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Dubai Design Week, Dubai. Reconnecting culture, history and people in public space

The sixth edition of the trade fair focuses on the conversation around the COVID-19 pandemic taking place in physical and virtual events across a program of over 150 activities

Dubai Design Week offered a return to the annual arts calendar. The event took place in the center’s designated Dubai Design District (abbreviated as d3). Among ateliers, studios, independent retailers, and the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), the neighborhood opened its doors and outdoor corridors to the industry, discoursing across design themes and mediums.

The d3 Architecture Festival subtitled ‘Identity, Context and Placemaking in the Gulf’ is sponsored by the Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA Gulf Chapter. A data visualization that spans the designated hall showcases internationally connected networks of development companies, architects, and their select projects that have shaped infrastructure and social dynamics across the Gulf region. 1971 – Design Space based in Abu Dhabi presented the exhibition Fashcultivate featuring designers familiar with textiles to celebrate palm trees as a culturally-significant resource in the region. One designer revived historical handiwork in creating fabric made of palm fiber, another collaborated with an artisan to hand crochet a dress with date pits as beads, and others stitched and illustrated fabrics with mythologies about the palm tree, its functions and its fruit. MENA Grad Show is visible at Dubai Design Week which presents the work of design students and academic innovators from across the Middle East and North Africa. The Grad Show showcases five selected projects from thirty-six universities in ten countries. Prototypes of designs confront environmental and social issues, proposing solutions across chemistry and electronic engineering. One student from the Iran University of Science and Technology proposed that cigarette butts be wrapped in reflective material to discourage birds from consuming them. Another project by a student from the American University in Cairo designed a smart city guide for people with disabilities.

Untitled 7 5
The Shape of Things To Come, FLUX, Kristina Zanic, Image Natelee Cocks

This year, the conversation at Dubai Design Week focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing designers respond with models of communal living spaces for labor migrants, re-evaluating the importance of industrial and interior designs for home spaces. A set of actors; designers, artists, architects, and commissioning institutions have begun. The Embassy of Switzerland to the UAE and Bahrain, ‘Reflections of Swiss Innovation’ exhibits iterations of face-mask designs. As part of the Downtown Design section of Dubai Design Week titled ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ invited the industry to propose architectural solutions that maintain physical distancing measures in a pandemic world, planning for pedestrian routes and rooftop gardens. The Abwab Commission was awarded to Iraqi designer Hozan Zangana in collaboration with Generous Studios and Woodcast Designs. Hozan Zangana set out to reconnect culture, history and people in public space. The resulting installation is a system of plinths and seats which feature seven pillars symbolizing the seven Emirates. The title of the piece Fata Morgana refers to mirages that appear in the desert and the materials used are inspired by locally available material – copper as a reference to sand. The piece was placed at the center of the district’s courtyard in an open seat plan, adapted to maintain the social distance protocol. Hozan Zangana’s preliminary inquiry: how can we maintain a connection between culture, history and people in public space – considering the pandemic’s implications?

Taking place from 9 – 14 November, one of the first trade shows to open since early 2020, Dubai Design Week is owned and managed by the Art Dubai Group, staged in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), and supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and A.R.M. Holding.

IMAGE GALLERY

Dubai Design Week
Dubai Design District (d3)
Building 7
Dubai, UAE

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