The Gulf Today - Time Out - - ART -

DubaiDe­signWeek (DDW), owned and man­aged by the Art Dubai Group and held un­der the pa­tron­age of Her High­ness Sheikha Lat­ifa bint Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice Chair­man, Dubai Cul­ture and Arts Au­thor­ity, staged in part­ner­ship with Dubai De­sign District (d3), sup­ported by Audi Mid­dle East, ended its by-all-ac­counts-the most com­pre­hen­sive fourth edi­tion (Nov. 12 – 17).

Con­sist­ing of 250 events by over 120 par­tic­i­pat­ing com­pa­nies, the fes­ti­val en­com­passed ex­hi­bi­tions, com­mis­sioned in­stal­la­tions, awards and com­pe­ti­tions, talks and work­shops as well as tours and ex­pe­ri­ences for de­sign en­thu­si­asts and pub­lic vis­i­tors.

In his ad­dress on the open­ing day, Saeed Al Nabouda, Act­ing Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Dubai Cul­ture & Arts Au­thor­ity, said: “This event is in line with our man­date to sup­port the vis­ual arts sec­tor in Dubai and pro­vides an ideal plat­form for artists to show­case their work and their tal­ents to var­i­ous au­di­ences”.

Mo­ham­mad Saeed Al She­hhi, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Dubai De­sign District (d3), said: “The fourth edi­tion of Dubai De­sign Week is set to be the largest cel­e­bra­tion and show­case of re­gional de­sign tal­ent to date”. High­lights from the event: Global Grad Show held in part­ner­ship with In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion of Dubai, show­cased 150 projects from uni­ver­si­ties across the world, se­lected based on its power “to ac­cel­er­ate, change and im­prove lives”. The show is a plat­form for the next gen­er­a­tion of de­sign­ers. It brings to­gether life-chang­ing in­ven­tions from the world’s lead­ing ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, cre­ated to ad­dress global is­sues and trends such as cli­mate change, mass mi­gra­tion, data pri­vacy, and age­ing pop­u­la­tions.

New to this year ’s event was the ‘Be­lief in AI’ con­fer­ence, which looked at cre­ativ­ity in the age of Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence and au­to­ma­tion. The Dubai Evo­lu­tion Chal­lenge also made its de­but, bring­ing in­ter­na­tional and UAE de­sign stu­dents to­gether to cre­ate the next evo­lu­tion of a Dubai­in­spired prod­uct or ser­vice.

Down­town De­sign pre­sented a se­lec­tion of es­tab­lished and emerg­ing ex­hibitors, com­pris­ing 175 brands and de­sign­ers, in­clud­ing 40 re­gional de­sign­ers. Over 65 in­ter­na­tional and re­gional brands such as Ar­per, Artemide, Bax­ter, Man­fredi Style, Nor­mann Copen­hagen, Puifor­cat, Jan Kath and Villeroy + Boch, ex­hib­ited for the first time, along­side new fair fea­tures such as large-scale in­stal­la­tions on the water­front ter­race, a pop-up re­tail des­ti­na­tion and be­spoke cafe con­cepts.

Es­tab­lished de­sign­ers such as Aljoud Lootah, De­sign by Hind and Fadi Saried­dine were pre­sented along­side co-cu­rated ex­hibits by the Am­man, Beirut and Casablanca de­sign weeks, fea­tur­ing ris­ing names such as Ay­men Az­zam, Ahmed Khouja and Soukaina Aziz El Idrissi.

Waijh & Omar Nakkash and The Foundry by Tinkah ex­plored a new nar­ra­tive for Made in the Mid­dle East and Layth Mahdi launched his col­lec­tion de­vel­oped us­ing al­go­rithms to guide robotic man­u­fac­tur­ing.

“The Read­ing Bench” by Sak­ina Kara-Sabur and Ali­cia Spol­jar, was un­veiled, where 100 lim­ited-edi­tion pieces were avail­able for pur­chase. All pro­ceeds went to Dubai Cares.

Named af­ter the Ara­bic word for ‘doors’, Ab­wab is an an­nu­ally re­mod­eled ex­hi­bi­tion and ar­chi­tec­tural in­stal­la­tion ded­i­cated to cre­at­ing a plat­form for de­sign from the re­gion. The ex­hi­bi­tion this year took the form of a large-scale tem­po­ral struc­ture, made up of five in­di­vid­ual pavil­ions com­posed of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing fallen twigs and tim­ber coated in re­cy­cled pa­per pulp, de­signed by ar­chi­tec­ture firm Ar­chi­tec­ture + Other Things.

Cre­ated for lux­ury cloth­ing brand Ne­mozena, Liz West’s in­stal­la­tion ‘Aglow’ in­ves­ti­gated the re­la­tion­ship be­tween colour and light. It con­sisted of 169 hemi­spher­i­cal flu­o­res­cent coloured acrylic bowls ar­ranged on the ground in a hexagon shape. Their highly re­flec­tive con­cave sur­faces en­abled spec­ta­tors to see their sur­round­ings in a dif­fer­ent light, while their edges glowed as if charged with elec­tric­ity.

The Next Gen­er­a­tion from the Emi­rates pre­sented a new and fi­nal chap­ter ti­tled ‘De­sign for Lit­tle Ones: Us, Ours & Oth­ers’. Seven Emi­rati de­sign­ers were in­vited to delve into their own child­hood to de­sign a prod­uct con­sid­er­ing pa­ram­e­ters such as safety, hy­giene, dura­bil­ity and eco-friend­li­ness.

DDW part­nered with so­cial net­work­ing gi­ant Face­book through a real-world ac­ti­va­tion set within the heart of d3. Cus­tomised work­shops and knowl­edge shar­ing ac­tiv­i­ties were de­vised to cel­e­brate the Arab cre­ative com­mu­nity.

An ex­hi­bi­tion of fur­ni­ture work de­signed by twelve stu­dents from the Col­lege of Ar­chi­tec­ture Art and De­sign (CAAD) at the Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Shar­jah ‘Pro­toPieces’ ex­plored a spe­cific type of joint or de­tail and the ex­hi­bi­tion showed the com­plete de­sign process.

De­sign-in­cu­ba­tor Tash­keel pre­sented ‘De­sign+Mak­ing UAE’ - a des­ti­na­tion for those cu­ri­ous about the lo­cal de­sign ecosys­tem, that ex­plored de­sign prac­tice in the UAE from con­cept to com­ple­tion.

De­sign col­lec­tive DRAK, based in Dubai’s Ras Al Khor com­mu­nity, con­ducted a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive ti­tled ‘From RAK to DRAK’ with a fo­cus on three com­mer­cial out­lets from the neigh­bour­hood.

Ded­i­cated to telling the story of the Vi­tra orig­i­nals, the in­ter­na­tional road­show ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Orig­i­nal Comes from Vi­tra’ nar­rated the his­tory of the prod­uct with draw­ings, sketches and pho­to­graphs of pro­to­types of the world’s most iconic pieces of fur­ni­ture.

Within the con­text of the Emi­rati-French Cul­tural Di­a­logue, the In­sti­tut Français in the UAE took part with an ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled “Le French De­sign - How In­no­va­tion Cre­ates His­tory”, fo­cus­ing on con­tem­po­rary French de­sign and savoir-faire.

The DDW Main Stage saw in­ter­na­tional key note speak­ers, in­clud­ing in­no­va­tor Daan Roosegaarde, Ital­ian de­signer Paola Navone and Arab satirist Karl Sharro, who ad­dressed di­verse sub­jects across sus­tain­abil­ity, safe­guard­ing cul­ture and what the fu­ture looks like, while glob­ally renowned de­sign­ers, in­clud­ing Ini Archi­bong, Mar­tyn Lawrence Bullard and Marc Ange, head­lined the talks pro­gramme of ‘The Fo­rum’ at Down­town De­sign.

UAE Mod­ern pre­sented a sus­tain­abil­ity con­fer­ence named ‘Peo­ple, Planet, Prof­its’, that in­cluded panel dis­cus­sions and a key­note cov­er­ing top­ics such as ‘Su­per In­ter­ac­tion: in­ter­con­nected trans­port and in­fra­struc­tures’, ‘Cir­cu­lar Economies: adop­tion and adap­ta­tion’, ‘Ar­chi­tec­tural Ed­u­ca­tion from the Per­spec­tive of the Fu­ture’ and ‘Our So­ci­ety in Mo­tion: Com­mu­ni­ties, Re­silience, Place’.

Work­shops for de­sign pro­fes­sion­als as well as pub­lic vis­i­tors of all ages also took place. Lo­cated in a pop-up space in d3 for the du­ra­tion of the Week, the line-up al­lowed vis­i­tors and par­tic­i­pants to en­gage with de­sign process, in­clud­ing irst-hand mod­el­ling, sculpt­ing, weav­ing or sketch­ing via prac­ti­cal work­shops led by UAEbased and in­ter­na­tional cre­atives.

Through­out the week­end (Nov. 16 -17) there was a host of live mu­sic events and DJs at the De­sign Souk, in­clud­ing a live per­for­mance by the Neigh­bours. Pop-up stu­dio Mak­ing Space was ded­i­cated to chil­dren’s work­shops, in­clud­ing 3D print­ing with Ethan & Co and de­sign with sus­tain­abil­ity part­ner Bee’ah, in ad­di­tion to a rolling col­lab­o­ra­tive project with the jam­jar and a de­sign chal­lenge with Des­ig­nathon Works.

This year’s DDW edi­tion syn­chro­nised with other ma­jor art hap­pen­ings. One of them was the open­ing of the Jameel Arts Cen­tre, the new multi-dis­ci­plinary con­tem­po­rary arts in­sti­tu­tion. It hosted a se­ries of ar­chi­tect-led tours while the cen­tre’s sculp­ture park at Jaddaf Water­front fea­tured ‘Water­licht’ pre­sented by Dubai Hold­ing - a dream land­scape about the power and po­etry of liv­ing with wa­ter by Dutch artist, in­no­va­tor and key­note speaker Roosegaarde.

Alserkal Av­enue in Al Quoz hosted a guest ex­hi­bi­tion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Hay­ward Gallery in their se­ries of ware­house takeovers, ex­plor­ing the topic of fu­tur­ism. Other events in­cluded tours by The Fry­ing Pan Ad­ven­tures, invit­ing vis­i­tors to sam­ple the lo­cal culi­nary scene in the al­leys of Karama, com­par­ing cut­lery-free meals from Su­dan, In­dia and Ethiopia while the So­lar De­cathlon Mid­dle East saw stu­dents from ten coun­tries com­pete to cre­ate sus­tain­able so­lar hous­ing through a se­ries of ten con­tests.

Shar­jah saw the in­au­gu­ral Fikra Graphic De­sign Bi­en­nial, a wide-rang­ing ex­hi­bi­tion and cu­ra­to­rial ini­tia­tive ded­i­cated to graphic de­sign saw work­shops, per­for­mances, in­stal­la­tions and a con­fer­ence that ex­plored con­tem­po­rary and his­tor­i­cal graphic de­sign work.

Para­met­ric Sur­faces — Su­per­future De­sign.

Talata, Down­town Edi­tions.

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