Dubai Design District, better known as d3, opened to the public in the first week of April, welcoming visitors from all over the country to experience the new city centre. The three-day event went on from 2-4 April, with a programme that consisted of local, regional and international designers, artists, musicians and concept retailers.
D3, the newest of TECOM Investments’ freezone business parks, is meant to be a dedicated home for design in Dubai, aiming to bring together established and emerging brands and concepts from creative sectors including interior design, fashion and food. It currently has 11 buildings under construction that once complete will be a purpose-built environment that caters to a world-class design community.
“We are excited to finally present d3 to Dubai and look forward to welcoming the community to this event, which has been tailored for them covering all aspects of experiencing and understating design, fashion, art, music and food and beverage.
“This weekend will introduce the public to all that has been happening since the project launched two years ago, and present a place where all cultural enthusiasts – whether residents or visitors – can find a place to be part of Dubai’s home of design; a place where creativity is celebrated throughout the region and inspires collaboration and respect for these industries, both locally and internationally,” says Amina Al Rustamani, group chief executive officer of TECOM Investments.
Bringing the event together were a number of musical performances from popular bands and DJs, such as Mashrou’ Leila, Tania Saleh, David Craig, The Narcicyst, John Newman, Bosaina and many more. In addition to the various stage acts happening throughout the event, there were a number of cultural presentations. New York fashion house threeASFOUR, fashion platform Not Just A Label, Cinema Akil, Ebon Heath, Khalid Shafar, Superstudio and Lasvist all played large roles in providing entertainment for the three-day public event.
Saadia Zahid, programming director says: “We are showcasing the various aspects of fashion, art and design to give the people an experience of what being in a creative community will be like and make the concept of design more accessible.
“The idea is for the people of Dubai to discover and understand what Dubai Design District will add to the city, even for those not working in those industries.”
The main buildings that make up d3, which were originally designed by Woods Bagot, consist of tinted glass shaded by perforated metal screens that sit at the various corners of the large windows. The screens are lit up by coloured lights that alternate between various primary colours like blue and red.
Sitting amidst the contemporary and modern architecture of the design district is the Andy Wahloo tent, a discreet tensile structure disguised by tropical plants and an outdoor seating area. The creation of the Andy Wahloo tent was a collaboration between Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj and award-winning restaurateur Momo. Inside the tent structure was low seating and tables made of recycled materials, such as soda containers and street signs. Decorating the walls were
massive photographic prints by Hajjaj himself. A stage was positioned in the centre, where alternative Arabic and African music played.
Tanita Sandhu, executive director, explains: “Since its inception, the Meet d3 event has generated an unprecedented response from the creative community, and our objective is to expand the programme to include the broadest cross-section of talent possible.”
Once complete, d3’s facilities will include everything from cutting-edge design institutes to residential, hospitality, retail and office spaces. The district itself will consist of various public areas, unique street furniture and shaded walkways. The development will also include a creek-side esplanade with international and boutique hotels, a pop-up shop area and an amphitheatre.
Lindsey Miller, managing director of d3, says: “Our main ambition is for d3 to act as a catalyst for the region’s design community by creating an environment where local design talent can grow into successful brands. To achieve this ambition, we have created a master plan that includes shared workspaces, galleries and workshops to expose emerging talent to the full value chain so they may interact, share and engage with key players from the design, fashion, luxury and art worlds.
“Designers from this region are making real strides in strengthening their presence in other markets and as 90% of countries in the world are just 8 hours flight time from Dubai, d3 is the perfect place for these discussions and partnerships to take place.”