Dubai is a hotbed of creative activity, packed with creative events throughout the year. With the World Expo 2020 just around the corner, plans are underway for many impressive installations showcasing design and artistic talents. If you are looking for exciting creative events, Dubai is certainly the place to be.

The city had already gained an impressive reputation for excellence in design and the creative arts. However, since being named as one of the Creative Cities of Design by UNESCO, it is even more of a must-visit for lovers of the creative scene. In November 2018 alone, several high profile design events took place in the city. The line-up of creative events in Dubai gets better every year, and nothing demonstrates that more than Dubai Design Week.

Twenty-five per cent bigger and better than the previous year, Dubai Design Week 2018 was a resounding success. The extensive programme saw 250 activities taking place throughout the city, drawing more than 75,000 culture fans from around the world.

A focal point of the event, Downtown Design, welcomed 16,000 visitors and presented 175 brands.
The fair featured Downtown Editions; a platform for one-off designs and limited-edition pieces created by studios, design collectives and individual creative design professionals from around the world. The aim of the event was to highlight Dubai’s creative design achievements and encourage emerging talent, as one of the major annual design events for the region.

At Downtown Design 2018, visitors were able to enjoy a dynamic series of industry talks and presentations, luxuriously set along the waterfront terrace. Stunning installations included French-Italian designer Marc Ange’s impressive ‘Le Refuge’ and David Harber’s sculpture ‘Aeon’.

Another one of the key highlights of Dubai Design Week; Global Grad Show, involved universities from around the world to come together and showcase 150 of the most innovative projects. As well as have its first ever AI conference through a combination of in-person seminars which was live streamed and had more than 70,000 participants come together to tune in and learn about the infinite possibilities of Artificial Intelligence.

Parametric Surfaces by SUPERFUTUREDESIGN* also attracted significant interest for its installation exploring how digitally enhanced virtual reality affects our lives. Other large-scale design installations included ‘The Gate’, the entrance to Dubai Design Week created through a partnership between designers Paola Navone and Abet Laminati.

Nevertheless, it was not all about the big and bold; there were plenty of small exhibitions to capture the imagination and give visitors an insight into the history of design in the region and beyond. A presentation by eight Emirati designers and photographers depicted local creative journeys in UAE Design Stories: The Next Generation from The Emirates, while the Institut Français brought us Le French Design: How Innovation Creates History.

The Audi Innovation Hub was showcased by the Middle East Architecture Network (MEAN*). An installation made from reclaimed car tyres highlighted the importance of looking after the planet, as well as creating an aesthetically pleasing entrance to the hub. The winner of the annual Audi Innovation Award was also announced at the event – Lebanese designer Elias El Soueidi was chosen from 65 submissions with his ‘Ruin to Reality’ app. The concept of the app is to explore how damage to our environment, impacts on our sense of history and belonging. By allowing users to revisit old and disused buildings through 3D modelling and virtual reality headsets, they can reconnect with their surroundings and appreciate local history. El Soueidi received a grant of $25,000 to develop the application.

With Dubai Design Week growing and attracting even more attention every year, there is already a buzz in the air about 2019’s creative events in Dubai. Watch this space for more details!