• The Middle East and South Asia’s only collectable design fair was opened by HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and had a visit from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai.
• The design fair welcomed more than 13,500 visitors
• 625 people attended the fair’s expanded public programme of talks and workshops, sponsored by Dubai Design District.
• The most diverse fair to date with design from 37 countries including a record number from the Emirates and MENASA region.
Design Days Dubai, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and held in partnership with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, wraps up its fifth edition as its most successful to-date.
The Middle East and South Asia’s only collectable design fair was opened by HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with a weekend visit from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai and many other local and regional dignitaries.
Design Days Dubai, which presents purchasable and highly desirable contemporary design, closed its doors on Friday (March 18), having staged a record-breaking fair for 2016; attracting increased visitor numbers of 13,500 people and having featured 185 designers from 37 countries and more than 750 pieces of collectible design on display.
Returning to the prestigious temporary location of The Venue, next to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, in Downtown Dubai, Design Days Dubai has the continued generous support of returning sponsors: French high-jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels, Emaar, Audi and Dubai Design District (d3).
Design Days Dubai’s fair director, Cyril Zammit, said: “We are proud that in Design Days Dubai 2016 closes as the most successful edition yet. The fair saw the highest visitor numbers and was again the world’s most diverse international design fair. The mood within the fair across exhibitors and visitors alike was electric in its positivity, the public programme well-attended and exhibitors reported strong sales. With a record 50 percent of design on display was from the UAE and MENASA region, Dubai has again reinforced its position as the regional centre of design and we look forward to continuing that fantastic momentum throughout to return in 2017 for our 6th edition.”
A successful show for exhibitors
Exhibiting galleries and solo designers reported strong interest and sales over the course of the fair, citing the fair’s increasing development of broad international and regional networks which, for the first time this year, included a dedicated professional buyers preview (targeting architects, interior designers, specifiers) and an #Empty bloggers/instagramers preview, as well as the popular annual ladies and VIP collectors previews.
First time solo exhibitor Loulwa Al-Radwan, Kuwait, said: “It’s a great platform for someone like me and has given me great exposure. It’s the first time that I have exhibited as an independent designer and I feel that I have really benefited. I’ve made contacts, sold some pieces, have met many new galleries and I’m now also looking at some possible future collaborations.”
Demonstrating the importance of Design Days Dubai as a platform for reaching a global audience, the fair welcomed 5 all-female designers of Saudi Design Week (presented by the new King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Dammam), a group show of 8 Shanghai-based designers supported by UNESCO Creative Cities (Shanghai) Promotion Office and 14 Dutch designers under Dutch Creative Industry, all for the first time; and, welcomed back Crafts Council (UK) with selected works from 11 rising stars and established designers and 3 locally-based designers from Tashkeel’s Tanween design programme.
Anabelle Gersigny, Strategy and Partnership Development Manager of Tashkeel, said: “It has been a fantastic fair – the response to our designers has been overwhelming. We are excited to be launching the next year of the Tanween Programme from a springboard of energy and enthusiasm for design in the Middle East that is so apparent at Design Days Dubai.”
For 2016, Design Days Dubai extended its free-to-attend public programme which, in partnership with d3, saw participants experience, engage and interact with design on many diverse levels: from discussing design processes, theory and trends with designers from the world over, to getting hands on in workshops, to sitting down with designers one-on-one in Design Days Dubai’s one-of-a-kind mentorship sessions. Over the course of the fair, 625 participants took part in the public programme, its highest turn-out yet, which included a packed auditorium for the fair’s opening keynote with world-renowned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.
“As the fifth edition of Design Days Dubai come to a close, we’re thrilled to have once again been part of what is a leading global fair that supports the region’s local emerging talent. Our commitment to this cause, and our support of activities such as the public programming, Urban Commissions and WASL exhibition is vital to the development of the art and design industry, and is also central to our core vision of nurturing and facilitating the growth of these sectors,” said Mohammad Saeed Al-Shehhi, d3’s Chief Operating Officer.
In addition to the public programme, the fair’s unique outreach programme welcomed 32 school and university groups from the UAE, Iran, Lebanon and Oman, further opening the doors to design to the younger generation.