Within a safe open-air setting in Dubai Design District (d3), the 2020 edition of the creative festival will stage a series of installations, urban interventions, exhibitions and outdoor experiences under the theme of redefining and reimagining the way we will live in the near and distant future.

Responding to the impact of the recent pandemic on the region’s design ecosystem, this year’s Dubai Design Week will offer new opportunities to the Middle East’s creative community, giving centre stage to local and regional talent and reflecting on the role of designers in redefining the way we live in a COVID-impacted world.

The Dubai Design Week 2020 programme highlights include:

Awarded with this year’s Abwab commission for his proposal ‘Fata Morgana’, Iraqi designer Hozan Zangana in collaboration with Generous Studio and Woodcast Designs will address city dwellers’ ever-changing relationship with their public realm. Staged in the heart of Dubai Design District (d3), the concept explores the framework of a modern-day city through an open-plan arrangement of components arranged around a central origin point, featuring pillars symbolic for each of the seven Emirates.

The region's leading fair for high-quality design, Downtown Design 2020 will take a hybrid format, bringing the design community together across physical as well as digital platforms. A new multimedia exhibition, ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ will feature conceptual work by the region’s architects and interior designers as they imagine how we will interact with our environment and each other in the future, including an innovative pedestrian network, a new approach to design for places of worship and the evolution of air travel.

Continuing to support the objectives of the design industry in these challenging times, Downtown Design’s new digital fair, debuting during Dubai Design Week, will connect international and regional brands with the fair’s network of buyers, architects and interior designers. It will be supported by the fair’s industry talks programme, The Forum, which will also be presented online.

A key component of Dubai Design Week’s programme in d3 and leveraging the established Global Grad Show platform, the inaugural edition of MENA Grad Show exhibit graduate projects focused on social impact innovation in the fields of technology, science and design. Featuring projects chosen from over 200 submissions from 35+ universities based in the Middle East and North Africa, the exhibition will be complimented with a programme that supports young talent in sharing knowledge and experiences to advance their professional careers.

Staged throughout the outdoor pedestrian setting of Dubai Design District (d3), outdoor installations and public interventions will respond to the fast-paced changes occurring in our urban environment and the new challenges arising from the requirement of physical distancing. Highlight installations include; renowned Emirati designers, Khalid Shafar, Aljoud Lootah and Hamad Khoory who have been commissioned by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) to create convertible seating solutions designed for the UAE’s continuously adapting urban environment and Jumanah Rizk, who in collaboration with Delta Light will showcase an abstract installation rooted in a contextual exploration of material that cultivates the local and natural resources in response to COVID-19. Multi-disciplinary Kuwait-based Studio Meshary AlNassar has joined forces with global surface brand Cosentino to present a contemporary take on the ancient Persian paradise garden, an antidote for enclosed spaces

In view of the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic and the repercussions on the local creative sector, a new UAE Designer Exhibition will act as a platform to highlight 20 local and UAE-based creatives. Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, Tanween - Tashkeel’s design programme and d3 Edit, a capsule exhibit of solo work and inter-disciplinary collaborations by the Dubai Design District (d3) creative community members will reflect the diversity of the Nation’s creative scene.

The first-ever architectural festival the d3 Architecture Festival 2020 in partnership with RIBA Gulf Chapter under the theme ‘Identity, Context and Placemaking in the Gulf’ will celebrate the achievements of architecture companies in d3, Dubai and the wider GCC region, kicking off with an opening reception in Dubai Design District (d3) on 11 November.

Alongside regional showcases, international initiatives will share insight into their creative communities’ response to the multifaceted issues caused by the global pandemic; With innovation in focus, the Embassy of Switzerland will stage a series of activities including an exhibition titled ‘BYOM (Bring Your Own Mask)’, showcasing a series of 3D-printed works and studies of young Swiss designers rethinking the hygienic mask; and ‘Serres Séparées’, a dining concept inspired by the recent distancing measures and with a focus on the importance of water, energy, and food. Presented by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the interactive dining experience will be staged in a series of glass greenhouses placed in the heart of d3.

The Dubai Design Week Marketplace is a new, outdoor, retail initiative held in d3 on the weekend of Dubai Design Week, 13-14 November. 60+ invited vendors will present a curated selection of the best of Dubai’s artisans, creatives, entrepreneurs, small businesses and food scene, providing visitors with a unique retail experience. Offering original products predominantly sourced and made locally in various fields including fashion, jewelry, homeware, beauty, lifestyle and food, The Dubai Design Week Marketplace will also feature a wide range of fun experiences that will entertain and engage all the family.

The full programme of the week’s live activities including talks, workshops, masterclasses and weekend activities for all ages will be announced soon.