d3 was founded in 2013, and ten years is a good interval to see things in perspective. What were the initial objectives? Have they been achieved? What are the plans for the future?
Since its inception in 2013 by TECOM Group, Dubai Design Distric – d3 has been a catalyst for the region’s growing creative community and putting Dubai on the global creative map. It was established to be a business ecosystem that enables creative talent and businesses at every stage of their journey – from students to entrepreneurs and multinationals. Today, d3 is a regional address for global brands, as well as local and regional start-ups looking to scale their business. We are home to pioneering events which push the boundaries of design, fashion, art and architecture. The creative economy has been playing a significant role in Dubai for many years. d3 is proud to play its part in securing Dubai’s voice on the global creative stage and supporting the country’s creative visions, including Dubai’s Creative Economy Strategy.
What are, in your opinion, the links/relations between Dubai and the Middle East and the rest of the “creative districts” in fashion, design and the “luxury world” in general (think Paris, Milan, New York…)?
Creative districts mirror the city or region’s art, fashion and design attributes. They serve as a powerful source of inspiration and opportunity for the community, bringing creatives together to engage, collaborate and inspire, while driving economic growth. d3 has led the charge on supporting our region’s creative community, and is now playing an integral role in the global creative narrative. Our share of voice and inspiration – alongside renowned creative capitals – is evolving. We also collaborate with partners in these international hubs, such as with La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, where we presented designers from Paris Week Fashion at Dubai Fashion Week.
What are the sectors and strengths of d3 that have emerged in recent years?
Design and fashion are central pillars of our ecosystem. With flagship events such as Dubai Design Week (in its 8th edition last year) and Dubai Fashion Week, these sectors have seen great success and have very exciting trajectories going forward as well. Architecture and art are also key priorities of our community, and we have hosted various events across these verticals to date. In terms of strengths, our business services and offerings are key. We provide businesses with flexibility, support and a global address to grow. It enables collaboration, which is crucial to the future of the creative sector, and we have been successful with this to date.
What are the future plans for d3? Is it still imagined as a “community hub” where businesses, creativity & people meet?
Our core vision remains to elevate and empower creatives who rethink the regular together. We aim to grow our global imprint by showcasing what our region has to offer while helping global talents and brands connected with regional audiences too. Design and creativity have a great role to play in the economy – be that socially, environmentally or economically. Creativity and design serve as tools to resolving real business challenges, making a real impact, and fuelling innovation.
In 2023 Downtown Design announced that it will be “carbon free” What are your plans concerning sustainability?
Design is fundamentally about critical problem-solving. It has a crucial role to play in sustainability by guiding the development of sustainable products, cities, ideas and methods that enhance the way we live. This is at the heart of our thinking at d3. In 2022, Downtown Design implemented the first wave of carbon neutral initiatives, reducing its footprint to zero on everything directly built and delivered as event organisers. It used existing infrastructures to build stands and features, and recycled all waste generated from the event. We even implemented solar energy to offset our carbon footprint. Additionally, the fair refrained from using single-use plastic in the F&B outlets and went digital with fair collateral, from invitations to catalogues. We’ve pledged a fully carbon neutral event in 2023 and look forward to building on our efforts to reduce our footprint to zero.
Downtown Design and Design Week: dates, news and projects for those events.
The 9th edition of Dubai Design Week will take place at d3 from 7-12 November 2023, alongside Downtown Design, the Middle East’s leading design fair, which will take place between 8-11 November. Curated in strategic partnership with d3, both events will present an exciting programme of individuals, companies and events epitomising Dubai’s commitment to design innovation. The theme of this year’s programme is Urban Cooling, a timely exploration given Dubai will be hosting COP28 later in November.