5 Highlights of Dubai Design Week

Running from 8-13 November 2022, here are the installations & exhibits to look out for

08 Nov 2022, words by Aneesha Rai in Design & Architecture

Dubai Design Week

A very important week for Dubai's design enthusiasts, Dubai Design Week kickstarts today and is a much anticipated time for those who like to keep a pulse on the region's design sector. Here are five exhibitions, installations, and talks you must not miss this year, with the theme 'Design With Impact.'

1. Once Upon a Forest

Once upon a forest OBMI

Designed by Us-based architectural firm OBMI, 'Once upon a forest' is an exhibit that plays with the perspective of the UAE’s natural heritage and resilient ecology. Its organic feel takes from the mangrove forests which comprise so much of the spectacular landscape of the United Arab Emirates – bringing the natural mangroves wharfs into the heart of the design community of the 21st century. Visitors will step under the pavilion's floating canopy and become immersed in an exploration of the protection and promise that awaits within the indigenous forest ecosystem.

2. Grounded in Hope

Grounded Design

Designed by Grounded Design Co-founder and Creative Director Bani Singh and Project Manager Jiana Dukmak, alongside lead designers Meher Sahney and Abdul Hazeeb, is the installation 'Grounded in Hope'. Soft hues and natural colours are splashed across the fabric to unveil the narrative. Rendering a habitat to birds and mammals that seek shade and protection, the installation brings to light the importance of responsible architecture in achieving peace and harmony with our planet. The installation aims to inspire environmentally conscious architecture and demonstrate how materials can be rejuvenated creatively and how responsible design can minimise environmental footprints and ensure a better life for future generations.

3. Panels & Talks at The Forum

Pallavi Dean

Featuring some of Dubai's design greats, including Pallavi Dean of Roar Design, Jonathan Ashmore of Anarchitect, Monica Arango of C'est Ici, and Nisrine El Lababidi of Harf Noon Design Studio, there is plenty to see and learn from at Downtown Design's The Forum. The Forum at Downtown Design hosts regional and international thought-leaders, architects, interior designers and key industry profiles on each afternoon of the fair.

Dubai Design Week will host a Design in the Metaverse talks programme, hosted by Dewan Architects, where key industry leaders will explore trends and innovation in the Metaverse and how its technology is now pushing the boundaries of design (11 November). Other key talks, presented as part of Source, Resource, Outsource: DXBDW Talk Programme include: State of sustainability: can architecture enter a viscous cycle, featuring Islam El Mashtooly, OBMI Creative Director and Co-Founder & Principal, FADAA Architecture (10 November). 

4. UAE Designer Exhibition

Among the many highlights of Dubai Design Week’s programme is the much-anticipated UAE Designer Exhibition, a curated showcase of established and emerging regional talent from different design disciplines. Taking place in the Downtown Design tent, the exhibition offers creatives a platform for visibility among leading designers from around the globe, whilst expanding and strengthening their audience and professional network. The space has been designed by the revered Emirati architecture duo at Studio D.04, with a nod to materials used in classical Emirati homes. Within the space will be a dynamic offering by designers such as Fatima Alawadhi, who will showcase The Vault, an installation that references conventional architectural concepts through a simple yet exquisite furniture piece. 

5. The market and workshops

 For the first time, the d3 Design Market by FLTRD will take place across the week offering a retail experience full of homegrown offerings that span from homewares to ready-to-wear, with the programme expanded on the weekend to offer the best in local artisanal products. The Dubai Design Week workshops programme will provide visitors of all ages and levels the opportunity to experience and learn from a range of professionals, from professors of world-renowned institutions to makers who push the envelope in material experimentation and innovative ways of creating. Some notable ones include making vegan leather out of kombucha, zine making, and mycellium experiments.