Public Programme at Dubai Design Week

Downtown Design

Public Programme at Dubai Design Week

The Dubai Design Week Public Programme offers design professionals and enthusiasts alike the opportunity to engage more closely with design through leading figures, established platforms, diverse practices and creative talents.

The Programme includes keynote speeches, talks, presentations, panel discussions, master-classes, workshops and family activities.  It also brings local, regional and international design professionals together to constructively discuss the global design industry.

Intellectuals, educators, leaders, historians, designers and makers, all share their insights into what informs the present development of design as well as its future trends.Their interventions and inputs in the programme are curated and focused on different themes which form the basis of the following conversations, discussions and talks:


Designers as Cultural Leaders

Beyond the policies and strategies, the management and entrepreneurship, the social impact and economy, designers and design professionals in this panel discuss the productions and projects that represent their methods of thinking, experimenting and advocating Culture through Design. They depict the many cultural contexts of design through their practices and programmes.

Moderator: Ayeh Naraghi

Panelists: Rawan Kashkoush. Salem Al Qassimi. Zainab Al Hashemi. Elias Anastas.

Monday, 24 October 2016, at 18:00, Building 4, Atrium


Restoring the World’s Oldest Library

On the occasion of 2016 declared the Year of Reading in the UAE, Aziza Chaouni, the architect who restored of the world’s oldest library in Fez, Morocco, delivers a keynote address that highlights the intersection between the two creative industries – Design and Literature – introduced through the Qaraouiyine Library that was founded in 859.

The Qarawiyine complex (which consists of a mosque, university and library) is considered the oldest existing, continually operating educational institution in the world according to UNESCO, and the first to award degrees. The creation of the Qarawiyine complex was the brainchild of a woman and resident of Fez, Fatima El-Fihriya, who wished to make knowledge available to all residents of her city and beyond.  By adapting and restoring the library’s historic buildings to meet the needs of local users, Aziza Chaouni has extended and developed Fatima El-Firiya’s legacy.

Monday, 24 October 2016, at 19:00, Building 4, Atrium


Landscape Fields; remembering Zaha Hadid

In this talk, organised in association with Zaha Hadid Architects, panelists engage in a conversation around the late architect’s legacy and work within the Arab world. The talk investigates the conceptual, formal, and structural strategies deployed in various locales to create architecture that, while innovative in its realisation, maintains a deeply rooted and synchronistic relationship with its surrounding context.

Through the lens of a selection of projects within the region, panelists also explore themes of landscape and environment as both performative and representational attributes.

Moderator: Rand Abdul Jabbar

Panelists: Tariq Khayyat. Saleem A. Jalil. Nada Taryam.

Tuesday 25 October, at 18:00, Building 4, The Atrium


Iconic Architecture and the Urban Development

In association with Expo 2020 Dubai

Spanish neo-futuristic Architect Santiago Calatrava will address visitors and delegates on Iconic Architecture and and its impact on environmental, economic and sociocultural aspects, as well as on the wider surrounding urban fabric. 

Calatrava has been selected as the designer of the UAE National Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. His cutting edge design is the latest stage in a 150 year old tradition of architectural vision at World Expos.

Tuesday 25 October, at 19:00, Building 4, The Atrium


Urban Development in the Absence or Presence of Iconic Architecture

The set of dynamics and criteria dictate the various models of the urban development in the Arab countries, in the absence or presence of the development of iconic landmarks.

Following the keynote by the starchitect Santiago Calatrava, this talk looks at the commonalities and differences of the applied approaches, and how those approaches influence a structured or an unstructured urban development in the cities of the respective countries.

Moderator: Sultan Sooud Al Qassimi

Panelists: Santiago Calatrava. Aziza Chaouni. Mohammed Elshahed.

Tuesday 25 October, at 20:00, Building 4, The Atrium


Transformations: The Emirati National House

A conversation between Yasser Elsheshtawy, curator of the UAE National Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia 2016 and Adina Hempel, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Zayed University. Drawing from the book "Transformations: The Emirati National House”, the discussion will focus on the exhibition, and the research of the transformations of the Emirati national house through the years.

Wednesday 26 October, at 18:00, Building 4, The Atrium

 DDW 1

Islamic Art, Architecture & Design

Reviving Master Craftsmanship

In this illustrated talk, Art Historian Abdul Karim Crites discusses his work over the last fifty years on mosques around the world; Masjid al-Haram, Makkah Sharif, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, and Federal Territory Mosque, Kuala Lumpur, and the impact these buildings have on the revival of the endangered art and craft traditions. Crites, who has worked with more than 2000 master inlay artisans and carvers to create ornamental and calligraphic panels for his mosques' projects, highlights the crucial role these gifted artisans can play in contemporary architectural projects across the Islamic world and beyond.

Wednesday 26 October, at 19:00, Building 4, The Atrium


Contemporary Practices of Islamic Design

Between the preservation of the Traditional and the reinvention of the Modern, panelists and moderator engage a lively discussion, introducing what diverse components of their own design contemporary practices and projects qualify as Islamic.

Moderator: Dr Woodman Taylor

Panelists: Abdul Karim Crites. Dr Farouk Yaghmour. Manal Ataya. Eric Broug.

Wednesday 26 October, at 20:00, Building 4, The Atrium


Growing design communities

Emerging Design Weeks play an invaluable role in identifying new talent and in supporting more established homegrown brands, providing a crucial moment where design communities can be created or reinforced.  For many, developing a strong design week is also a critical step in readying a city or nation's design scene for the competitive international stage.

The panel invites speakers from emerging Design Weeks, as well as others from the more established ones, to share their strategic directions and tactical actions that are put in place to achieve the ambitious goal.

Moderator: David Michon

Panelists: Halla Helgadóttir. Maria Isabel Roig Llorca. Metasbia Yoseph.

Thursday 27 October, at 18:00, Building 4, The Atrium


Beauty Matters

"Beauty is a fundamental expression of our humanity, of who we are — if we deny beauty we deny our humanity and we deny our future."

David Trubridge takes us on a journey that begins with the origin and migration of early man, and makes stops along the way to show how beauty has always been a part of art and survival. We follow a varied path through neuroscience, anthropology and global culture, looking at how our brains function, cave paintings, Brancusi, Polynesian canoes and even sheep. Finally we arrive at our current day where, in David's opinion, sustainability will never succeed unless it also includes beauty. The designer and thinker offers a new take on the creative process, showing how failure to follow this has led to today’s emphasis on novelty and gimmicks at the expense of genuine originality.

Thursday 27 October, at 19:00, Building 4, The Atrium


Sustainable Creativity

International design brands and platforms are constantly involved in a dialogue around mutually-beneficial collaborations.

This panel discussion explores how the established design industry employs creativity through different approaches, be it in-house, by inviting guest designers or through programmes that recognise and celebrate emerging practitioners and new talents, all while successfully integrating the DNAs of all the parties involved in the collaboration.

Moderator: Rue Kothari

Panelists: Alex Alorda. Edward Van Vliet. David Trubride. 

Thursday 27 October, at 20:00, Building 4, The Atrium


Gain full access to the Dubai Design Week programme here

Registers to visit Downtown Design here


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