Taking the Design Road


UAE: The first Design Road was held at Tashkeel, Dubai, recently with international designers heading workshops and seminars to interact with local creative professionals.

All workshops were carried out in collaboration with Elisava Design School, Barcelona, and Kingston University, London. International and local designers were expected to work on joint projects dealing with local constraints, discussing latest experiments and modern design styles in fields chosen to suit a local designer’s needs and their work.

The event, which is supported by the Spanish Ministry of culture, is organised by Barcelona-based firm, Creative Dialogue Association. Spanish designer, Josep Basora, designed the logo for the event.


“We wanted an image that symbolises the meeting, dialogue, brotherhood. We believe that teatime combined all these concepts into one, and a teapot was the perfect synthesis for this occasion,” he said.

Seven workshops were held at Tashkeel in Nad Al Sheba. These included: coolhunting design/urban immersion by Jorge Rodriguez; exhibition design by Rosa Roca Pera; retail design/tectonic pattern by Carmelo Zappulla; event design/creative dialogue by Samer Yamani; motion graphics design/brand management in television by Antoni Colomer Campos; urban design/maps of extensive and intensive urban public space by Christoph Lueder; and, curating contemporary design by Gillian Russell.

Moayad Khrais, a 25-year-old masters degree student in urban and regional planning at the Paris-Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi, said he’s gone for similar workshops before but never in the UAE.

“The experience has been quite good. I’ve learned something new about urban design and how to do urban mapping in a creative and conceptual way,” he said.

Attendee, 21-year-old Fatma Khansaheb, said Design Road was something she would like to go to again. “I think five days is a bit tight, so next time I hope there is a longer course which I would love to do. In addition to learning new ideas and approaches, I’ve made new contacts as well,” she said.

Freelance graphic designer, 22-year-old Tulip Hazbar, said she heard about the event through social media like Facebook and Twitter.

“I decided to attend the motion graphics sessions because it seemed like a good opportunity. I also try to go for workshops where experts from outside the UAE are teaching because it’s very interesting to see the way other people think of perceptions in different cultures and countries,” she said.

Hazbar agreed with Khansaheb on how the event brought together different people who are a part of the same field and were interested in similar topics.

Carmelo Zappulla, architect and co-founder of Barcelona-based External Reference, headed the retail design workshop and focused his attention on tectonic patterns that can be used in that field.

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