The first major cultural event since the pandemic, Dubai Design Week (November 9 – 14) saw more than 650 designers and creatives participate in a programme of installations, exhibitions, pop-ups, talks and workshops
Much of the programme centred around the main hub – the Dubai Design District. Here, participants could admire Iraqi-born designer Hozan Zangana’s outdoor installation titled ‘Fata Morgana’, the name inspired by a visual mirage often seen at sea or in the desert.
The installation, commissioned by Dubai Design Week, recreated the effect using shiny copper, rammed earth and sand, and each pillar featured a series of layers, each one representing materials from a specific Emirate. The installation also reflected the impact of Covid-19. ‘It provides a safe public space where people can sit down and facing each other at a safe distance,’ Zangana said during the week. ‘We hope this will inspire them to start connecting with each other.’
The annual Urban Commissions 2020 competition, which aims to celebrate UAE’s growing design-conscious urban development, was won by Basta, a modular kiosk selected for its innovative, adaptable and cost-efficient modular design that uses sustainable materials and allows for easy storage, all the while evoking the subtleties of a traditional outdoor market.
Established as part of the Global Grad Show platform, the inaugural MENA Grad Show presented 50 of the most exciting social impact innovations by some of the brightest university students from the region, their designs ranging from an airport route-planner to avoid crowds to a biodegradable fabric made from fermentation and a method to turn palm tree waste into concrete.
Migrants make up 88 per cent of the UAE’s total population, and artist Christopher Benton displayed eight chairs made by them. Sending money to their families at home, migrants spend little, making chairs rather than buying them; materials used include beaded car seats, street signs and paint buckets.