Reflecting the region’s diverse design scene, Dubai Design Week is the Middle East’s largest creative festival, with a programme and reach that reinforces the city’s position as the regional capital of design.
The free-to-attend festival is an annual meeting point, made up of over 200 events showcasing design talent from Dubai, the UAE, across the wider region and around the world.
The Week covers a diversity of design interests and creative disciplines across architecture, product design, interiors and graphic design and includes a public programme on the weekend for families and visitors of all ages to explore, including performances, experiences as well as children's activities and workshops.
Dubai is a truly unique destination in the Middle East, and the world: A city that embraces the future like no other whilst boasting culture, history and plenty of tradition. From the world’s tallest building to the historic creek-side gold, textile and spice souks, visitors are captivated by the sights, smells and sounds in a place which heart beats for 24 hours a day.
As a city that is constantly on the move and in development, design sits at the heart of what makes Dubai tick. The skyline already boasts icons such as of the Burj Al Arab and a line up of innovative structures and buildings such as The Frame (2017), Jameel Arts Centre (late 2018) and the audacious Museum of the Future (2019). These are set among ambitious infrastructure projects such as the extensive road network and projects reclaiming land from the Gulf. The interiors industry is critical too, and feeds the city, country and region’s desire for well-designed apartments, hotels and work places.
The creative community is recognized as an essential part of the economy and the city’s future success. Not only through a growing array of design courses, and from 2018 Dubai’s very own dedicated design college – DIDI - but through the purpose build Dubai Design District (d3). Acting at the hub venue for the annual Dubai Design Week, the d3 community is the largest in the Middle East and home to architects, designers, makers, fashion and retail businesses, both global and local.
Creative talent is drawn to Dubai for these reasons, and as Emiratis make up a small minority of Dubai’s overall population, so the city is a truly diverse place, shared by people and cultures from across the globe; represented in food, music, fashion and design. With a relatively short history (the UAE was formalised in 1971 with Dubai one of seven emirates) this is a town in a rush to embrace new developments, ways of doing things and most importantly – ideas!
As the focus for Dubai is on establishing and maintaining its world class status across multiple categories – from transport to happiness - the prospect of the World coming to the city is a real and exciting one: Expo 2020 is on its way to Dubai, with the objective of delivering 25m visitors, the city is gearing itself up, developing even greater capacity, not just in terms of resorts, hotel rooms and scheduled flights but tolerance, understanding and challenging preconceptions.
When visiting Dubai the roads will connect your destinations; taxis are plentiful and inexpensive; they’ll take you from the soaring height of the Burj Khalifa, to the beachside-mega project of the Palm Jumeriah, even to the famous dunes of the desert or to watch camel racing. Don’t miss the opportunity to jump aboard a traditional wooden abra to cross Dubai Creek from Bur Dubai to Deira: the old town, where the trading history of Dubai is still alive with stacked Dhow boats visiting on their way up and down the Gulf coast.
Today one of Dubai’s most distinctive experiences is inside – visits to outstanding malls; these palaces of purchase include the world’s biggest mall, Dubai Mall, the region’s only indoor ski slope (Mall of the Emirates) and in a relative recent move, outdoor malls including the supreme City Walk. All are close to the city centre, and there are plenty of smaller and specialist locations too, offering everything from boutiques to bouncy castles.
The hotels, resorts and beach-side developments, from the classic destination that is Kite Beach to the newly instigated La Mer in Jumeriah, the city is able to draw on multiple destinations of night time adventures, a stunning array of cuisine and social options. A well-established part of the experience is a visit to the Marina, a lively spot day and night surrounded by glistening towers and the shimmering water with boat tours, jet skiing, paddle boarding along the Dubai’s long coast – there is action and adventure on offer at every turn.
The city is safe, warm – literally and in its spirit - and welcoming to visitors. Enjoy the ride, stay a while and soak up this extraordinary place.
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