Visibility and engagement are the fuel of the creative industries; Downtown Editions puts both established and emerging designers in front of a design-savvy audience from the Middle East and beyond.
Offering visitors a broad spectrum of design, Downtown Edition’s inaugural showcase in 2018 featured brand debuts, collection launches and capsule presentations, catapulting designers, collectives and individual studios onto the next phase of growth.
Returning for its second showcase, Downtown Design’s fair section dedicated to limited-edition and bespoke design will offer the next generation of participating designers a platform to get discovered by the largest annual gathering of design professionals that takes place in the Middle East.
Downtown Editions 2019 will also provide a platform for the region's architects and interior designers looking to explore product design outside the remit of project requirements.
Amongst them is award-winning architect Jennie Binchy, founder of the Dubai-based practice, Binchy and Binchy. She will make her debut as a product designer at the fair with a furniture collection featuring experimental materials and finishes, with an eye on sustainable design. Emerging Kuwaiti interior designer Meshary Alnassar will also make his fair debut at the fair in November.
In addition to coverage in major regional and international publications such as Architectural Digest, FT How to Spend It, Wallpaper* and Dezeen, amongst others, Downtown Edition's inaugural presentation also garnered interest from trade professionals working on boutique hospitality and high-end residential projects.
For Iraqi architect and designer Layth Mahdi who launched his brand at Downtown Editions 2018, exhibiting at the fair opened doors for his work to be acquired by leading lifestyle boutiques in the UAE.
“Making my debut at Downtown Editions 2018 was both exciting and daunting,” he recalls. “I knew that I would be showcasing alongside well-known brands and designers, but that was also a sign that it was the right platform for me to be part of.” The robot chiselled marble collection won him the Best Emerging Designer trophy at the Harper's Bazaar Interiors Awards 2018.
Downtown Editions reflects the depth of the regional design scene. Last year, many Middle East-based designers explored the concepts of heritage through product design.
Saudi-based design studio Rejo celebrated diversity with a collection inspired by Yemen, India and Ndebele in South Africa, while Lebanese studios Saccal Design House and Kray Studio explored the country’s social-political narrative through their presentation. "Our heritage offers us so many reference points - culturally, creatively, even technique wise - that often become the starting points for design concepts," says Emirati designer Aljoud Lootah who presented a collection inspired by traditional seating. "Downtown Editions allows regional designers to share that with an international audience."
Another breakout designer from Downtown Editions 2018, Abdalla Almulla, who presented the Shak’l bench - a commission by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority - has since presented large-scale installations such as the ‘Dome of Unity’ for the Zayed-Gandhi Digital Exhibition in Abu Dhabi and ‘Boundless’, an interactive concept for a pop-up majlis during Ramadan.
Almulla will return to Downtown Editions 2019 as part of Tashkeel’s Tanween Design Programme which will also feature works by interior designer Lana El Samman and graphic designer Yara Habib.
To find out how Downtown Editions can help established and emerging designers raise their visibility in the region, please submit the enquiry form; a member of the team will be in touch soon.