Design & Architecture

5 things to look out for Dubai Design Week 2020

Dubai Design Week 2020

Design in the era of Covid-19 takes centre stage at exhibits

Words by Aneesha Rai in Design & Architecture · Nov 12th, 2020

Dubai Design Week 2020 has proven to be a very exciting event this year, as it's the region's first major cultural event to return in physical form since the beginning of the pandemic. Currently in its sixth edition, Dubai Design Week runs from 9th-14th November 2020 this year and has a diverse programme of 150+ events and activities in d3 and across the city. Here are five exhibits that caught our eye:

1. Please Sit Here

Please sit here

As part of American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC)’s ‘Please Sit Here’ initiative, there are three open-air exhibits made by three Emirati designers, Khalid Shafar, Aljoud Lootah and Hamad Khoory. The exhibits were 3 different types of seating options, keeping in mind the current necessity for social distancing and yet the need for interaction in a social manner.

Khalid Shafar's bench is called 'Pop up' and made of thermally modified American maple with thermally-modified red oak. It draws a lot of inspiration from the '80s, 'from the launch of the first space shuttle and the release of the first IBM computers to the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the Cold War. 

Aljoud Lootah's piece 'Jalees' was designed to recognize the primitive characteristics of old outdoor benches that were commonly found around the UAE in most Emirati homes. 

Hamad Khoory's piece was made employing thermally-modified hard maple wood in cuboid modular units of seat, tree, planter and sanitization, modules engage with a linear comb-like base, slipping into and out of the comb, with many possible configurations. 

2. Uae Designer's Exhibit

UAE designer exhibit
UAE designer1
UAE designer2

Scope out the best in local talent at the first-of-its kind 'UAE Designer Exhibition', which spotlights innovative works of 20 locally based creatives, a capsule exhibit of solo work and inter-disciplinary collaborations.

3. The Shape Of Things To Come

Design by Roar
The shape of things to come 1
The shape of things to come 2

The multi-media exhibition ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ curated by Agata Kurzela offers a window into how we will live, work and play in a post-pandemic world, spotlighting the diversity of design talent in the Middle East. 

4. D3 Architecture Festival


Curated with Juan Roldan, Assistant Professor in the College of Architecture, Art & Design at the American University of Sharjah under the theme ‘Identity, Context and Placemaking in the Gulf’, the d3 Architecture Festival 2020 held in partnership with RIBA Gulf Chapter will celebrate the achievements of architecture companies in d3, Dubai and the wider GCC region. It debuted on 11th November and will showcase landmark regional architectural projects, the event will host a physical exhibition and a a series of online talks.

5. Tanween By Tashkeel

Tanween by Tashkeel

Tashkeel will present 'The Tanween Collection' - comprised of UAE-made furniture and lighting pieces combining the country’s traditional crafts and contemporary design debut of 3 new pieces by emerging designers from the 2020 Tanween design programme.

What Else To Expect

Dubai Design Week 2020 at d3 provides over 25 lovely exhibits that you can walk by and interact with, in addition to several workshops that are both adult and kid friendly. From designing chocolate wrappers courtesy of homegrown Mirzam chocolate to wood-working, there are many weekend-specific workshops which one may attend and take advantage of under the Maker's programme. We highly recommend booking the workshops in advance and using the Dubai Design Week app to plan your visit, as it allows you to book the visit and manage visitor work flow. All the talks are virtual, and so is the Downtown Design exhibit.