Dubai has designs on becoming one of the world’s design capitals, with the emirate’s credentials on show at the recent Dubai Design Week.

The six-day event showcased the best of the city’s creativity through an extensive programme of events, incorporating keynote speeches, panel discussions, public performances, and educational workshops, in an introduction to the design scene in the UAE.

The centre of activity is the Dubai Design District (d3 for short) a 200-hectare masterplan that aims to position Dubai as a global centre of design, combining the high-growth fashion, luxury and art markets with cutting-edge industrial, product, interior, architectural, conceptual, graphic and digital design. Expected to be completed in 2021, the complex – incorporating a design education institute, studios, offices, galleries, luxury hotels, and central events building, defined by a ‘draped fabric’ concept along a 2km waterfront promenade – will foster opportunities for existing and emerging Middle East design talent.

Mohammad Saeed Al-Shehhi, d3’s chief operating officer, told The Guardian: “This will be a vibrant ecosystem for global design and creativity. Not just another business park.”

The project is the latest ‘sector-focused community’ by business park developer Tecom, a branch of the royal investment vehicle, Dubai Holding. These zones, also including the Dubai Science Park and Internet City, have been developed to drive Dubai’s future knowledge economy, aided by the location of local knowledge hubs and the use of incentives to lure foreign investment.

New additions to Dubai’s design landscape include satellite studios of sector luminaries Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calatrava, among others. Foster is helming the  Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation; Calatrava plans the world’s tallest tower in Dubai Creek, trumping the emirate’s existing, impressive, 828-metre-high Burj Khalifa; while Hadid heads the Bee’ah waste management HQ in Sharjah.

Dubai Design Week returns 13-18 November 2017.


(via The Guardian and Woods Bagot)

Featured image: The masterplan for the D3 (via Woods Bagot)