Dubai Design Week: where to go & what to see

Opening night, urban intervention and ingenious creativity – it’s all here at Dubai's first ever Design Week.

October 22, 2015

You’ve probably driven past those futuristic buildings behind The Dubai Mall and wondered what they are. Well, it’s Dubai Design District or, to give it its cooler nickname: d3.

Next week it’ll be buzzing with some of the top design talent in the world as Dubai kicks off its inaugural Design Week. There will be around 60 events and activities happening around town, but d3 is where the main action will be. 

There’ll be food trucks and pop up stores too so grab a coffee and take a look. 

Global Grad Show

Innovation, genius ideas and stuff that makes you go wow is the name of the game at this project. The world’s best young talent from ten prestigious schools around the world will display their work in categories such as Construction, Health, Home, Memory, Play and Work. 

All work will have their focus very much on the future. Cyril Zammit, head of design at Art Dubai Group, organisers of Dubai Design Week, explains: “You’ll discover what you’ll be using soon in technology, transport or new innovation that will change your life.” If you want to be blown away, go here. 


This project has a local feel, with designers from UAE, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia presenting work under the banner Game: The Element Of Play In Culture.

Abwab will be housed in six pavilions made from polycarbonate sheets the cavities of which are filled with sand. The industrial designer of the pavilions, Hamza Omran from Loci Architecture Design, explains the pavilions will mimic the traditional Mashrabiya while the sand acts as “intelligent climate control”.

Downtown Design

Now in its third year, Downtown Design features the best in contemporary furniture, kitchens, lighting and lots more. The show runs from October 27 to 30 and is a trade show during the day, but the evening sessions from 6pm to 9pm are open to the public. 


You don’t need to go to Beijing, Helsinki, Istanbul, Melbourne, Mexico City or San Francisco to see great design because each city will bring the greatest hits of their own design weeks to Dubai. This project will be hosted by Downtown Design and is also at d3.


Make sure your camera is charged up during Dubai Design Week because you might come across a jaw-dropping installation while picking up your dry cleaning. Artists and designers from all over the world will surprise Dubai residents with their eye-catching work in public spaces.

Urban Intervention: Things [Extra] Ordinary 

LA artist and designer Paige Smith will be in town, creating a trail of extraordinary things around the city. The purpose of Smith’s ‘urban intervention’ style is to elevate everyday objects in places where you would least expect them.

Using paper and resin casts, she builds quirky sculptures onto existing surfaces, creating new and reimagined cityscapes in the process.

While here for Design Week, Smith will also be running a workshop at d3, where members of the public will get to create their own faux-jewel sculptures, using kirigami and mathematical nets. 

Absolut Elyx House

It wouldn’t be a Dubai event without an opening party, and Design Week is certainly not missing that opportunity.

Sponsored by Absolut, Elyx House – an immersive design concept from New York and formerly home to Hollywood great Mickey Rourke – will use its debut in the Middle East to host the opening night on October 26 (guest list only.)

With a focus on creative expressionism and luxury styling, the 2,000 square foot structure in Downtown Dubai will be open to the public from the 27th to the 30th.

Featuring a 10-metre long bar with copper detailing set against raw elements, Absolut Elyx House will be filled with an electic mix of chesterfield seating, festoon lighting and sheer fabrics. One for lovers of raw luxe elements. 

Details: October 26 - 31. Visit