Dubai Design Week & Downtown Design 2021 – A Recap

Dubai’s most popular design district, d3, was a a hub of activity during Dubai Design Week. Visitors poured in to witness and experience the multiple unique installations, invigorating and inspiring talks, exhibits, networking events and more. Here is a lowdown from Love That Design’s team on the ground.

Feature image credit: Alex Jeffries

It was a welcome sight to see our favourite design district buzzing away. Just walking past the main buildings at Dubai Design Week, we saw some beautiful installations created and curated by familiar names from the A&D industry.

Kristina Zanic Consultants (KZC) scored once again with a sensuous and delicate walkway feature that marked the entrance to Dubai Design Week in d3. Titled ‘Morphing Nature’, the installation mimics the natural morphing patterns that appear on the Chuckchi Sea after the ice melts, allowing in currents carrying nutrients, heat and biota. The creation was made from glass mosaic by Trend Group, and intended to highlight climate crisis in an abstract way, with an emphasis on the importance of our role in human nature.

Morphing Nature by Kristina Zanic Consultants (KZC) made from glass mosaic by Trend Group

Cosentino partnered with ANARCHITECT to create ‘Context Reflections’, a slow-tech public installation right in the midst of the bustling design district. Stepping inside, you are immediately hushed into darkness (and a sense of stillness), forcing you to allow yourself a moment of calm, giving your eyes the time to adjust. What unveils is an inverted scape of the live action happening right outside the ‘chamber’. Quite breathtaking.

The installation took inspiration from the principles of the traditional camera obscura, and also served as a fantastic showcase for Cosentino’s first-ever carbon neutral surfaces collection, Sunlit Days by Silestone.

Context Reflections designed by ANARCHITECT using Cosentino’s latest carbon neutral surfaces collection, Sunlit Days by Silestone.

Dubai Design Week’s annual themed initiative supported by A.R.M. Holding, Urban Commissions, presents an opportunity for creatives in the region to produce an urban design feature. This year’s theme was PLAY! and the winning commission, Yowalah, was an installation that looked at public spaces in a playful way to safely reinstate social relations and increase happiness levels. Bits to Atoms looked to the farandole, an open-chain community dance, creating a colourful, digitally fabricated, 3D printed chain link system, in a parametric design using locally sourced recycled plastic.

The winner or Urban Commissions, Yowalah

Design studio NIU created a striking installation at the entrance to Downtown Design, in partnership with Fantini Mosaici and Artemide. Titled Thru, this interactive, multifunctional architectural passageway lead to and from the fair’s main entrance, and was built using entirely sustainable materials. A series of angular blocks constructed from eco friendly ‘Viroc’ cement-bonded particleboard panels provided seating and housed the two larger units.

The focal point was Fantini Mosaici’s large mosaic-clad caricature created by Italian artist Antonello Blandi, that incorporates an olive tree. A richly decorated mosaic bandeau scarf drapes from the head to form a chaise where visitors can recline and relax.

Two larger elevations contained selfie pods inspired by traditional circus games. The pods were decorated using avant-garde, mirrored and stripped ‘Barrisol’ stretch fabric and Fantini mosaic patterns. Artemide light features created an aura of positivity and wellbeing, delivering optical illusions.

Thru designed by NIU Studio, with materials by Fantini Mosaici and lighting by Artemide. Photo credit: Alex Jeffries

STUDIOVEE announced a Design Challenge AUD Interior Design Students that would focus on the design of an innovative seating collection inspired by Dubai, its tradition, modern aspects and architecture. The design was to be developed using the principles of ergonomics, smart design and innovative technologies, sustainable initiatives, flexibility of use, Sixinch foam cutting and coating technique. The winning entry, titled INVERT by Nadine Abdelrahman and Marah Bashir, uses the Burj Khalifa and its surrounds as its inspiration and integrates bluetooth speakers in the back, phone chargers, and alexa enabled devices,

INVERT, a custom designed SINXINCH seating and winner of the STUDIOVEE competition with students of American University in Dubai

Outstanding products at Downtown Design 

The Downtown Design tent was once more abuzz. And if you were from the local A&D industry, you would agree that it felt like a massive family get together, with familiar faces everywhere! A walk through the numerous stands revealed several gems.

We were also thrilled to see so many of Love That Design’s brand partners showcase new wares and stage new launches. Click here to see their displays and products.

Stellar lighting

The various ways to be seated

Curious and creative pieces

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