Dubai Design Week to return in November with more than 200 events

The annual festival will take place in Dubai Design District from November 8 to 13

Dubai Design Week this year will feature more than 130 exhibiting brands and designers. Photo: Dubai Design Week
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Dubai Design Week will return from November 8 to 13 with an expanded programme of more than 200 events.

The annual design festival – also stylised by organisers as DXBDW2021 this year – features exhibitions, pop-ups, installations, talks and workshops, and is held in partnership with Dubai Culture and Dubai Design District, also known as d3, where most of the festival’s activities will take place.

This year’s programme highlights include an in-person showcase of more than 130 international and regional exhibiting brands and designers, plus a talks programme that will feature more than 50 discussions with global leaders in design, who will shed light on the latest innovations and trends within the industry.

The MENA Grad Show will feature at least 50 innovative solutions from emerging talents within the region. The projects will tackle issues such as desertification, accessibility, child nutrition and waste management. It will take place in-person during the festival.

This year, the Global Grad Show received the highest number of applicants in its history, from more than 470 universities in 70 countries. It will launch its online exhibition on November 8.

Dubai Design Week 2021 will also present architecture-focused exhibitions, including a multimedia showcase titled 2040: d3 Architecture Exhibition, where five architectural firms will present concepts of how Dubai could look in 20 years.

Another programme is the annual Abwab commission, which this year has been awarded to Ahmed El-Sharabassy for his proposal on regenerative architecture and restorative design. El-Sharabassy, who lives in Dubai, has created Nature in Motion, an architectural pavilion modelled on the Dubai desert’s constant motion and reflecting the city’s continuous development.

The pavilion will also host an exhibition titled Pulp Fusion that has been curated by architecture and research firm Bits To Atoms from Beirut, that will look at the human impact on the planet.

This year's Abwab commission has been awarded to Ahmed El-Sharabassy for his proposal on regenerative architecture and restorative design. Photo: Dubai Design Week

Throughout the event in d3, a total of 15 installations and public interventions will be staged for visitors to explore, including works by Emirati creatives titled The WAW Machine, which will greet visitors with cultural sayings and positive phrases in English and Arabic via an “automated vending machine” that aims to “promote kindness”.

For those looking to learn or engage with design a little further, the Making Space programme will include more than 80 workshops under the theme of Paper, Plastic + Play. Its activities will cater to all ages and experience levels, and visitors will be able to experiment with old and new ways of creating, such as pottery, papermaking, soap carving and even reforming plastic.

On Friday and Saturday, November 12 and 13, scheduled gatherings curated by Fatma Al Mahmoud, named Meet the UAE Creatives, will bring the local creative community and the public together, allowing visitors to learn about the artisanal crafts. The makers’ products will also be available at The Marketplace in d3 during the event.

Khadija Al Bastaki, executive director of d3, said that she sees the event as a way to showcase “the ingenuity of d3’s creative community” and present emerging designers from around the world.

“This event has always brought the best of the industry to the forefront, and we look forward to seeing how the 2021 edition expands the design landscape with remarkable foresight and impactful dialogue."

More information is available at

Updated: October 18, 2021, 7:19 AM