Dubai Design Week draws 90,000 visitors

Global Grad Show showcased 150 social impact projects from 100 of the world’s leading universities


Dubai Design Week, held last week, affirmed itself as the region’s largest creative festival, welcoming over 90,000 visitors to Dubai Design District (d3) to take part in over 200 programmes and activities.

Dubai Design Week was held from November 11 to 16 under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
Downtown Design, the Middle East’s leading design fair, saw a 20% increase in visitors through its doors to explore the 200 brands exhibiting from over 30 countries.
Global Grad Show showcased 150 social impact projects from 100 of the world’s leading universities.
Several awards and prizes were announced at Dubai Design Week, including the ICD Progress Prize, the Audi Innovation Award 2019 and the Rado Star Prize UAE.
Staged in strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), with the support of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (DCAA) alongside Audi and ARM Holding, the region’s largest creative festival welcomed over 90,000 visitors to d3 with an extensive programme of 200 activities including talks, workshops large-scale site-specific installations, exhibitions and trade fairs.
Reflecting the city’s position as the regional hub for design and creativity, over 560 designers from across the world took part in the festival that over its five years has become established as a key event in the global design calendar.
Benedict Floyd, CEO of Art Dubai Group, which owns and manages the event, said: “By bringing together designers from across the world and facilitating the immense wealth of creative talent in the region in commercial and non-commercial activities, Dubai Design Week has grown exponentially in terms of programming, audience and the number of participants. This year’s edition reiterates the vast potential for growth in Dubai’s creative industries, and we are sincerely grateful to our partners, sponsors, participants and over 150 volunteers for making this all possible”.
Khadija Al Bastaki, executive director of d3, said: “As strategic partner of Dubai Design Week, we are thrilled with how well-received this edition has been. This year has truly been the best ever — with a significant increase in footfall, d3’s partnership with Dubai Design Week ensures that Dubai is firmly placed at the centre of the creative and innovation-based industries and we look forward to seeing this continue. From the Global Grad Show, which provided a platform for the exceptional talent of 150 projects by international students, to Downtown Design showcasing the work of hundreds of exhibitors, the festival hosted a very high calibre of design installations, activations, talks and workshops bringing some of the best design-related content to Dubai.”
Reflecting Dubai Design Week’s objectives of establishing Dubai as a global hub for social impact design and being a platform to support and promote regional and UAE based designers, three awards were announced during the week:
Global Grad Show ICD Progress Prize Winner: The winning project of Global Grad Show’s ICD Progress Prize was announced as Poleno, a silent drone that helps to rebuild damaged ecosystems by stimulating pollination. Designed by Laura Cragnolini and Juan Jose Martinez Guerrero from Instituto Europeo di Design, Madrid, Poleno is a travelling device that mimics the purpose of a flower, attracting insects through its bright colours and built-in light. The ICD Progress Prize celebrates the next generation of innovators and their commitment to finding solutions for social and environmental issues and awards the winner $10,000 to enable them to further develop their project presented at Global Grad Show.
Audi Innovation Awards 2019: Audi Middle East announced Pincher by Twelve Degrees as the winner of the fourth Audi Innovation Award, responding to this year’s theme of ‘simplification’. Selected from over 2,500 submissions from across the Middle East, the winning project is a physical interpretation of the phrase “a pinch of salt”. Rather than shaking salt and pepper out of a dispenser, the process has been represented through the motion of pinching a lightweight silicon device whereby the opening of the nozzle is precisely the amount that would be released from between your own fingertips. Sahar Madanat from Twelve Degrees received $25,000 in consultancy to develop her project which was showcased together with the two runners up within the Audi Innovation Hub in d3.
Rado Star Prize UAE: Swiss watchmaker Rado brought the Rado Star prize to the UAE offering UAE-based design talent an opportunity to launch their career on the international stage. This year, Rado announced Aya Charife as the winner of the Rado Star Prize with her project Takyeef, an outdoor element that functions as an air conditioner, which can be fixed in a repetitive formation constructed as high and as wide as the area that requires thermal change. Established in various countries around the world, the competition supports young, unestablished designers, allowing them to submit their innovative proposals for a chance to be featured at Dubai Design Week the following year, focusing on the idea of design as something enduring, long-lasting and versatile. Aya Charife received Dh20,000 in prize money and a Rado watch.

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