The sixth edition of Downtown Design, the Middle East’s only trade fair dedicated to original, high-quality design, attracted leading design professionals across the interiors, architecture, retail, commercial and hospitality industries from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
In 2018, Downtown Design grew again, presenting its largest showcase to date. Exhibiting over 175 international contemporary design brands including 40 regional designers, the fair also inaugurated its new platform, Downtown Editions that curates limited-edition and bespoke design by young brands and designers with a focus on the Middle East.
The fair’s fresh creative direction reflected in its new masterplan developed by the award-winning Dubai-based firm H+A. Creating an engaging and inspiring environment, it featured large-scale installations such as Preciosa’s Breath of Light that made its regional debut at the fair and a gold-plated iteration of Marc Ange’s acclaimed work, Le Refuge, that activated the fair’s Creekside terrace along with David Harber’s monumental sculpture, Aeon.
Within the fair and alongside the latest collections, brand debuts and product launches by the most pioneering and innovative design brands from around the world, activations such as the Bishop Design authored House of Negroni pop-up, an indoor landscaped garden by Desert INK, bespoke cafés and an exclusive retail destination offered both trade and public visitors an immersive design experience.
In addition to hosting the fair’s most ambitious talks programme that brought together 33 industry leaders such as international designers Ini Archibong, Matthew McCormick and Martyn Lawrence Bullard with the region’s architects, interior designers and developers at the Forum, Downtown Design successfully launched its workshop sessions for trade professionals. Facilitated by some of the design world’s leading experts such as the colour strategist Carolina Calzada-Olivera of Calzada Fox, Karen Howes, the founder of the Business of Design summit and Marcus Bulter from LinkedIn, the workshops shared tools and skills for design professionals to enhance their creative and commercial proposals.
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