Dubai Design Week is back with its third edition, full of unique installations, innovative designs, pioneering technology and inspiring talks by the most ingenious minds from around the world – proving that Dubai isn’t just fashion forward, but at the vanguard of design and architecture too.

The six-day festival at d3 (Dubai Design District) from November 13-18 will have over 200 events (most of which are free) but don’t let that number daunt you – we’ve cherry-picked 12 must-see events for you; from hard-core design enthusiasts, to rank beginners, everyone will find something to keep them engrossed and inspired.

Plus, you’ll also get to tap into your inner creative with hands-on workshops.

Visit for more.

1. Silent Call

Silent Call

This installation by Emirati furniture designer Khalid Shafar (known for his innovative date palm collection of furniture) is a chandelier inspired by mosques, Islamic architecture and the number five, a reference to the number of daily prayers. The numeric symbolism has been incorporated by featuring silhouettes of domes of five mosques from five countries in the chandelier. Each dome has been resized in five sizes and the installation also features a kinetic light installation that moves five times a day, adapting and synchronising itself to each country’s time zone and the prayer call timings.

From November 14-17; 10am-10m and from 10am-7pm on November 18. Ground Floor, Building 7, d3.

2. The Ripe Design Market

The regular market will be transplanted to d3 and will showcase the best of regional start-ups and small design businesses as well as culinary artisans. The market will also have local entertainers performing and workshops for kids. You will get to have your usual fill of organic veggie shopping, too.

From November 17-18; 10am-7pm at d3.

3. Abwab

The Abwab exhibition, a constant at Dubai Design Week, has a single pavilion housing contemporary designs from over six countries (unlike previous years, when it was six pavilions) but it’s the futuristic-looking pavilion itself that will make heads turn: Designed by Dubai-based architectural firm Fahed + Architects it’s made from a mesh of recycled bed springs.

10am-10pm from November 14-17 and from 10am-7pm on November 18. Between buildings 4 and 6, d3.

4. Weltformat DXB

Weltformat DXB

Weltformat is a reputed poster festival from Switzerland. This Dubai exhibition is a collaboration between Tashkeel, Weltformat’s collective of graphic designers, Cairo-based designer Engy Aly and Mobius Design Studio. It will include four poster design workshops, three public talks and a publication and an exhibition of posters created by Mena designers around the theme of Delusions and Errors.

From November 13-18; from 10am-8pm. Ground Floor, Building 5, d3 and at Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba 1.

5. Sir David Adjaye in conversation with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

Sir David Adjaye

The Ghanian British architect, considered one of the world’s top architects, will chat with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi (founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation) about his creative process and inspiration. This is your opportunity to delve in to the mind of the man behind projects like the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo and the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture. Sir David has also has built homes for the rich and famous like Alexander McQueen and actor Ewan McGregor, and has his art installations have been featured at Tate Britain art museum and Venice Biennale. There is no pre-registration for this free event; seats will be allocated on first come first serve basis.

November 13, 7-8pm at the DXBDW Mainstage, Building 4, d3.

6. Grey Area

Grey Area

Creative food pop-up INKED and design firm Tinkah have collaborated to create a dining experience that takes social media’s black-and-white picture challenge to a new level – spend an evening in a world leached of colour. From the customised décor and tableware to the food and the setting, guests will find themselves immersed in neutral colours that have no variation or hues – think Inkwell filter applied on real life instead of to an Instagram picture. The idea is to challenge people to perceive their surroundings and objects based on form, tone and texture instead of colour.

From November 13-18, from 8.30pm at Unit 57, Alserkal Avenue. Dh475 per person includes six-course dinner; guests must follow black and/or white dress code. Call 050 845 1359 or email

7. Architecture and films/comics workshop

Remember the scene from Inception where entire cities are raised, or the blindingly pink hotel in Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel? Architecture plays an integral role in the world-building of films and comics. This workshop by Sharbassy Built Environment Studio will teach you all about it followed by an opportunity for participants to design a movie scene based what they’ve learnt.

November 13-18 at d3. Dh300 per person; email

8. Create your own robot workshop

South Korean robot kit manufacturers Robo Tami have flown down their robotic instructors to conduct these workshops for kids aged five and older (and adults!). The fun sessions will teach participants about critical thinking, enquiry and playful dialogue.

Back to back hour-long workshops will run starting 2pm on November 17 at The Forum at Downtown Design, d3 waterfront. Register online at to get your free access ticket.

9. Dubai


Created by Amrish Patel, founder of Indian design firm Apical Reforms, this installation is a typographical sculpture of the word ‘Dubai’ that is inspired by the city’s landscape – each letter’s undulating form changes to colours inspired by the UAE flag and its multiple 3D layers mimic the movement of ripples on sand dunes.

From November 13-18; from 10am-9pm, between buildings 4 and 6, d3.

10. Elmar Mock

Is invention always a result of necessity? Find out what it takes to create clever new technology at this talk by Elmar Mock, a professional Swiss inventor who developed the ultrasonic welding technique that helped create the Swatch wristwatch. Mock, who is also the co-founder of Creaholics, an invention company that has over 150 patents to its name, will talk about innovation and entrepreneurship in fields of science, design, engineering, electronics and economics.

November 17, from 4-5pm at d3.

11. Prologue


Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard’s free-standing sculpture weighing 1.2 tons and holds over 8,000 amber-coloured Swarovski crystal droplets within its 4m-diameter steel frame; it was first showcased in 2014 at Art Basel Hong Kong. This glowing circle mimics the sun and its endless loop represents new beginnings, life and rebirth.

November 14-17 from 10am-10pm and on November 18 from 10am-7pm; at Centre Core, d3.

12. Global Grad Show

TreeSense, a virtual reality system

This exhibition features some of the most creative concepts dreamed up by design graduates from 40 countries. Check out over 200 projects that incorporate futuristic technology. Our top picks are the All Pet shoe – a football shoe created from recycled plastic; TreeSense, a virtual reality system that transforms your bodily movements into a tree; and Troxes, interlocked origami building bricks created by students at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

From November 14-17; 10am-9.30pm. From 10am-7pm on November 18. At d3 Waterfront.