Dubai plans potential bid for World Design Capital


Peter Di Sabatino, professor at the college of architecture, art and design at the American University of Sharjah, as well as a member of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), is looking to promote Dubai in Icsid’s initiative for the World Design Capital.

Icsid has recently announced the launch of the application cycle for the 2018 World Design Capital, marking the initiative’s sixth cycle. It invites cities from around the world to submit bids that illustrate the impact of design on their city as well as showcase examples of design being used as a tool toward development.

Di Sabatino says: “We already have so many things going on that happen independently of each other like the DesignMENA Summit, Design Days, Downtown Design, Index, City Scape, all the galleries, publications … Part of being a World Design Capital would bring all those things together and create something to rally around.


“And I think the timing is ideal, especially with Dubai being the World Expo site in 2020. What a great build up to that if the World Design Capital would be in Dubai in 2018. It would create this incredible momentum. It also coincides with the intended completion of Dubai Design District. It cements it, it celebrates it and it propels it forward. It could also create a national design policy.”

According to Di Sabatino, there is already a great alignment between the World Design Capital initiative and Dubai’s present and future vision in place. As he put it, it’s a natural fit as the World Design Capital looks not only at architecture and design, but also urban planning and mapping, as well as the strength of the creative community. And to Di Sabatino, Dubai’s creative community is shooting forward.

The bids to win the title of World Design Capital undergo a stringent evaluation process and are judged by a jury panel that consists of five international representatives hailing from various professional backgrounds.

“It seems that we just need everybody to understand the alignment that’s already in place between World Design Capital and Dubai … and I haven’t seen any negative reactions, the only thing I can imagine preventing Dubai from entering the race is that there is already so much going on that there’s already too much in the bucket. But it seems to be a perfect opportunity for what’s already happening in the city and with what’s coming in 2020.”

The World Design Capital is one of Icsid’s international programs that works toward the organisation’s drive for a better world through design. Previous World Design Capital winners have used the title for city promotion, to nurture economic activity and encourage peer-learning experiences.

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