The region's first creativity festival is set to take place in Abu Dhabi later this year.
Dubbed Semi Permanent Middle East 2021, the event is being launched by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi in collaboration with Semi Permanent, a creative experience company known for hosting annual design festivals.
The in-person event will be held at Manarat Al Saadiyat from Thursday to Saturday, October 14 to 16, and will bring together global talents from across the fashion, design, retail, branding and technology industries.
The festival will be curated around the theme Bridges, aimed to inspire solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
“Partnering with Semi Permanent is a strategic move to further establish and elevate Abu Dhabi’s presence as a hub of retail design, business and creativity, continuously creating opportunities for the industry,” Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, executive director of DCT – Abu Dhabi, said in a statement.
“As a headline event, we are tapping into an internationally recognised brand partner in Semi Permanent and signalling our intention to host a gathering of creative forces from every corner of the world.”
The event’s guests will include British-born Oscar- and Grammy-winning songwriter, record producer and DJ Mark Ronson, who will appear in a panel discussion and perform a DJ set.
Also on the bill will be the official release of an exclusiveAbu Dhabi bespoke collection from Rotterdam objects designer Sabine Marcelis, who has previously collaborated with Celine and Burberry.
Turkish-born, Los Angeles new media artist Refik Anadol will also stage an exclusive large format installation in the emirate; The Flower Shop NYC will host a dining pop-up; and Aaron Rose of La Rosa Social Club will debut in the Middle East alongside a host of world-renowned contemporary art-makers, including Tom Sachs, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Barry McGee.
“Abu Dhabi’s rapid cultural growth into an international epicentre of art, design and technology, and its gateway-positioning for the wider Arab world, Africa and Asia make it the perfect host,” Murray Bell, founder and creative director of Semi Permanent, said.
“Through a series of internationally renowned art exhibitions, hotel openings, and collaborations with some of the world’s most respected architects – including Jean Nouvel and Bjarke Ingels – it is clear this is a community with limitless imagination.
“The challenges of 2020 have meant there has never been a better time to design a future we can be proud of, together. We’re excited to bring some of the world’s most inspiring people to this infinite place, and for them to explore new ideas and possibilities with you at Semi Permanent Middle East.”