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The Vogue Guide to Dubai Design Week 2017

“Prologue” by Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard for Swarovski. Photo: Christopher Pike

Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), the fifth edition of Dubai Design Week kicks off on Tuesday. Featuring indoor pop-ups, innovative installations, and one-of-a-kind exhibitions, this year’s edition of the six-day design extravaganza is set to cement the city’s status as a diverse and creative design hub in the Middle East. Here, Vogue Arabia decodes the can’t-miss installations, exhibits, and more from 2017 Dubai Design Week. Plus, don’t forget to check for even more Design Week coverage.


Swarovski is exhibiting “Prologue” by British designers Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard – a large-scale, outdoor installation dreamed up with 8,000, glittering topaz-colored crystals – to celebrate the opening of its new creative center in d3. Created by the London-based designers in 2014, this is the first time the luminous, circular sculpture will be displayed in the Middle East. The designers describe the installation as “a shared understanding of material, concept, and form.” They add: “‘Prologue’ explores this with the pure simplicity of its circular structure, allowing us to feel a primeval connection with the sun, with life, and with new beginnings. The juxtaposition of heavy, raw, industrial steel with the sparkling luminosity of precision-cut crystal is the latest installment in the ongoing story of our collaborative vision.”

Gafla Jewellery’s structure designed by Abdalla Almulla

This year’s DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize high jewelry design finalist Gafla Jewellery will be showcasing its latest collection, Baraag Gafla, a collection inspired by traditional Emirati jewels, within a geometric, high-shine structure designed by Emirati architect Abdalla Almulla. The collection combines thin sheets of 18ct gold, diamonds, and gemstones to shed light on the decades-old jewelry worn by Emirati women.

Apical Reform #mydubai (@amrish_apical_reform)

“Dubai’s greatest qualities: its innovative spirit and its regard for its culture and nature reflect in this city sign. I am really excited it is finally being shared with the people. We’ve made this with great love and d3 has been a champion of this work from the very start. The MyDubai city sign is a canvas for self expression. This city icon is dedicated to Dubai, its people and visitors!” wrote Amrish Patel in the caption of his MyDubai installation reveal on Instagram. Don’t forget to check out (and snap a selfie) with the larger-than-life red sculpture that spells out everyone’s favorite hashtag (#MyDubai) located between buildings 5 and 6 in Dubai Design District.

“Silent Call” by Khalid Shafar

“Silent Call” is an installation designed by Khalid Shafar in collaboration with Lasvit, which celebrates the Athan – the call to prayer which occurs five times a day. The installation features five iconic mosques from Russia, Malaysia, Germany, Denmark, and the UAE, using the silhouette of their domes as a chandelier. A kinetic light installation adapts to the country’s timezone, synchronizing it with the timing of the actual five prayer times.


Abwab by Fahed + Architects

Abwab (which means “doors” in Arabic) is returning with an impressive pavilion designed by Fahed + Architects, using  bedsprings sourced from a waste management company to create an oversized structure. The pavilion will house 45 products by designers from 15 different countries across the region. The designers for the exhibition were selected by an international editorial board, which included Joy Mardini, Max Fraser, and HH Sheikha Latifa bint Rashid using a “design dominos” method, which requires creatives to nominate another designer upon submission.

“Cabinet Talisam” by Maysam Al Nasser from Bahrain

BD Barcelona, one of the world’s leading artisanal interior brands, is celebrating creativity in the region with a selection of works called PostCraft Collection, in collaboration with five emerging GCC-based designers. These include Her Highness Sheikha Hind Majid Al Qassimi from the UAE, architect Maysam Al Nasser from Bahrain, Kuwaiti interior designer Loula Al Radwan, and architect brothers Abdulrahman and Turki Gazzaz from Saudi Arabia. Each designer will showcase their work in a different gallery in their respective country, including The ODD Piece (UAE), Alriwaq Art Space (Bahrain), Contemporary Art Platform (Kuwait), and Athar Gallery (Saudi Arabia). The PostCraft collection is curated by Syrian-Spanish designer Samir Yamani.

“Iconic City” by Zineb Arraki

As the annual spotlight on a regional city, “Loading… Casa” has been curated by Salma Lahlou, who has commissioned new works from a sound artist, graphic designer, photographer, and interior architect to portray Casablanca. The exhibition will provide an insight into the design culture and atmosphere of one the region’s key hubs for creative industries.

Weltformat DXB by Tashkeel

Design enthusiasts are invited to explore the different poster trends in Switzerland at Weltformat DXB. A collaboration between Tashkeel, Weltformat (a collective of graphic designers from Lucerne), Cairo-based designer Engy Aly, and Mobius Design Studio’s Design House, this year sees the first exhibition of the Weltformat Swiss Poster Festival in Dubai, which showcases the work of Swiss designers and the poster medium in all its facets.

Indoor Pop-Ups

The Super Design Market features a curated range of contemporary design brands and products. The lineup includes Vitra, with Alexander Girard’s collection of wooden dolls inspired by his collection of folk art, as well as T-shirts made in collaboration with Sauce and Dina Fawakhiri that pay homage to Arab icons Adel Emam, Fifi Abdo, and Zeinat Sedki. Pieces by MoMA, Papier Tigre, L’Abitare, Phaidon, Tashkeel, and Brand Inc are also available to buy.

Around the City

“The Spinning Top” by Ayah Al Bitar

DRAK (Design Ras Al Khor), a collective initiative established by three UAE-based designers (Khalid Shafar, Khulood Thani, and Nadine Kanso), returns this year with Industry to Luxury. The weeklong exhibition spotlights industrial and mass-produced materials sourced from the Ras Al Khor area that have been recreated to produce luxury products. Additionally, DRAK will show four main design projects by emerging UAE-based designers Aya Al Bitar, Omar Nakkash, Ammar Al Attar, and 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize accessories finalist Farah Nasri.

Downtown Design is the only platform in the Middle East for the region’s professionals to discover a edited lineup of international design. Returning for the fifth edition of Dubai Design Week, the trade fair will take place at d3.

DRAK Unveils Its Plans For This Year’s Dubai Design Week

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