The first major cultural event since the pandemic, the festival saw over 650 designers and creatives participate in the programme of installations, exhibitions, pop-ups, talks and workshops.

Mindful of the challenges faced by the creative community and the design industries, Dubai Design Week's 2020 programme, spotlighted the region’s creative talent and addressed the role of the creative community in redesigning and rethinking the way we live.

From exhibitions and pop-ups to installations and workshops staged at its main hub in Dubai Design District (d3) and across the city, Dubai Design Week offered design experiences for people of all interests and age groups.

The programme featured new initiatives this year, one of which the UAE Designer Exhibition presented works of 20 locally-based creatives. The roster of events also featured over 25 outdoor installations throughout Dubai Design District (d3), including; This year’s Abwab commission ‘Fata Morgana’, a conceptual framework in an open-plan arrangement featuring focal pillars representing each of the seven emirates, staged at the centre of d3 by Iraqi designer Hozan Zangana in collaboration with Generous Studio and Woodcast Design. Exploring adaptive solutions for the UAE’s urban landscape, the project ‘Please Sit Here’ by American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), presented convertible seating solutions designed by renowned Emirati designers Aljoud Lootah, Khalid Shafar and Hamad Khoory.

Designed by Emirati and Saudi architects Reema Almheiri and Lujain Alatiq, ‘Basta’ the winning proposal of Urban Commissions 2020, supported by A.R.M. Holding was unveiled at the inaugural Dubai Design Week Marketplace that featured 70+ of Dubai’s best artisans, creatives and entrepreneurs in a new outdoor setting. Visitors enjoyed a range of experiences from unique F&B concepts and fun fashion to homegrown décor concepts and artisanal chocolates.

Continuing its role as a conduit for the region’s design industry, Downtown Design’s hybrid 2020 programme connected design professionals across digital and physical activations with the multi-media exhibition ‘The Shape of Things to Come’, featuring 25+ of the region’s architecture and interior design studios. The exhibition featured plausible solutions to reinvigorate and enhance the Middle East’s cityscapes and offered a window to the future of how our environments could be designed and experienced.

Complemented with a virtual talks panel featuring industry leaders, the new Downtown Design Digital Fair connected creativity with commercial opportunity for 150+ participating brands from around the world.

Established as part of the Global Grad Show platform, the inaugural edition of MENA Grad Show presented 50 of the most exciting social impact innovations by some of the brightest university students from the region; from an airport route-planner to avoid crowds or a game to explain the value of politics to a biodegradable fabric made from fermentation and a method to turn palm-tree waste into concrete.