25 global design experts respond to topics critical to the architecture and interior design industries in 2019. Exploring the Culture of Collaboration, Innovation in Design and Livable Cities, Downtown Design’s public programme presents the audience with a stellar schedule of talks.

Presented at The Forum at the heart of the Downtown Design fair, the talks programme will encompass intellectual and informative discourses designed to engage with and uplift design professional and enthusiasts. Downtown Design’s mission to give a platform to diverse voices, insights and opinions reflects in our considered choice of speakers and topics.

The Culture of Collaboration - 13 November and The Hands of a Designer - 14 November, respectively
The award-winning designers Ini Archibong and Matthew McCormick speak for the first time in the Middle East, offering insights into the merits of a well-considered creative code-share, and the growing confluence of artisanal making and the high-tech in contemporary design. 

Breaking Ground: New Design Markets and the Road Ahead - 14 November
Mohit Gurjal, the acclaimed Indian architect and CEO of India’s leading premium real estate developer DLF joins Dara Towhidi (Foster + Partners), Janus Rostock (AECOM) and Ewa Juszczyk (Benoy) to explore how design practices can better respond to the unique demands of emerging design economies by exploring not only their understanding of these markets, but also their approach to design – creatively, culturally and commercially. 

Fashioning Experience beyond Borders - 14th November
L.A based celebrity interior designer, Martyn Lawrence Bullard has designed homes for global icons. From clients and collaborators, to the wealth of global artisans and technicians whose craft he finds new relevance for in a contemporary world, Hollywood’s favourite interior designer continually champions diversity. At Downtown Design he speaks about the critical importance of inclusion in the design industry. 

Cities 2.0: Designing the Future, Now - 15 November
Known for their astute commitment to sustainable design, Tariq Khayyat, Head of Region, Middle East at  Zaha Hadid Architects, Matthew Utley, Associate Principal, Grimshaw Architects, David Lessard (H+A) and Baharash Bagherian (SEE Nexus) are at the helm of pioneering projects that will change the way we live and interact with our environment. Given the specific demands of our region and a pressing need for wider conversations on well-being, the path to the cities of the future has afforded our panellists some hard learned lessons. At Downtown Design, they share their experiences in the quest for building more resilient communities. 

Going Regional: Local Distinction for Global Brands - 15th November
Responding to new challenges, the hospitality industry evolves from creating luxury to delivering one-of-a-kind experiences for the well-travelled, discerning guest. Culture, is the new experience, butbalancing the established global identity of an international brand with regional relevance is a fine act. Beat Fornaro (Design Hotels), David T’Kint (Hirsch Bedner Associates), Henrik H Christiansen (Alshaya Enterprises), Isabel Pintado (Wilson Associates) and Tal Danai (Artlink) explore considered design aides hospitality projects in speaking to its setting, whilst remaining true to their globally recognized image. 

Women & Design: In the Driver’s Seat - 15th November
From design stars and decision makers, to leaders of global design firms, women in design are telling new stories and bringing diverse perspectives. Downtown Design hosts leading names in design and architecture as they discuss a more equitable world and what it means to be a woman in design circa 2018. Featuring: Chetana Andary (UAP), Nadia H. Bakhurji (NB Architects), Sumaya Dabbagh (Dabbagh Architects). 

Creating the Extraordinary - 15th November
From designing luxury cars and iconic works for brands like Jean Paul Gaultier, Prada, Louis Vuitton and more, to his own furniture brand, LJ Edition, the LA-based designer Marc Ange is the undisputed master of reinvention.  Emotion and memory feature heavily as muses as he revitalizes spaces via his micro and macro interventions. Speaking for the first time in the Middle East, he talks about the possibilities when the lines of art and design, fantasy and function are blurred. 

New to Downtown Design, this year’s programming will feature workshops exclusively for design professionals. Facilitated by industry experts and opinion leaders, these close-knit sessions will tap into progressive design ideologies to help industry professionals enhance their creative and commercial proposals. Facilitators include: Carolina Calzada-Oliveira (Calzada Fox), Karen Howes (Taylor Howes), Marcus Butler (LinkedIn), Oliver Baxter (Herman Miller), and Molly Dolan (Sleeper) and others. 

See full programme here.

Register as trade for free access within trade hours here.

Download the Dubai Design Week app for complimentary fast-track access within public opening hours. Onsite registration for public is AED 55.