As the inaugural edition of Downtown Design, the region’s first international design trade fair unfolds, from 29th October to 1st November 2013 Downtown Dubai will be host to a hand-picked selection of international design brands renowned for their quality products and focus on manufacturing craftsmanship. Cristina Romelli Gervasoni, Fair Director Downtown Design shares the vision of the upcoming show.
Further cementing Dubai’s repute as a global design destination, the team behind the hugely successful and critically acclaimed Art Dubai and Design Days Dubai is set to launch its first international design trade fair, Downtown Design. Featuring the very best in furniture, lighting, accessories, flooring, textiles and new technologies, Downtown Design is set to become one of the region’s premier design events. Emphasising quality, innovation and research, the show will seek to highlight contemporary – yet timeless – values in a creative atmosphere to an audience keen to understand design.
Design Carrot (DC): Please tell us about your background in design? Also how did you come to be associated with Downtown Design?
Cristina Romelli Gervasoni (CRG): I was born and raised in Italy, in a flourishing cultural environment surrounded by design and the most famous architects and designers. I started working at Saatchi and Saatchi in Rome, working on key global brands before moving to Bulgari focusing on understanding the importance of quality. After six years, I felt ready for a new challenge and started a freelance career as a strategic consultant for luxury brands and design, I also worked as a professor at the European Institute of Design. After this my passion for travelling and new cultures brought me to Dubai and I moved here permanently after love at first sight!
DC: How does Downtown Design compare to other shows like M&O, LDF and the Milan shows for example?
CRG: Our show is at par with the best of shows. In many ways we will be similar to the world’s leading design events which is why Downtown Design will be unique to the region. A key factor that will set us apart from any other show is the unique atmosphere where exhibition will be held. It is being designed in such a manner that visitors can really experience the core values of the brands.
“There is distinct lack of high quality design events in the region. Despite there being a natural demand, there is currently no design fair of international standard. Downtown Design aims to be major catalyst in the growth of the design industry and Dubai has enormous potential to become a global center for design.”
DC: What is the concept behind Downtown Design and what is its USP?
CRG: Downtown Design is the first design trade show in the region focusing on quality and heritage of the brands it exhibits. Downtown Design will bring together a selection of international design brands renowned for their quality products and focus on manufacturing craftsmanship. Held in a unique venue at the foot of the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, the fair will not only showcase design from some of the world’s top brands such as Vitra and Cassina for example, but also take us behind the story of these respected brands. I think one particular favourite is the Craftsmanship Corner at The Workshop, a live installation by Danish brands Carl Hansen, Fritz Hansen and Louis Poulsen, which will see a craftsman build the classic Wishbone Chair at the event itself. Downtown Design has a packed programme with more than 30 talks and seminars that will take place on site, designed for trade professionals and visitors. The daily series of talks from the exhibiting brands will reveal the stories behind the products, bringing them to life and underlining their importance on a global stage. World-famous designers such as Ora Ito, Ludovica+Roberto Palomba, Pauline Deltour and Giulio Cappellini, will talk about their vision and the latest trends in the world of design.
DC: What can we expect from the first edition of the show?
CRG: The fair is built around three key pillars: learn, experience and discovery. We have hand selected the brands who will be exhibiting based on their companies own core qualities, such as craftsmanship, quality of product, innovation and heritage. We want to transfer the values and excitement behind design. We feel that fairs are an important way for users, both from a trade and consumer background, to discover and interact with design brands from across the world. Downtown Design is a platform from which business can be done, trade professionals can meet and anyone who is interested in design can see at first hand trends from around the world introducing a new perspective on design
“Dubai and the region’s cultural scenes are rapidly growing. As witnessed in all cultural capitals, the growing maturity of the cultural scenes leads to a demand for more specialized interests such as design.”
DC: With Downtown Design what do you hope to achieve for the UAE and the Middle East as a global design destination?
CRG: Dubai is a global meeting point with unrivaled advantages for hosting events – Dubai’s geographic position in the world, easy access and outstanding facilities, all make the city a natural home for global events. The city offers designers, architects and construction businesses countless business opportunities and is a natural location for design brands to locate to. Developments such as Downtown Dubai and initiatives such as the Dubai Design District provide the perfect location and infrastructure for design brands.
“Special installations such as the Temporary Museum of Milano, one of the main highlights of the Milan Design Week, will exhibit outside of Milan for the first time ever.”
Downtown Design runs from 29th October to 1st November 2013. For more information go here. Images supplied.