Dubai Design Week 2016 – What to Expect!

The UAE’s annual celebration of design is back for it’s second edition. Building on last year’s successful debut, yet again, it invites the best in regional and international talent to further a conversation around design and creativity.

From it’s hub at the Dubai Design District (d3), to events, workshops and never-seen-before works of design-art scattered around the city, Dubai Design Week 2016 is set to engage the city and the global creative community. This is our edit of things you cant afford to miss this design Season


A major initiative of Dubai Design Week, Abwab is a series of six pavilions built to celebrate and showcase the work of the most exciting designers, studios and curators from six different countries in the MENASA region.

Abwab, meaning ‘doors’ in Arabic, acts as a direct portal to the region’s local design talent. Curators and designers from each participating country generate never-before-seen design content under one unifying theme, this year’s being The Human Senses.

For 2016, Algeria, Bahrain, India, Iraq, Palestine and the UAE have been invited to present the best of their country’s design. Integrated into the walkways and open areas of Dubai Design District (d3), the Abwab pavilions have been designed by Dubai-based architecture and design studio a hypothetical office.

The Abwab pavilions are bound together through the surface, an intermediate space that weaves between exhibits, extending the dialogue within the exhibitions to the surrounding enclosures. A temporary space for a temporary event. Neither inside nor out. Both enclosed and permeable.

The surface is formed by re-appropriating a greenhouse structure. Wrapped in woven plastic, enclosed between a fields of columns, and delimited by reclaimed rubber flooring. Paths of filtered light convene into pockets for gatherings. Marking the project through colour, form and light, the spaces between the pavilions become environments to gather and converse.


A globally unique exhibition of innovation, inventions and technology that will transform our future, all showcased by the world’s next generation of design talent edited by the award-winning curator Brendan McGetrick. With more than 145 projects from 50 of the leading universities in 30 countries on six continents, the Global Grad Show is the largest and most diverse gathering of designers ever to take place and will offer unparalleled insight into the visions of the designers of the future, and a glimpse into our world as it might be tomorrow.


AXIOM by Ella Jeong, Ellie Hyejin Cho, Matthew Cadiz, Jonah Lu of the ArtCenter College of Design is a weight training system that directs athletes through different types of tactile feedback, by enacting the guiding gestures of a personal trainer. Textile sensors, EMG sensors, and haptic sensors are woven into the suit’s polyester spandex in order to detect the user’s unique anatomical structure and biomechanics, muscle recruitment order, and movements. These activators then transfer data to the Axiom mobile app, allowing users to receive real-time feedback and review after the workout.

Rather than sectioning them off in school-specific zones, at Global Grad Show the works are mixed together and organized according to what a project does, rather than what it is. Exhibits in the Empower section offer new ways to spark ideas and expand abilities. The Connection section is concerned with encouraging exchange and building community. Sustain is a survey of innovative approaches to reducing waste and generating energy.

Blind Guider

BLIND GUIDER by Hui-Chuan Ma, Yan-Jang Cheng, Chih-Hao Wang, Yin-Kai Lee from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology is is an orientation system for the visually impaired that uses Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to announce street names and directions as its users walk on city streets. When the orientation modules installed in guide tiles are touched by an RFID-equipped guide cane, the location-related information is emitted over earphones to provide users with audible directions.


BOTTLE LIGHT by Christoph Kuppert from the University of Wuppertal is a compact, one-litre bottle that functions as both a portable UV water purifier and a camping light. In just 60 seconds, UV LEDs eliminate 99.9% of bacteria in 1 litre of water. A 45° reflector at the bottom provides a simple and glare-free light source at night.

ICONIC CITY: Cairo Now! City Incomplete

The 2016 Dubai Design Week Iconic City exhibition Cairo NOW! City Incomplete gathers for the first time under one roof Cairo’s current design landscape. Cairo NOW! spans fields of design ranging from graphic and typeface design to product and furniture design as well as architecture. The Egyptian capital is home to young designers who, despite the lack of a marketplace or an infrastructure supporting creative industries, turn the city’s trash into new products and revive fading traditions with a contemporary edge. Cairo’s designers today take the city as their muse and as the source of their creativity. The show is curated by Mohamed Elshahed is a Cairo-based architect, independent researcher and writer; he is the Curator for the British Museum’s Modern Egypt Project.

The title takes its inspiration from the infamous visual impression of Cairo’s red brick housing stock in varying stages of completion. The aesthetics of incompletion permeate Cairo’s design culture in content and form.

Cairo NOW! spans fields of design ranging from graphic and typeface design to product and furniture design as well as architecture.


Expanding on its public programme, Dubai Design Week’16 hosts a series of talks focused on architecture and urban development. Spanish neo-futuristic Architect Santiago Calatrava delivers the key-note, addressing visitors and delegates on Iconic Architecture and its impact on environmental, economic and sociocultural aspects, as well as on the wider surrounding urban fabric.

Landscape Fields, In Memory of Zaha Hadid is a talk, organised in association with Zaha Hadid Architects. Panelists engage in a conversation around the late architect’s legacy and work within the Arab world. The talk investigates the conceptual, formal, and structural strategies deployed in various locales to create architecture that, while innovative in its realisation, maintains a deeply rooted and synchronistic relationship with its surrounding context.

3D Modelling – Literally Everything highlights 3D printing. This workshop by Autodesk introduces ReMake, which simplifies what is perceived to be a challenging and complicated process, to allow users – with or without 3D modelling experience – to work on creating 3D top-quality digital models from photographed real-life objects/subjects.

The Future of Product Design – manufactures today are facing a dizzying array of technology and industry disruption allowing nearly anyone to 3D design a new product and 3D print the prototype. The cloud-based platform, Autodesk’s Fusion 360, is at the core of this disruption and is allowing anyone with little or no knowledge of 3D design to imagine, develop and contribute to building a better world! This workshop is specifically targeted at people that are interested in product design.


From a vast array of interactive programmes, we are veering heaving on workshops that extol the art of the letter.

Tinkah is a multi-disciplinary design firm creates distinctive concepts, as well as unique expressions by thinkers, artists, designers and artisans of the region. At their d3 office in Building 7, they conduct a  3-day workshop focusing on the letters of the city where the participant will get to create, experiment and explore with different techniques and tools to develop a unique lettering composition.

Lettering Workshop X Tinkah

FN Designs in Alserkal Avenue presents BYAHE: A Typographic Exloration. Byahe is an exhibition and film screening by design studio Ape Creative. It explores the culture and the craft of hand painted lettering on signage. The core inspiration for Byahe arose out of an interest of hand painted signage usually found on vehicles in the Philippines. Byahe will explore how people connect through their stories, travels and experiences by using elements of typography and design on signage exemplified in collaborative effort of the designers of Ape Creative. The exhibition is a celebration of the slowly dying craft of hand painted signage that often overlooked and or ignored.


Through the production of chairs, pens, lamps or tooth brushes, French designers demonstrate their ability to innovate by grasping the most sophisticated technologies of each generation, which is characteristic of a country where engineering is crucial.

From Philippe Starck to Jean Prouvé, from Pierre Paulin to the Bouroullec brothers, 20 icons of French design presents the most influential creations of French design. The exhibition will display famous productions of French designers, since the late 1920s until the XXIst century. Most of the articles displayed are still being produced and are available to buy, whether online, in galleries or specialised shops.

Building 7 at d3 hosts 20 icons of French ingenuity.


To mark and celebrate her 10 year milestone, Nadine Kanso will be unveiling an exhibition during Design Week. The exhibition is set to take guests on a sequential journey through the last decade of Bil Arabi, showcasing some of her most significant moments over the years. With a long rapport of unconventional projects that constantly feature a fresh and meaningful outlook on art and design, her work has taken many forms and has allowed her to flourish into a recognized regional icon in the design world. Nadine has worked with international brands on art and design projects such as LV, Gucci, Kiehl’s and Cruciani, her work in both photography and jewellery has been auctioned at industry leaders such as Christies, Bonhams and Philips De Purry. Esteemed product designer Samer Al Ameen curates

From art and photography to jewellery, witness the evolution of Nadine Kanso’s unique portfolio


Zeinab Al Hashemi was born and is based in Dubai.  She is a conceptual artist and designer specialising in site-specific installations, spatial art and modern public sculpture. Her work is collaborative and she often experiments with new materials and techniques to create strikingly contemporary works that draw on and reinterpret the symbols and traditions of her Emirati culture.Her practice is driven by an ongoing exploration of the concepts of space and time.  Her works are intriguing and interactive as by deconstructing and reconstructing her chosen medium, she tells a visual story, bringing to the foreground that which would normally be overlooked.

Hexalite  by Zeinab Al Hashemi invites onlookers to explore their environments with unexpected

Hexalite by Zeinab Al Hashemi invites onlookers to explore their environments with unexpected kaleidoscopic views.

Developed as an extension of her acclaimed ‘Urban Phantasmagoria’ exhibition, the installation, a collaboration with Swarovski, is devised around the hexagon, a familiar motif in Al Hashemi’s work, hexalite combines Swarovski crystals and mirrored steel in 33 hexagonal structures, to create an infinite series of kaleidoscopic views.

The structures reveal a shimmering, geometric mirage created by the elegant repetition of Swarovski crystal prisms and triangles coated in the multicolored Aurora Borealis effect. This sparkling Swarovski crystal illusion is a visual expression of the unbreakable connection between people and their environment.


Galeries Lafayette has collaborated with four talented artists to produce innovative designs and creations based on this year’s selected theme of, Through The Lens.
The Galeries Lafayette windows will be unveiled to the public on the 25th September and will be transformed by the selected designers as part of the store’s creative showcase for Dubai Design Week.

‘Through the Lens’ By Emanuela Corti & Ivan Parati

Featured designers include Amer Aldour, Anjali Srinivasan, Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati from Caravan, and Bahar Al Bahar. View the installation until 6 November at Galeries Lafayette, Dubai Mall.


The world’s tallest building plays muse, and the projection screen for a specially created animation, Ascension. Designed by Yusuke Murakami and Tangent, the The animation is a rhythmical journey from the centre of the earth to the surrounding universe. The colourful story begins with lava which ascends the structure through animated layers of minerals, deep sea, sand, buildings, mountains and sky and illuminates the whole building and beyond.

Studio Mr. White, the art driven, visual design company founded in Toronto, Canada and now operating in Dubai and Beirut will also present a special animation created for this event is artistic in nature and uses a Projection Mapping technique adapted onto the world’s tallest LED screen, the Burj Khalifa.


The interactive installation by Think Tank Co. brings people together in a unified playful experience of music and movement across time. The seats feature Sadu print cushions and are shaped like camel saddles, evoking ancient Bedouin transportation methods across the Arabian Peninsula. They are repurposed as swing seats in a circular formation and matched with headsets all playing the same upbeat track.



Takki W Hakki layers various routes, temporalities and elements of nostalgia to create a powerful sensory experience.

For the music, Saudi director Majid Al Essa remixed a well-known traditional Samry song, performed by a group of men with new Western beats. The lyrics are of an original Nabati love poem by Bukhoot Al Marrirecall. This installation is supported by Sharjah’s 1971 – Design Space and can be viewed at the Rove Hotel, Downtown Dubai till 29th October.


The first edition of the show dedicated to reviving the Ras Al Khor Industrial Area as a design hub saw founding members – Khalid Shafar, Khulood Thani, Nadine Kanso and Tarik Al Zaharna – celebrated the wealth of fauna at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary through their métier. For its second edition, DRAK unveils its well-etched mission as it invites new designers to present never seen before works under its theme for 2016, Celebrating Wood.

In collaboration with Eyes on Talents, a Paris-based, invitation only, digital platform that connects innovative brands with creative talents, American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and 1971 Design Space, four upcoming designers were selected across a wide spectrum of design exploration. Lina Younes, Tulip HazbarHind Bin Demaithan Al Qemzi and Hala Kaiksow will explore wood through their commissioned projects.


Surfaces Sonores by Pierre Charrie, presented by Eyes on Talents.

In addition to the main projects, DRAK16 will also present for the first time, an ‘International Projects Selection’. A collective showcase of international projects selected by this year’s official partners, this exhibit will feature the award-winning Aleni seat by David Trubridge presented by the AHEC and Surfaces Sonores by Pierre Charrie, presented by Eyes on Talents.

6 curated, pop-up dinners will be presented at DRAK’s 2016 venue, the Lever Building Materials warehouse in Ras Al Khor.

Dubai Design Week Runs 24th-29th October. For more information  go here



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