With the dates for the fair’s seventh edition announced as 12-15 November 2019, we look back at the highlights from Downtown Design 2018.

Watch the Downtown Design 2018 video here.


The fair’s theme of ‘Liveable Cities’ came to life with a masterplan created by H+A, the award-winning Dubai-based architectural firm. Within the concept, new fair features brought together leading industry names such as Bishop Design, who delivered a new concept for the pop-up House of Negroni and Desert Ink, who created an indoor landscaped court that anchored the fair's cafés.

Connecting the fair to the public realm and lending it context, the venue’s outdoor waterfront terrace was activated for the first time with works by sculptor David Harber and designer Marc Ange. Within the fair, large-scale installations including the Breath of Light by Preciosa and Tales, a site-specific work by the acclaimed studio Wilson Associates were presented alongside 175 international and regional design brands and a stellar talks programme.


With a footprint of 12,000 square meters, Downtown Design 2018 was the fair’s biggest showcase to date. In addition to market leaders such as Kettal, Moroso, Poltrona Frau, Serip, Sancal and Herman Miller who returned to exhibit their latest collections, newcomers such as Artemide, Baxter, Diesel Living, Frato, Normann Copenhagen and Thonet also presented their new ranges to the region’s leading architects, interior designers and design professionals visiting the fair.


Showcasing limited-edition and bespoke design from the region and beyond, Downtown Design’s new platform featured established designers as well as emerging talent. Florence based purveyors of collectable design, Manfredi Style presented their 24-carat gold plated chair Arco and Wink lights, on-trend with a pastel fringe. British artist Nadia-Anne Ricketts is known for skillfully transforming sound into tessellated woven patterns. She presented her bespoke tapestries, BeatWoven.

Joining Emirati designer Aljoud Lootah who debuted her new seating collection inspired by the traditional ‘takhia’ (cushion) was Abdalla Al Mulla, who, in collaboration with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority presented an adaptive seating concept, Shak’l. Based on a system of pivoted planes, the bench adapts to the requirements of the community that gathers around it. The Foundry explored slip casting with sand and Studio D.04 sandblasted wood to create a limited-edition table with a rippled top.

Dubai-based architect and designer Layth Mahdi launched his eponymous brand at the fair with a collection of robot-chiselled marble vases that won him the Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Award 2018 for the ‘Best Emerging Designer’. Sakina Kara-Sabur and Alicia Spoljar of BySOZO Interiors were revealed as the winners of Design 100, a competition organized by Dubai Design District (d3) as part of their ‘Design for Good’ initiative. Their design, a reading bench devised around a system of seven interlocks pays homage to the UAE.  


From Cosentino who partnered with the American University of Sharjah on an installation that explored materiality, light and reflection, to Alia Mazrooei who presented a pop-up majlis inspired by the UAE desert in collaboration with Sharjah-based 1971 Design Space, one-of-a-kind projects connected regional talent with international know-how. The Emirati contemporary design studio Albal worked with Lasvit to create ‘Flow’. The lighting installation is a composition of a series of hand-blown glass planes with the texture of each panel inspired by the play of light on water’s surface.