OVERVIEW: Returning for the fifth time, Design Days Dubai keeps growing bigger each year, thanks in part to the patronage of the crown prince of Dubai. Billed as the Middle East and South Asia’s leading collectable design fair, this year’s edition saw over 750 works presented by 185 designers from 37 countries, and welcomed more than 13,500 visitors.

New exhibitors this year included high-profile names such as renowned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, best known for this Knotted Chair design. The fair, best known for its contemporary flair, also hosted a special preview for professional buyers, bloggers and Instagrammers.

WHAT: Design Days Dubai
WHEN: March 14-18
WHERE: Dubai

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The “Middle East Emergent Designer Prize” hosted by Van Cleef & Arpels was awarded to Ranim Orouk this year. Orouk’s design, which can either be used as a chandelier or floor lamp, addressed this year’s theme of Nature. Her piece, Glow, drew inspiration from jellyfish and included traditional glassblowing technique and 3D printing. When lit, the design allowed light to travel throughout each “jellyfish” – made out of glass and acrylic – mimicking nature.

  • The fair also hosted a series of programmes that were open to the public, including short film screenings, keynote addresses, workshops, mentorship sessions, exhibitions and even live performances. Key events included the Audi Innovation Talks, The Art of Jewellery Making hosted by Van Cleef & Arpels, a keynote speech by Marcel Wanders, and an installation by D04 Studio.

  • A new exhibition titled WASL debuted this year. The WASL featured pieces designed or produced in the UAE since 2012 – the year DDD launched – and is aimed at supporting up-and-coming local talent. Pieces on display varied from lighting to graphic prints and demonstrated the wide range of talent that the UAE offered to the international design community.