Dubai Design Week 2017: programme and highlights announced!

The 2017 Dubai Design Week (DXBDW) will see over 200 activities staged in locations across the city.

(Cover Image: The Symbiotic Towers – inFORMed Systems presentation by Zayad Motlib, AmorphouStudio)

The free-to-attend six-day event will attract designers, architects, thought-leaders and creatives drawn to Dubai Design Week through a high-calibre design programme including:

  • The fifth edition of Downtown Design, the Middle East’s leading, high quality design trade show featuring 150 contemporary design brands from 25 countries, doubling its size.
  • Global Grad Show, with twice the number of universities taking part; 200 of the brightest ideas brought to Dubai from 90 universities across 40 countries
  • Abwab, returning with an impressive pavilion designed by Fahed + Architects using recovered bedsprings to create a showcase structure for 45 products by designers from across the region
  • A programme of over 90 events taking place at d3, the hub of Dubai Design Week
  • Original content staged by over 80 businesses, designers and organisations across the city including venues such as Etihad Museum, DIFC and Hamdan Bin Mohammad Heritage Centre
  • Talks programme led by Sir David Adjaye, one of the world’s most influential architects, Mauro Porcini, PepsiCo Chief Design Officer, and Elmar Mock, inventor of the Swatch Watch


Tulum by L'Objet - Dubai Design Week



The programme is a vivid expression of the varied and talented design community established in and drawn to the region’s design capital.

Dubai Design Week invites the public to explore the full roster of events taking place, opening up opportunities for thousands to learn, be inspired, network, do business and celebrate the positive impact and potential of design.

Dubai Design Week’s Head of Design, William Knight, says:

The programme we’re proud to launch today is testament to the talent and commitment that exists within Dubai and interest that has been generated globally through previous editions of Dubai Design Week.

The team has been thrilled to work with an incredible range of designers, companies and sponsors to stage an event that is bursting with possibilities for visitors from near and far.”

Dubai Design Week - Beats - Manjari Sahu, Irene Alvarado, Nurie Jeong, Vikas Yadav - Carnegie Mellon University


Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief Operating Officer at d3, comments:

This year’s Dubai Design Week programme truly reflects the talent that is located across the region and within d3, with 50 Business Partners staging events.

Visitors can enjoy an incredible programme throughout the event with workshops, installations and The Global Grad Show which showcases the works of young designers.

Each year, this event is growing in size and reach and it will continue to be an anchor platform for the design community.”


The Ribbon Chair 1965 - Edition Artifor La Galerie Nationale - The Apartment #3 - Pierre Paulin

The Ribbon Chair 1965 – Edition Artifor La Galerie Nationale – The Apartment #3 – Pierre Paulin


Dubai Design Week 2017 is supported by Meraas, who are responsible for a unique portfolio of urban destinations, such as City Walk, The Beach, Boxpark, Last Exit, The Outlet Village, Kite Beach, Bluewaters, La Mer and Al Seef.

All designed to make Dubai and the UAE better for people to live, work and visit.

And Audi, the long-time supporter of Dubai Design Week, which will this year launch the second Audi Innovation Award – a competition for design research and the highlighting of innovative ideas.


Postcraft Maysam Al Nasser Bahrein - The Odd Piece - PostCraft - Maysam Al Nasser


The Dubai Design Week 2017 programme highlights includes key projects

Downtown Design 

The commercial heart of Dubai Design Week and the region’s leading design trade show held at the new d3 waterfront event space.

In 2016, the show attracted 12,500 visitors; over 80% of whom were trade professionals.

Doubling in size this year with over 150 exhibitors from across 25 countries, the 2017 edition of Downtown Design features 70 new high-end international and regional brands and debuts eight emerging design brands from the UAE region.

Global Grad Show

The “Oscars” of graduate design and technology, is the world’s largest and most diverse meeting of design and innovation graduates.

200 projects showcasing the best in progressive thinking on the future of design, science and innovation will be exhibited from 90 of the world’s elite universities.

Those involved include world-renowned names such as:

  • The Royal College of Art, London
  • Stanford University, California
  • RMIT Melbourne


The Armchair by Ahmed Bazazo - Dubai Design Week


Exhibitions at d3:


Dubai Design Week’s exhibition of regional design talent selected by a high-profile international editorial board including Joy Mardini, Max Fraser and Sheikha Lateefa bin Rashid, will be situated at the heart of d3.

Living up to its name – Abwab translates as doors – this year’s exhibition will host 45 designs from 15 countries selected through a process requiring creatives to nominate another designer upon submission; coined as a ‘design dominos’.

The innovative structure, designed by Dubai-based Fahed + Architects using repurposed bed springs sourced from waste management company Bee’ah, will encapsulate Abwab’s emerging, regional designs.

Iconic City

An annual spotlight on a regional city, this year’s exhibition ‘Loading… Casa’ has been curated by Salma Lahlou, who has commissioned new works from a sound artist, graphic designer, photographer and interior architect to portray the city she lives and breathes: Casablanca.

The exhibition will provide an insight into the design culture and atmosphere of one the region’s key hubs for creative industries and manufacturing.


Around the City, Champa nesting tables by Lel, at O'de Rose


GraphicsRCA: 50 Years and Beyond

Exploring the beginnings and possible future direction of graphic design from the world’s leading post-graduate design school, the show is an insight into some of the best graphic design concepts created over the last half-century.

The exhibition features original, rarely seen works from the RCA archive, including designs made at the College by RCA alumni who have gone on to become industry leaders and innovators.

Once Upon DESIGN: New Routes for Arabian Heritage

A curated collection of contemporary product and furniture design from the UAE and the region, commissioned by Design Space 1971 (Sharjah) and curated by Noor Aldabbagh, Once Upon DESIGN marks an important moment as the heritage of materials and process embraces contemporary design in the Middle East.


Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi


Live events, talks and seminars

The live events programme, opening with a keynote by one of the world’s most influential architects Sir David Adjaye in conversation with Emirati commentator Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi – features a host of gatherings, from academic conferences to keynotes from global design influencers such as:


Mauro Porcini - Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo

Mauro Porcini, SVP & Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo


In addition, Audi will host the Innovation Lounge, with a string of talks on innovation.

Daily workshops, staged in association with newly launched d3 co-working space Re:Urban Studio, will host a diverse range of activities for design practitioners and the design curious alike.

Awards: Other highlights include the announcement of the winner of the second Audi Innovation Award, the launch of the next Urban Commissions competition supported by d3 and Dubai Culture

See the full programme on the official website.


Sir David Adjaye

Sir David Adjaye

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