The leading Design trade show in the Middle East, Downtown Design, returns!

Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Downtown Design returns for its seventh edition championing the growth of the region’s design industry from 12-15 November 2019.

  • Downtown Design, the region’s leading design trade fair, will take place from 12-15 November, as part of Dubai Design Week
  • With increased participation from international brands, this year’s edition will be the most varied yet, with representation from 30 countries
  • In anticipation of Expo2020, the fair will house more country pavilions than ever, including presentations from France and Spain
  • Reflecting the diversity of the contemporary design scene, 100 new brands will be displayed alongside returning exhibitors
  • With a focus on the next generation of regional talent, Downtown Editions, the fair’s showcase for bespoke and limited-edition design presents designers, studios and collectives
  • Guest Curator of Dubai Design Week, Designer Ghassan Salameh to spotlight regional design with “MADAR”, presented within Downtown Editions
  • Catering to the needs of an ambitious design industry, Downtown Design’s Trade Programme has expanded, helping members to forge relationships with brands and decision makers
  • Public visitors can gain complimentary access through the Dubai Design Week app
By Binchy & Binchy

Recognised as the leading platform in the Middle East for original, high quality design, Downtown Design unites international brands with the regional design community, strengthening Dubai as a central meeting point for creatives.

As part of the programming of Dubai Design Week, the region’s largest creative festival, and in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), Downtown Design is housed within a bespoke structure overlooking the d3 Waterfront.

This year the fair presents a fresh selection of brands and feature areas, providing a dynamic environment where design meets opportunity.

Installations will feature throughout the fair, highlighting design creativity from around the world:

  • Preciosa will present their large-scale interactive installation Carousel of Light
  • Technology artist Anthony James will bring his dynamic glass and LED sculpture Icosahedron
  • Global architecture practice LWK+ Partners will present an interactive space that reflects both the heritage and modernity of the studio’s home base in China.

Downtown Design’s Trade Programme continues to address the needs of the competitive design industry, helping members raise their profile and forge industry relationships.

Featuring a series of networking events and privileges, designed to help design professionals make the most of the fair’s platform, it facilitates opportunities for architects and interior designers to connect with peers, brands and industry influencers.

Tasca 4D

2019 Fair Highlights

For the 2019 showcase, Downtown Design has engaged three award-winning design teams to help to remaster the fair’s layout, executing concepts that demonstrate the sophistication of regional design firms.

Wilson Associates, Swiss Bureau and XBD Collective have been tasked with bringing creative elements to the fair’s public areas, including the bar and the café.

Key brands return to the fair including Arper, whose ranges are inspired by their design ethos, playing with the versatility of essential forms, and Atelier Swarovski, who will present a collaboration with Spanish designer Tomas Alonso.

Brands showcasing their designs to the Middle East for the first time include:

  • Pedrali, who will display their colourful, contemporary design furniture from Italy
  • Czech luxury crystal manufacturer Moser will be engraving personalized vases at their stand
  • North American brand Skram will launch a contemporary chair at the fair
  • Vicalvi will display their innovative and eco-friendly range of high-end floor & wall coverings.

All forming part of a new generation of international brands looking to use Downtown Design’s platform to highlight their presence in the region.

In honour of the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, bespoke rug studio Hands will unveil a piece inspired by children’s artworks.

The proceeds will benefit ‘Senses’, a charity of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

An increase in international initiatives is shown through the country pavilions, which this year expand to include France, presenting brands producing luxury furniture and accessories, and Spain, who will be showcasing brands which spotlight the manufacturing strengths of the country.

Brokis Lucie – Koldova Puro

Downtown Editions Highlights

This year, Downtown Editions will continue to spotlight new regional initiatives, young designers and up-and-coming brands.

Designers presenting works inspired by the culture and traditions of the Middle East include:

  • emerging designer Hajar Abdallah, whose debut installation celebrates the region’s equestrian culture
  • Sharjah-based Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council who will present an outstanding collection of objects developed in collaboration with Emirati craftswomen and leading contemporary designers.
  • Award-winning architectural studio Binchy & Binchy will launch ten new tables inspired by architecture, challenges themselves to determine a design language that is truly Emirati.

Returning to Downtown Editions, Aljoud Lootah, Roudha Al Shamsi, 1971 Design Space and Jeel will present their latest limited-edition work, whilst Taskheel will unveil the outcome of their 2019 Tanween Design Programme featuring designers: Abdulla Al Mulla, Lana El Samman and Yara Habib.

Bringing his designs to the Middle East for the first time, Brooklyn-based sculptor and designer Fernando Mastrangelo will launch a collection of mirrors inspired by the geographic features of Dubai.

New pieces will feature from collectible furniture studios Tasca 4D from Japan, who use the latest manufacturing methods in their designs, and Arijian from South Korea, specializing in handcrafted goods and regional materials.

Guest Curator of Dubai Design Week, designer Ghassan Salameh will curate “MADAR”, supported by d3, within Downtown Editions focusing on regional design and shedding light on the current movements in the design market of the region today.

Ghassan’s curation will highlight the latest productions and innovations of emerging regional designers.

Tacchini Roma – Photo by Andrea Ferrari

The Forum at Downtown Design

In a series of talks and workshops, designed to support design professionals and enthusiasts, The Forum’ offers creative, commercial and strategic industry insights by global and regional design experts.

Themes will range from how to build a business in design, to managing clients in design firms and design marketing.

Highlights include the award-winning Paris-based architect Lina Ghotmeh and India’s leading architect and curator Ashiesh Shah, who both feature on a panel championing the power of design, and multi-faceted interior designer Greg Natale, who will present a masterclass in achieving a successful design business.

Denise Neri, who leads the architectural and conceptual design of Aesop stores worldwide, will lead a panel on the future of retail while Allesandro Minotti of the leading Italian furniture makers Minotti and Dara Huang, founder of multi-disciplinary studio Design Haus Liberty will speak to building design brands with staying power.

Marcus Fairs, founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen will lead a panel discussion exploring the design community’s role as an agent of positive change.

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