JDEED’s guide to Dubai Design Week

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Dubai Design Week, the Middle East’s largest fair of original design, is quickly approaching. With this year’s focus on supporting Lebanon’s creative community, a large breadth of exhibitions, workshops, installations, talks, and more are set to grace Dubai Design District from 8-13 November. JDEED Magazine takes a look into a few of this year’s programs and will be providing exclusive coverage in the coming weeks.

By Ethan Dincer

The Re:turn by ATÖLYE Dubai

Design agency and creative hub ATÖLYE Dubai will stage a pop-up space in Dubai Design District (d3), presenting a program of talks and masterclasses. Inspired by everyone’s creative potential, ‘The Re:Turn’ pop-up will represent a different stage of the cyclical creative process during each day of Dubai Design Week. ATÖLYE Dubai aims to explore the themes of circular economy, design thinking, architecture, community, biomimicry, and many more in their communal workspace and pop-up.

Refractions by Beyrac Architects x

Using 2700 single-use plastic bottles — representative of the waste produced by 6 typical UAE residents in a year — this collaborative installation brings the plastic crisis to Dubai Design Week. ‘Refractions’ sheds light on our own consumer responsibility, encouraging visitors to emerge from its mirrored corridor with a feeling of control and a simple message of positivity: yes, you can break the plastic habit.

Co-presented by Beyrac Architects and, the installation is a recycled presentation of the installation ‘Reflections’ shown earlier this year. Beyrac Architects, a France-based design firm offering sustainability solutions, recently opened an interior design showroom in d3. is an emerging design studio inspired by sustainability: they create upcycled art, host workshops, and show upcycled slow fashion products.

Pulp Fusion

The exhibition of an ongoing long-term research endeavor by Beirut-based studio Bits to Atoms, Pulp Fusion explores compostable seed carrier structures inspired by pigeon houses found around the Middle East. A holistic exhibition engaging in every step of the process, Pulp Fiction showcases the techniques and prototypes integral to the research. Visitors will be able to investigate all aspects of Pulp Fusion as a construction material– from structures to colors to pigmentation to resistance. Pulp Fusion’s research is based out of Bits to Atoms, a creation lab for architecture and design in Beirut, a multidimensional practice that intersect design and fabrication techniques with coding and computing.

Translating the Fictive

This talk will explore the relationships of realism and narrative through imagined, constructed, and other relevant works within the RMJM architecture practice. Exploring the architect as narrator, the talk will examine how different narratives and media can be used to create new architectural forms while altering understandings of existing ones. A process of communicating and interpreting fictional space, RMJM’s event hopes to inspire creativity looking futures for upcoming works.

Reframing Plastic: Upcycled Quilting Workshop

This hands-on workshop teaches participants how to up-cycle plastic into a modern piece of quilted artwork. The corollary workshop to Dubai Design Week’s ‘Refraiming Plastic’ exhibition, participants are encouraged to bring in their own plastic recycling to inspire treating plastics as a resource and not a waste. Coordinated by Natalya Konforti, a Dubai-based French-American designer and artist with roots in the fashion industry, the workshop is sure to change mindsets.

Third Spaces in the Digital City

Is there still a role for third spaces in the digital city? This free, in-person masterclass by Cristina Mateo, Associate Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design, hopes to find out. Third spaces, such as cafes and libraries, have traditionally been key for the enhancement of human interaction and community building. These age-old spaces are being increasingly challenged by social media and mobility providers such as Uber, removing virtually all physical spaces where people can feel at ease and express themselves freely.

Metamorphosis of a Nomadic Tent

An interactive installation presented by food artist and molecular gastronomist Omar Sartawi, this installation embarks on a temporal endeavor that takes visitors back in time in a showcase of heritage while leaping them into a future of sustainable living. Sartawi uses a hallmark of the Arabian Peninsula, a Bedouin tent, as the object for this investigation, creating a sustainable, interactive, and engulfing experience through a floating tent and his passion of molecular gastronomy. Created using aubergine leather and innovative technology, Sartawi presents two aspects of our collective being: our future-looking selves and our connections to our roots. The installation is presented by Fann A Porter, a contemporary gallery representing a diverse selection of emerging international and regional artists.

Discover more about Dubai Design Week, here!