Abwab, meaning 'doors' in Arabic, is a programme that supports practitioners from the South West Asian and North African (SWANA) region through the commissioning of installations or pavilions which, each year, are thematically remodelled to reflect timely global and regional contexts.

To date, over 180 designers from across the region have participated in Abwab, representing a range of countries including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the UAE.

The 2023 Abwab commission ‘Of Palm’, by Emirati architect Abdalla Almulla is one of the recipients of the 2024 Monocle Design Awards, a global prize celebrating the most inspiring and ingenious products, models and structures and the people who conceive them.

2024 Open Call

For the 2024 edition, Abwab invites practitioners and creatives to submit proposals for installations that present practical solutions, experimental ideas or theoretical insights that address the theme of vernacular architecture and how it can inform regenerative design.

Vernacular architecture is characterized by the use of local materials, climate-responsive techniques, traditions and community-centric designs that are deeply rooted in local environments and culture.

By drawing on these principles and intersecting this with pioneering innovations and new techniques, applicants can present installations which demonstrate how time-honoured architectural methods can adapt and contribute to regenerative design and the development of built environments that are not only self-sustaining, but also foster ecological restoration and cultural continuity.

Cross-disciplinary collaborations are welcome which combine diverse backgrounds, practices and knowledge to better our shared future.

Deadline for Submissions: 30 June 2024


A grant of AED 300,000 will help support up to five winning proposals with production costs.

Submission Process

Applicants are required to complete the submission form below which requires providing essential information and the following documents:

  • Proposal concept statement
  • Portfolio of previous works and CV
  • Proposal image references and renders
  • Use of materials
  • Approximate cost to produce and install the proposal
  • Dimensions, space, and technical requirements
  • Timeline of project completion

Selection Process

Winning proposals will be selected by a jury panel of experts in the design field who will grade proposals based on the predefined criteria, originality of the design and relevance to the open call's theme.

Criteria & Conditions

The proposal must:

  • Demonstrate an evident relationship to the theme
  • Explore contemporary design and architecture while maintaining contextual cultural and geographical relevance to the SWANA region
  • Adhere to a responsible design approach, taking into account sustainable use of materials and production processes, construction, installation and operational processes
  • Incorporate suitable materials for outdoor use, taking into consideration the year-round weather conditions in Dubai
  • Weight of the final installation must be less than 350kg per square metre
  • Be partially or entirely produced in the UAE
  • Adhere to a well-defined timeline for production with the installation ready for the opening of Dubai Design Week scheduled on 5 November 2024
  • Include the thinking and planning for the afterlife and prospects of future deployment and programming

The applicant must:

  • Be able to confirm ownership of all relevant intellectual property rights associated with the submission
  • Be available for virtual calls with the Dubai Design Week team
  • Be present in Dubai to oversee the production and installation of the proposal