From 11 to 16 November, Dubai Design Week 2019, with over 200 events, exhibitions, presentations, encounters, talks and workshops, celebrated its 5th year of operation by beating the record set last year, welcoming over 90,000 visitors, about 15,000 more than in 2018.
The festival (created in 2015) was helmed this year by guest curator Ghassan Salameh, designer and former creative director of Beirut Design Week, who set out to pay homage to the creativity and innovation of the Middle East. He also curated the Madar exhibition that brought together a selection of designer projects based in the Middle East.
The nerve center of the program was Downtown Design, the trade show held inside D3, the Dubai Design District, featuring 180 international and local brands (from 30 countries, including Spain and France with a special pavilion for the first time), covering sectors from lighting to complements to facings, including many Italian exhibitors like Arper, Pedrali, Ethimo, Minotti, Mutina and Talenti, just to name a few. Here again, the visitor count was boosted over the last edition: +20%, for a total of 19,000.
Inside the fair, the leading role was played by Downtown Editions, an area first seen in 2018 and devoted to limited editions or works made by hand by already successful designers and emerging talents from all over the world.
The city was full of other attractions, like The Maze, a playful installation to put together like a 3D puzzle; Umbra, reinterpreting the Mashrabiya, the typical Middle Eastern windows decorated with geometric perforations, from which to see without being seen; or the Audi Innovation Hub, an impressive steel structure combined with a gradient screen to create a particular sensation of shade.
Once again, the Global Grad Show has been reconfirm as unmissable appointment of the Dubai Design Week: a gathering for students at design schools, but also schools of engineering, science and technology, from all over the world. On view, degree projects from over 100 universities, with first-time participation from Ghana, Kenya, Colombia, the Philippines and Kuwait.
With the aim of creating innovative design solutions to sustain positive change, around the theme of ‘Simplification,’ the Audi Innovation Award Design Contest selected three projects. The winners were Bentos by Ahmad Alameh and Hadi Nassar, a superpolymer that uses nanotechnology to support large loads; Di_Wrapp by Omar El-Dimassi, a patented digital skin for the auto industry that adheres to the surface of any bodywork and can be transformed using a mobile app; and Pincher by the Dodici Gradi, an innovative salt dispenser that makes it possible to control the flow for a simple, intuitive user experience.