The region’s leading creative festival, Dubai Design Week is taking place from 8-13 November 2021, at its main hub d3 (Dubai Design District), and in various locations across the city. 

This is its most extensive line-up of impactful activities to date with over 200 free-to-attend events for all ages. The diverse program consists of design-related events, exhibitions, installations, competitions, talks and workshops across multiple creative disciplines. 

If you aren’t sure what to attend here out the 5 must-visit features for this year’s line-up: 

The UAE Designer Exhibition 2.0 is showcasing the work of 25 emerging and undiscovered creative talents, based in the UAE and producing locally. Taking place within Downtown Editions, the exhibition will feature a wide selection of creative subjects from different levels of expertise, including design research, students, makers, artisans and independent startup practices. You can expect to browse fabulous furniture pieces, homeware handmade accessories, traditional crafts, as well as contemporary home design pieces using 3D printing amongst other items.

Abwab translates to ‘doors’ in Arabic and is an annual key feature at Dubai Design Week dedicated to commissioning work from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia with the objective to promote the region’s talent and stimulate cultural exchange. The 2021 Abwab commission has been awarded to Dubai-based architect Ahmed El-Sharabassy for his proposal titled ‘Nature in Motion’, Responding to this year’s theme of regenerative architecture and restorative design, the pavilion structure references the Dubai desert’s constant motion, emulating the city’s continuous development and evolution. A must-see, it is in the form of a public space that is multifunctional and multipurpose and built of sustainable and recyclable bamboo and sustainable fabric. 

Making Space will offer over 80 hands-on workshops facilitated by independent makers, designers and small businesses working in the UAE. It is the perfect opportunity to experiment around the theme ’Paper, Plastic + Play’. Each activity has been curated with people and the planet in mind, and an emphasis on environmentally friendly materials. Fun yet educational participants will gain insights into the materials’ potential and refresh their creative practices. From a chance to make a giant paper flower through the art of origami to candle making workshops, there is something for every age group. 

The second edition of the MENA Grad Show will showcase the 50 best social impact innovation projects from the brightest minds coming out of the region’s universities. The young graduates from universities across the region are all present to showcase and explain their work in the fields of technology, science and design. Last year this was one of the most-talked about features, and you definitely don’t want to miss it as you can learn about the ideas behind their work and also understand how students in different disciplines, from architecture to chemistry and electric engineering, approach complex social and environmental problems.

The Marketplace is an exciting shopping experience with a curated selection of 80 of the city’s best artisans, creatives and small businesses, presenting high-quality, handcrafted and responsibly sourced products for you to browse and purchase. Located outdoors, it has a buzzing atmosphere and is the perfect way to spend a few hours with friends and family enjoying the cooler weather. From mouth blown glass and to ceramics, and unique hand-crafted designs, this is your chance to discover and support homegrown brands. There will also be plenty of food trucks including African vegan food and Mattar Farm meats to enjoy.

Visitors can download the free Dubai Design Week app to discover the full program, gain access to Downtown Design and to be kept updated on the latest health and safety guidelines. For more information, please visit:

Words by Saira Malik

Images courtesy of Dubai Design Week

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