Launched in 2014 to celebrate the UAE’s growing design-conscious urban development and to engage with the local design community and manufacturing industries, Urban Commissions is an annually themed Dubai Design Week initiative, supported by A.R.M. Holding, that presents the opportunity for creatives in the region to produce an urban design feature.

This year’s Urban Commissions is themed around PLAY! In the face of recent global challenges and repeated lockdowns shifting the nature of interaction between people and public spaces, the commission calls upon creatives, designers and architects to look at these areas in a playful way to safely reinstate social relations and increase the levels of happiness for users through an interactive public space intervention, which will be produced and unveiled at Dubai Design Week in November.

For the 2021 edition of Urban Commissions, Dubai Design Week called upon creatives in the region to submit their concepts for a creative installation or urban intervention, accessible to children and adults alike, to act as a social space for people to play safely together. The winning proposal will be announced with the full Dubai Design Week 2021 programme, end of September.

Supported by A.R.M. Holding, the 2020 edition of the Urban Commissions design competition called on the region’s creative community to propose designs for a key component of the inaugural edition of the Dubai Design Week Marketplace. The winning proposal was ‘Basta’ by Emirati-designer Reema Almheiri and Saudi-designer Lujain Alatiq.

The design competition has received over 500 submissions to date. Previous winners of the commission include IDO bench designed by Anna Szonyi; a hybrid shelter and bicycle storage by Hinjal Kumar; the communal table ‘MuTable’ by SuperFutureDesign*; and the water feature ‘Fayyd’ by Khalid Al Tamimi, supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and Dubai Design District (d3).