Next week marks the third annual edition of Design Days Dubai. Over the past few years, this springtime, collectible design fair has evolved to reflect the growth of Dubai’s design landscape, drawing in new galleries, makers, and visitors from around the globe. We spoke with director Cyril Zammit to find out what makes this upcoming fair—which runs March 17-21st—extra exciting and what we can expect from its latest incarnation.
AC: What's new and intriguing for the 2014 event?
CZ: I am proud to have gathered 33 galleries from 20 countries for this third edition—alongside five special installations by designers from China, the UK, Lebanon, Canada, as well as a student from Switzerland. In total, eight new countries are joining us this year (Algeria, Austria, China, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Portugal, and Pakistan). We also welcome four design brands in the Bespoke Design section that will showcase their new creations (Iwan Maktabi and Squad Design from Beirut; Binôme from France, and Shamsa Alabbar from Dubai). Keeping up with the increasing interest in workshops, the public program has expanded to include a third daily workshop. Through these workshops, attendees will learn and develop new skills.
Keeping up with our constant search of the unique and never-before-exhibited, Design Days Dubai is also launching “Discover,” an annual selection of galleries from one country. This year the focus is on France and its recent renaissance in the contemporary design scene, with emerging new galleries such as Ymer&Malta, Galerie Gosserez, NextLevel Galerie, and Gallery S. Bensimon. These galleries will exhibit at the fair with support from the Institut Francais in the UAE.
AC: How has the fair evolved since its inception?
CZ: Dubai is the strongest regional hub for commerce, lifestyle, and culture. The fair’s content adapts to reflect what the regional market is interested in: an ongoing diversity of design and a strong interest in contemporary design. We also position ourselves as a fair of discoveries, where regional and international visitors alike can see new creations showcased by renowned international design galleries alongside newcomers from countries not represented in other fairs.
AC: What is your biggest hope for this year's fair?
CZ: Confirming our vision, which is that the design market is strong and offers huge potential out of Dubai. A trend we’ve observed is that regional headquarters as well as private companies [go on to] commission design by designers exhibited at Design Days Dubai. Recently, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched Dubai Design District, which complements the Opera District by Emaar, a forthcoming rich cultural offering in downtown Dubai. Last October, we also launched Downtown Design, a design trade show for high-end design brands, and its second edition in 2014 will grow significantly. All this is attributable to the region’s growing interest in nurturing the design field.
Thanks so much, Cyril!
Design Days Dubai runs March 14-21, 2014.
* Portrait of Cyril Zammit is courtesy of Brunswick. All other images are courtesy of Design Days Dubai.