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The pandemic has challenged long-established models of societal interaction, placing new demands on our built environment and spotlighting issues that need our attention.

Highlighting the regional design industry’s response to the shifting attitudes towards how we will engage with our surroundings and the evolving concerns of our world, Downtown Design’s multi-media exhibition, ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ showcased exploratory and future work from Middle East-based architects and interior designers as they conceptualise how we will live, work and play in a post-pandemic world.

With projects ranging from a house designed for isolation, a new approach to designing places of worship and malls re-imagined as cultural hubs of the future, to exploring how tech can propel design meaningfully and addressing the scope of culture and locality in providing forward-looking solutions, the selected proposals demonstrate the breadth and expertise of the region’s design talent.

Downtown Design commissioned the award-winning Dubai based architect and designer, Agata Kurzela, Founder of Agata Kurzela Studio, to design the exhibition that was staged at Dubai Design District (d3) during Dubai Design Week. "Both in its concept and design, the exhibition provides a fluid framework that demonstrates the distinctive and polyphonic chorus of original voices in this part of the world, effectively dismantling an outdated stereotype of it being an echo chamber of global trends" she says. 

To relive the exhibition and explore the showcased projects and studios scroll down or download the e-catalogue here.

Featured Projects


Participating Studios


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