ‘discovery’ brands that have never exhibited outside of their own countries. From Moroso to Made By Sofa, visitors can interact with a range of new  contemporary products and concepts across product categories ranging from furniture and lighting to bathrooms and kitchens.

Downtown Dubai is one of the leading fairs in Middle East. How do you achieve this goal? What are the next steps?
Downtown Design is the only contemporary, high quality trade fair in the Middle East. It’s our strong curatorial approach both in terms of the types of exhibitors as well as the aesthetics and concepts of the booths themselves, right through to every element of the fair’s overall design that creates a unique and popular visitor experience. Our exhibitors are only showcasing alongside their peers, and we work year round to ensure that we are cultivating an active community of the MENASA region’s leading buyers to attend in greater numbers each year.  This year we sold out all stands by April, but have made the conscious decision not to expand the fair until next year. It’s vitally important for us to grow sustainably in order to safeguard our concept and maintain a successful position year on year.

Have the match with D3 played an important role in this growth?
The Dubai Design District is an integral part of the UAE’s design ecosystem and a symbol of the goverment’s commitment to growing the Creative Economy. Having a focal point for the design industry, that can also accommodate events like Downtown Design and Dubai Design Week, is proving to be a successful strategy in terms of attracting international brands that want to use Dubai as a gateway to explore the opportunities presented by the regional market, and as a dynamic environment to establish their business locally.

The market in the Middle East is evolving continuously. As trade fair, how do you follow it in its development?
Not only Downtown Design helps to create awareness of regional market opportunities but it contributes continuously to its growth and evolution, by creating a credible show model and drawing in a greater volume and diversity of high quality brands and buyers every year.