The Middle East: between past and future

From 11 to 16 November, Dubai Design Week 2019 offers six days of events, installations, talks and products, narrating and honoring the tradition, creativity and innovation of the Middle East

In the last series, the Spanish photographer Manuel Alvarez Diestro highlights the desert earthy tones that are reflected in the human built mega towers
In the last series, the Spanish photographer Manuel Alvarez Diestro highlights the desert earthy tones that are reflected in the human built mega towers

A voyage to discover the contemporary Middle East, projected into the future but without forgetting a glorious past. From 11 to 16 November, Dubai Design Week 2019 offers six days with over 200 events, exhibitions, talks and workshops, attracting an audience of designers, students, entrepreneurs and lovers of design, architecture and interior decorating to the United Arab Emirates. The festival, launched in 2015 and now at its fifth edition, celebrates the creativity and innovation of the Middle East, guided by guest curator Ghassan Salameh, designer and former creative director of Beirut Design Week.

Downtown Design
Downtown Design, Dubai Design Week

The central focus is Downtown Design, from 12 to 15 November, the trade show held inside D3, Dubai Design District, with 180 international and local brands, from lighting to furnishings, complements to coverings, also with many Italian players on hand like Arper, Pedrali, Ethimo, Minotti, Mutina and Talenti, just to name a few. Inside the fair, there is the return of a second year of Downtown Editions, an area set aside for limited editions and works made by hand by already successful or emerging designers from all over the world. The identity of design in the United Arab Emirates will be the fil rouge: at Downtown Editions, the curator Ghassan Salameh will narrate – in an exhibition – the various passages leading to the ideation and production of design objects in the region, while the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council will bring a selection of products made by regional artisans to narrate the prowess of an age-old all-female tradition.

Global Grad Show, Dubai Design Week 2019
Global Grad Show, Dubai Design Week 2019

Dubai Design Week also offers visibility for young people and schools in the Global Grad Show, from 12 to 16 November, a true gathering of universities of design, but also engineering, science and technology, from every corner of the globe, including the Philippines, Kuwait, Ghana, and Colombia. The thesis projects on view, with their innovative energy, promise a look into the future.

Barjeel, Dubai Design District
Barjeel, Dubai Design District

Among the installations not to be missed, the Dubai Design District hosts Abwab, which means ‘doors’ in Arabic, a series of immersive pavilions that narrate Middle Eastern know-how through interactive multimedia itineraries. Also: Barjeel, coordinated by Mas Architecture Studio of Istanbul, is a six-meter tower inspired by the traditional wind towers of the Gulf, which in the past functioned as ‘air conditioners’ to capture cool external air and convey it into homes. In its debut at Dubai Design Week, Turquoise Mountain, founded in 2006 to preserve historic communities and to support the rebirth and growth of crafts, presents the installation Kabul Old City – A Visual Journey, a multimedia experience of the charm and beauty of Murad Khani, the heart of the old city of Kabul, a project produced in collaboration with Iconem, a startup specializing in 3D digitalization of sites of cultural heritage threatened with extinction.