Marking the 10-year milestone of Downtown Design, this year’s special edition featured latest collections and innovative design products.
A dynamic fair experience of cutting-edge design, the 2023 edition of the Downtown Design fair reflected Dubai’s ever-growing economy and its strong influence on the region’s burgeoning design industry. With showcases brought by internationally renowned brands and discerning manufacturers as well as studios and individual designers from the region, alongside creative pop-ups and an engaging programme of panel discussions, guided tours and masterclasses, Downtown Design 2023 attracted over 20,000 visitors across the region’s design communities and industries, HNWIs and collectors, as well as design enthusiasts and end consumers.
Showcasing more than 300 international and regional brands and designers from over 40 countries, the fair welcomed some of the most sought-after brands globally, presenting their latest collections and innovative projects, such as; Cassina, showcasing its stand-out, inimitable Italian designs; Cosentino, unveiling a Roman bath concept in collaboration with Krisina Zanic Consultants; Dedar, featuring a project titled ‘Reverie’ with Popus Editions and 1.6.9. Editions; Flexform, presented by Obegi Home, making their debut with a large outdoor showcase at the heart of the fair; world-renowned industrial design brand Kartell, returning to Downtown Design after 10 years; and Poltrona Frau, a leader in ‘made-in-Italy’ design fostering an exquisite blend of tradition and innovation.
Mette Degn-Christensen, Director of Downtown Design, commented: “This year is very significant for us as we marked a decade of contemporary, high-quality design. The evolution of the design scene in Dubai has been thoughtfully refined through the lens of Downtown Design, an agent for positive change and a catalyst for the growth of the burgeoning creative scene in the Middle East. The annual anchor event of Dubai Design Week, the fair remains at the centre of design in the region and connectivity is at the heart of everything we do. Downtown Design consistently produces a dynamic environment where design meets opportunity and forges foundational relationships and I am delighted that we can truly see that manifesting through the high-calibre of exhibitors and participants we have onboard, and their active engagement with our audiences.”
Huda Lighting presented an immersive concept by 4Space Design, featuring leading brands in lighting design, while Kohler will unveiled a new product launch set in a display by acclaimed Lebanese designer Nada Debs Studio, and Casa Milano unveiled the results of the ‘Talking Walls’ design challenge, working with budding design firms of the region, including Bishop Design, CK Architecture and LW Design. A showcase of Nordic design, presented by The Bowery Company, debuted some of the most innovative and influential Danish brands to the region, alongside emerging Dutch manufacturer, FEST Amsterdam, and FAME Collective (Female Artist of the Middle East) presented limited-edition works by names such as Carla Baz, Karina Sukar, and Talin Hazbar.
Country-specific showcases included: Italy (The Italian Trade Agency - ICE), Korea (Korea Craft & Design Foundation, Saudi Arabia (Designed in Saudi, by the Architecture and Design Commission at the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia) and Spain (The Economic and Commercial Office at the Embassy of Spain in Dubai - ICEX). A collective exhibition titled ‘Anatolia’ highlighted contemporary design talent from Turkey, reflecting unique mix of ancient and modern influences, staged by the curatorial team of Isola Design, while a showcase of Dutch design talent, curated by Margriet Vollenberg, featured a line-up of one-off pieces and handmade works, with the support of by the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, and AASSTTIINN, a platform for independent creatives from Iran, debuted multidisciplinary showcase of collectible design.
In the fair’s section dedicated to limited-edition and bespoke design, Downtown Editions, visitors were able to explore works by independent designers, studios and galleries from all corners of the world, with a spotlight on the region. Highlights included Dubai-based Fadi Sarieddine Studio launching his new ‘Stonehenge’ collection; Apparatus presented by Dubai-based Collectional Gallery; alongside coveted new brand Don Tanani from Egypt, Arkivio from South Africa and the unveiling of the projects by the designer 2023 cohort of the annual Tanween programme by Tashkeel, and the year’s UAE Designer Exhibition 4.0, curated by Fatma Al Mahmoud under the theme ‘Future Living Spaces’, presented works of 30 emerging creatives that prioritise locally-sourced and eco-friendly materials.