Dubai Design Week: 5 Exhibitions/ Designers to keep a close eye on

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Words /  Yosr El Sherbiny


November is an exciting period for Dubai, as the temperature drops and people are seen spending their time outdoors. This year, November is also hosting the third annual Dubai Design Week, a 6-day program of exhibitions, product launches, film screenings, talks, workshops and installations showcasing cutting edge global trends, local talent, and intercultural collaboration across different nodes and creative hotspots in the city.

A magnitude of major events and exhibitions are taking place across Dubai, from architectural installations and design exhibitions at Dubai Design District (D3) to programs and special product launches at Al Serkal Avenue. Here, we take a closer look at some of the most notable exhibitions and artists to watch out for during the Dubai Design Week experience.

Dubai Design Week will be held between 13th – 18th November. To learn more about the programs and their locations, visit






Abwab Pavilion// Fahed + Architects

One of Dubai Design Week’s main feature is the Abwab Pavilion, a unique contemporary design which represents ideas or production techniques rooted in the MENA region. Abwab aims to encourage regional designers to experiment with locally available material to create unique designs.

This year’s experimental pavilion is home to over 40 products from 15 different countries. The temporary pavilion is designed by Fahed + Architects, a firm founded by Indian Architect Fahed Majeed which focuses on sustainability as a core theme in their designs. The firm collaborated with Bee’ah, the leading Sharjah-based waste management company, to source upcycled material for the design, including bed springs and concrete. Inspired by the shape of floating clouds in the sky that invoke hope, the pavilion is fabricated using an interconnecting posts system filled with dynamic springs to create a a coil mesh, distilling daylight and creating unique patterns.  The design is also treated to showcase copper, brown, golden and orange hues, contrasting the surrounding gray color palette of Dubai Design District.

This year’s Abwab pavilion highlights the unpredictable outcome from material that can be easily found in our surroundings, emphasizing on values like recycling and technology.




Abwab Pavilion

The pavilion by Fahed + Architects is made from 100% Recycled Material

‘ Abwab’ in arabic means ‘doors’.

Exhibition Date: 14-17 November, 10 am – 10 pm & 18 November, 10 am – 7 pm

Location: The heart of Dubai Design District (between buildings 4 +6)



Mahad, NADD & Sr // Hamza Omari



One of the advantages of having a design week in a city as diverse as Dubai is witnessing the rise of emerging designers from all over the world. In collaboration with Tashkeel and Design Days Dubai,  High-end jewellery brand Van Cleef & Arpels has awarded Jordanian designer Hamza Omari with this year’s Middle East Emergent Designer Prize.

Hamza is heavily influenced by the traditional principles of regional design found in Middle-Eastern culture during “The Golden Age”, which hosted an abundance of ideological, historical, and material resources that were available locally and underused.

Hamza faced the competition’s design theme ‘Growth’  by creating his product ‘Mahad’ to physically grows in terms of form and function over time, allowing it to be utilized as a trans-generational object. It could almost be said that the object undergoes a character development, like a favorite TV character throughout several seasons. Mahad was created using wholesome materials such as cotton and wood, manufactured using a technique known as ‘bent wood manufacturing’ which allows designers to replicate and mass produce wooden products of various shapes.

Mahad can be used as a baby cradle for a child up to 6-8 months old. As the child grows older, Mahad can be used  as a play seat until the child is 3 years old. The final stages of Mahad is a sofa chair, which can be utilized by the same child who has grown up, to be used in adulthood, and later passed down generations to other children.

Hamza’s Mahad proves that longevity can be a successful and central theme to product design.




Hamza draws his design inspiration from  ‘Al- Sameel’, a Bedouin furniture piece used to turn goat’s milk into cheese.


‘ Mahad’  is the arabic term for ‘ a baby cradle’.

Exhibition Date: 14-17 November, 10 am – 10 pm & 18 November, 10 am – 7 pm

Location: The heart of Dubai Design District

Hamza is also an industrial designer at LOCI Architecture and Design, a boutique Dubai-based firm which is exhibiting the NADD, a modern re-interpretation of the incense burner, for 1971 Design Space’s exhibition ‘Once upon a Design’. LOCI was also invited to exhibit their privacy screen ‘Sr’ at the Abwab Pavilion. ‘Sr’ is fabricated using walnut and multi-polycarbonate sheets infilled with desert sand, creating mashrabiyas that are completely unique from one another.


LOCI Architecture + Design’s philosophical approach is based on architecture and design that is informed by culture, tradition and history, as well as its climatic and geographic context.


NADD – incense burner:


Exhibition Date: 14 – 17 November,  10am – 10pm & 18 November, 10am – 7pm


Location: Once Upon a Design, Atrium, Building 6, Dubai Design District





Sr – Privacy Screen:

‘ Sr  is the arabic word for ‘ Secret.

Exhibition Date: 14-17 November, 10 am – 10 pm & 18 November, 10 am – 7 pm

Location: Abwab Pavilion, Dubai Design District (between buildings 4 +6)

Tincase 01.17 & Grey Area // Reem Al Ghaith of Tinkah



Another rising star is Reem Al Ghaith, an Emirati entrepreneur and international designer who works with printmaking, graphic design, installation art, and photography to express herself, her traditions and her history.

She is also the co-founder of Tinkah Design studio, a multi-disciplinary design firm that creates evolving artistic expressions and creative solutions to a wide spectrum of disciplines. Reem leads the research and content division at the company, creating art which was exhibited in a number of international exhibition centers including Art Basel, the Vitra Design Museum, the Pompidou Center and the Shanghai Expo.

For this year’s Dubai Design Week, the Tinkah team worked closely to launch Tincase 0.17, a re-interpretive product that showcases the traditional tin trunk in a new modern light, using different materials and tones. Tincase 0.17 is designed to be friendlier and more portable, catering to all types of voyagers who are on journeys, whether across new lands, or in transition in any stage in their lives.


Tincase 01.17

Tinkah’s design approach for Tincase 01.17 is the continuous reinterpretation of the functionality of the Tin Trunk

Exhibition Date: 15-18 November, 4-8:30 pm

Location: Tinkah Office, 307 B, Third Floor, Building 7, Dubai Design District

Free Entrance


Tinkah have also teamed up withC37Studio (Mexican Material Development Studio) and Inked, a creative food platform, to create a new FoodxDesign experience called ‘Grey Area’. This limited edition pop-up dining concept is completely achromatic in context. The collaborators experimented with different shades of grey, showcasing the importance of the shift in value of a color or a hue and the importance of light. Light and Hue variations can change a guest’s experience, especially during an experience as routine as dining.

This unique dining experience dives deep into the world of achromatic experience, a world where color is non-existent, from the guests’ dress code to the decor and the customized tableware pieces, and where the guests have to rely on textures, tonal contrasts and taste.



Grey Area

Location: Alserkal Avenue, unit 57 (find the cactus) Al Quoz, Dubai

Exhibition Date: 13-18 November, 8:30+ pm

Reservation is required:


Once Upon DESIGN // Noor Al Dabbagh of Banafsajeel




Dubai Design Week hosts many collaborative efforts between talents in different disciplines that undergo several different challenges, abiding by a design brief or central theme.

Noor Al Dabbagh, a Saudi Arabian design curator and founder of award-winning curatorial company Banafsajeel, found a way to forge relationships and unite designers across the Persian Gulf, the result of her research on ‘reinventing heritage’ which started its first edition in early 2016.

For Dubai Design Week, Noor curated an exhibition commissioned by 1971 Design Space called ‘Once Upon Design: New Routes for Arabian Heritage’, challenging Gulf-based designers to push themselves and their designs by exploring different elements of heritage from the Arabian Peninsula, to create the following six design installations:




Ayah Al Bitar X Reem Hantoush – Majlisna, the deconstructed majlis.

Materials: Wood, Textile, LED Lights



Talin Hazbar x Latifa Saeed – Chasing Light, a collaborative installation with Alfakher, a 40-year old Sharjah-based terracotta factory

Materials: Clay, LED Lights




LOCI Architecture + Design – NADD, a modern reinterpretation of an incense burner

Materials: Cardboard, Wood, Glass





COdesign – PALMSCAPES, a play on sound and light installation which tells a particular story from the journey of date seeds, from Medina in Saudi to North Africa.

Materials: Palm Trunks, Organic Plates, Sand, Sound, LED Lights




Diana Hawatmeh – Places We Used to Go, graphic posters and memories of places that the artist and her family used to regularly visit in the 1980s.

Materials: Paper, Metal





Studio Mieke Meijer – Courtyard Culture, the recontextualized architecture of an Arabian Courtyard

Material: Steel, Wood


Noor has a diverse background to include curating, documentary filmmaking, non-profit management and art collecting.

Established four years ago, Banajsafeel is a curating platform that brings Gulf artists and designers in thematic collaboration across disciplines .


Once Upon DESIGN:


Exhibition Date: 14 – 17 November,  10am – 10pm & 18 November, 10am – 7pm


Location: Once Upon a Design, Atrium, Building 6, Dubai Design District


DESIGNEDBYHIND, Is-Dher,  & Mirzam // Sheikha Hind Majid Al Qassimi



A regular in the Art Scene, Sharjah-born businesswoman Sheikha Hind Majid Al Qassimi launched ‘DESIGNEDBYHIND’ in 2011, a brand which focuses on creating porcelain products inspired by traditional Emirati crafts and adornments, but with a contemporary twist. She will be exhibiting her porcelain collections at Downtown Design alongside 150 other leading international contemporary design brands for furniture, lighting, textiles, kitchen, bathrooms and accessories.




Sheikha Hind Majid Al Qassimi’s love started since her childhood sketches and later grew into her artistic vision and leading porcelain business


Exhibition Date:

14 November, 6-9.30pm  Trade and Public visitors

15-16 November | 1.30pm -6pm Trade visitors

15-16 November | 6pm -9.30pm Trade and Public visitors


17 November |1.30pm -9.30pm Trade and Public visitors

Location: Downtown Design Fair, The Waterfront, Dubai Design District



The Arab Design Market is becoming internationally recognized as a fast-growing community with talented designers and locally-reflected products. PostCraft, a creative platform that internationally exposes the work of artists and designers, created a collection curated by Samer Yamani (Syrian/ Spanish designed based in Barcelona) which included pieces by several Gulf-based designers including Sheikha Hind Majid Al Qassimi, with the support of the Odd Piece Showroom.

“Is-Dher” is a collection of vases that showcases Sheikha’s interpretation of the Middle East during different Oil Eras: raw coral inspired vases represented the pre-oil era when the land was untouched; luxurious gold foil designed vases represented  the era when oil was discovered and wealth flourished; and glossy metallic designed vases showcased the post-oil era where the world was lead by technology and looked deeper at sustainability.

Together, the transitional quality of the vases represent the relationship, differences, and impact of oil, as well as its story through history.




Exhibition Date: 13-30 November, 10-7pm (Sat – Ths)

Location: The Odd Piece, Al Serkal Avenue, Unit 65, Al Quoz 1, Street 8



Design by Hind X Mirzam

Dubai Design Week will also be transformed via different culinary experiences – one of them being an aromatic chocolate hideaway where families can take chocolate making workshops and experience new locally-made chocolate tastes. This is made possible under the guidance of Mirzam, local chocolate makers with a chocolate factory in Alserkal where Cocoa, unrefined cane sugars and cocoa butter is used to create the Mirzam chocolate.

The company has also collaborated with Sheikha Hind Majid Al Qassimi, who created a series of chocolate bar wrapper artwork and packaging which was inspired by her first porcelain collection “Tumenah”. The artwork included patterns which interpreted the traditional gold jewellery specially adorned by the women of the UAE for special occasions.




Design by Hind X Mirzam :

Event Date: 13 November -13 December, 10am -9pm

Location: Mirzam, Al Serkal Avenue

To learn more about the chocolate factory tours and workshops, please visit:

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