Details of waterfront Dubai Design District unveiled ahead of Cityscape Global 2014

The d3 project spans 21 million square feet and will include high-end galleries, open-air installations, boutique shops, hotels and a range of entertainment venues.

The project spans 21 million square feet and will be located in the heart of Dubai, adjacent to Business Bay. Courtesy TECOM Investments
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DUBAI // A stunning new waterfront featuring luxury shops, restaurants and hotels will form the centrepiece to a design district that aims to become the focal point for creativity in the emirate.

Dubai Design District, or d3, is to become the meeting point for work and play for the creative and design community by combining business, retail, residential and visitor attractions and facilities.

The project spans 21 million square feet and will be located in the heart of Dubai, adjacent to Business Bay.

“D3 has been designed as a unique concept,” said Dr Amina Al Rustamani, the chief executive of Tecom Investments, the project’s master developer.

“From the very start we have worked with leading global figures as well as local talent from across the spectrum of the creative industries to ensure we can provide the right facilities and infrastructure suitable for both international brands and emerging regional designers.”

It will be a purpose-built neighbourhood specifically for the creative community and developed in collaboration with the community, he said.

And the development will offer an “unique” experience to designers, tourists and the public.

Among the key features will be a 1.8km waterfront with hotels, boutique shops and restaurants and other entertainment venues. There will also be a business zone with office space for 10,000 workers in the design, fashion and luxury sectors.

A “creative community” will house 4,000 designers and crafts-people, while there will be a variety of luxury, four-star and boutique hotels as well as furnished apartments, with more than 4,000 rooms.

More than 2.5 million square feet of d3 will be retail space spread across the district as it becomes the new home for Dubai’s art scene.

Artists will be able to display their work in high-end galleries, pop-up showcase and open-air installation spaces as well as in workshops and studios.

A series of low-rise contemporary apartments will provide easy access to the new development.

The district will also host a packed calendar of events, ranging from large-scale design festivals to street theatre.

The first phase of the office and retail space is expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2015, when plots of land will become available, said Dr Al Rustamani.

“Our creative communities also told us that they wanted d3 to be a full lifestyle experience, so d3 will be alive both day and night, offering a vibrant atmosphere with edgy boutiques, entertainment and retail concepts, and the kind of credible, cutting-edge creative events more often found in London, New York, Paris and Milan,” she said.

“We have experienced an overwhelming response from the market since d3’s launch was announced last year.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with global and regional developers to build the future for Dubai’s design, fashion, art and luxury industries.”

The master plan for the project will be unveiled on Sunday at Cityscape Global 2014.

The developer hopes the project follows the example of similar creative hubs around the world but in time grow into one that is unique to Dubai.

The concept has already been welcomed by many within the fashion industry.

“D3 is truly a visionary concept,” said Raza Beig, chief executive of Splash and Iconic-Landmark Group.

“With Dubai racing to be the top retail and fashion destination in the world, this project is truly Iconic. Landmark Group looks forward to seeing this platform becoming the creative pulse in the region and especially promoting the budding regional talent in fashion and design.”

Azza Al Qubaisi, an Emirati jewellery designer, said d3 would be the perfect platform to allow designers to establish themselves in the region.

“What impresses me the most is the effort taken to hear and research from the designers to figure the gap and overcome it in the different stages of the project,” she said.