The creative energy

More than 230 events, successful brands, established designers and emerging young talents: the DDW is one of the most important appointments in the world of design. Mohammad Saeed Al-Shehhi, CEO of d3, explains the growth strategy of the district

Launched in 2015, Dubai Design Week will return in Dubai Design District (d3), with more than 230 events throughout the district and the city. Mohammad Saeed Al-Shehhi, Ceo of d3, explains us the growth’s strategy and the potential of the district that, in a just fews years, has represented a design destination for the Middle East and for the international public of designers, creatives and young talents. 

Launched in 2015, Dubai Design Week continues to grow, cementing Dubai as the design capital of the Middle East
Our partnership with DDW made sense as both entities share several common goals such as supporting the growth of the design industry in the region, shining spotlight on the talents from the region and establishing Dubai as an International design hub. This year 44 of our Business Partners are participating at DDW through hosting pop-ups, talks, workshops, exhibitions. We have a further 19 business partners participating in Downtown Design which really gives testament to the value of this event. We are delight to present a lot of events, like UAE Design Stories with Emirati designers, the installation The Mesh by Emirati designer Roudha Al Shamsi and support thephilanthropic organization Dubai Cares.

In just a few years d3 has become an international design destination.
D3 has a combined workforce of more than 8,000 people working across the district, with around 500 business partners and over 50 retailers. It is one of the most successful commercial developments in Dubai. We are at more than 90% capacity across the 11 buildings in the Design Quarter. Around 45% of our commercial space is occupied by interior and visual art designers, with the rest covering fashion design and architecture. I believe what makes d3 attractive is to be a part of a creative community, to be situated close to companies from architects to fashion designers.

Which is your growth strategy and the potential of the district?
We believe it is important to promote local talent by providing a platform where they can showcase their skillset and works. We have supported homegrown events such as DDW and other key industry platforms, which have spotlighted emerging brands at a local and international level. Our future aspirations are to continue supporting the growth of the design industry in the region, attracting more talent and providing a varied and exciting program of events.

How the design industry is so important in Middle East economy?
The UAE Design Market is expected to reach AED 135bn by 2019, growing at 5% CAGR thanks to positive projections led by Dubai Expo, Dubai Tourism vision (DDFC), and new development announcements such as Dubai Frame and other cultural landmarks. By 2019, the Middle East will need more than 30,000 design graduates for the sector to thrive. In addition to that nearly 90% of the growth in the design industry is expected to stem from architecture, interiors, and fashion, with architecture and interior design considered the most in-demand creative careers. We are seeing unprecedented growth in the design sector in the UAE.

How is important to support the growth of the design industry as a key player for the social change?
Design offers solutions to any problem and through the power of design we can ensure a positive impact on various communities. Collaboration has also proven to achieve greater creativity and improved solutions. At d3 our decision to launch Design for Good is based on these fundamentals. Design for Good is based on three key pillars: the first pillar, Design for placemaking prioritises design solutions that encourage creativity and collaboration in public environments. The second pillar, Design for sustainability establishes that the design solutions presented should maximise long-term economic, social and environmental value. The third and final pillar, Design for empowerment reiterates that design solutions submitted should empower people and challenges perceptions.