The big moments from Dubai Design Week and Downtown Design 2019

At the fifth edition of Dubai Design Week, which ran from November 11-16, 2019, at Dubai Design District (d3), witnessed over 90,000 visitors. The event featured an extensive programme of 200 activities including talks, workshops, installations, and exhibitions. One of the biggest highlights of the festival was Downtown Design which was held at d3 Waterfront from November 12-15, 2019. Italian Pavilion at Downtown Design highlighted the latest in design trends. Among the 20 companies, a few were participating for the first time in the region’s leading trade fair to showcase their unique designs to decision-makers from GCC’s sophisticated furniture market. In the GCC, more than 72% of furniture and design products are imported, and Italy is one of the leading suppliers of high-end designs. Her Excellency Valentina Setta, Consul General of Italy in Dubai, said: “This year’s Italian pavilion is an ode to design. Design is a representation of the world-view and the times in which we live, and the participating designers have successfully created contemporary designs that speak to today’s consumers.

Andrea De Rosseto, Business France

Downtown Design is an amazing initiative to bring together architects, interior designers, manufacturers and consumers under one roof, and the Italian pavilion offers visitors a journey through the world of Italian creativity and design.” French exhibition at Downtown Design gathered a lot of attention. Business France, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy gathered 17 artists, design experts, and innovation specialists on the French pavilion at Downtown Design to exhibit an avant-garde and iconic expertise. Andrea De Rosseto, head of lifestyle and healthcare, Business France said: “Business is good but we have to consider that UAE is a very small market. The products have to be different; the ones which are already here in this market won’t impress the customers. That’s why it was important for us to find new designers, innovative designs, and new start-ups for our French pavilion.”

Design Middle East had a chat with the spokespersons of a few brands that participated and shared their views:


Daniel Hermann, Grohe

Grohe unveiled the latest innovations and award-winning designs at the Downtown Design last month. Daniel Hermann, VP of Marketing at Grohe said: “Downtown Design is a very important fair for Grohe as we meet a lot of designers and architects and introduce them to awardwinning designs shaping the future of water.” Grohe showcased more than 100 products at the event. The new smart control technology by Grohe is a game-changer in the shower area. Another major highlight was the 3D metal printed faucets. Herman further shared the market trends, “Customers want to design their won bathrooms, we at Grohe, provide them with latest techniques and solutions. The living spaces are changing, for example, the kitchen areas are opening more into the living areas and bathrooms open more into the bedrooms. So, customers want more coordinated designs and use bathroom and kitchen accessories like a piece of furniture.”


Ridwan Panchbhaya, Meljac

French Exhibition was also a busy area at the Downtown Design. One of the exhibitors was Meljac the leading supplier of high-end electrical fittings exhibited its designs for the first time at Downtown Design. Players from across the local market (designers, home designers, etc.) had the opportunity to discover the French expertise for which the brand is famous, including in particular its signature solid brass Classic collection. The Classic Collection is recognisable by its bevelled edges and the Meljac water drop levers inspired by 1930s style. Marketed all over the world, it is a favourite amongst decorators, interior designers, electricians and homeowners for its unparalleled quality and its clean, understated and timeless design. Ridwan Panchbhaya, commercial manager, Meljac, said: “We have very high-quality switches and outlets. We had many projects in the Middle East but none from Dubai, so that’s why we participated in Downtown Design this year to meet designers and other local community members. We have different collections in high-quality materials such as brass, Limoges porcelain, tempered glass, and even semi-precious stones. We produce products in 27 different finishes.”


Michael Vasku, Preciosa

The lighting brand Preciosa once again surprised everyone with their latest interactive installation — Carousel of Light Michael Vasku, creative director, Preciosa, shared: Carousel of Light addresses the childhood memories and wishes with sound and motion effect. The colourful lights will lead your path, as you reach the centre of the installation and you meet, hug, or shake hands with someone, there would be a special animation you would witness. We wanted to go beyond the looks of the chandelier and capture human emotions and senses.” The installation becomes a part of the visitor’s journey, lighting a beautiful crystal path as their exploration continues. To make it easier for people to absorb themselves in the spectacle, the platform rotates, allowing guests to keep their eyes focussed on the pearls.


Prateek Jain (L) and Gautam Seth, Klove

Headquartered in the capital of India, Klove Studio was founded in 2005, by designers, Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth. Celebrating the magic of light and exploring its form in different dimensions. They participated at Dubai Design Week and unveiled the new limited edition ‘Totems Over Time’ collection. Prateek Jain, founder and creative director at Klove, said: “The new collection—‘Totems Over Time’ installation represents four different totems, namely abundance, beauty, vision, and protection. These can be used as light art, wall installations, or even ceiling lights. This is a limited edition collection handcrafted and detailed in blown glass, metal, and semi-precious stones.”