Complex Made Simple

d3 launches “Urban Comissions” to support Dubai’s ambition to become a hub for innovative design

Dubai Design District (d3), Dubai’s newest creative space has recently collaborated with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated entity for culture, arts, and heritage, and Design Days Dubai, to launch “Urban Commissions” a new project inviting designers, architects, engineers, researchers, students and professionals, to design innovative public installations for the city of Dubai. The winning proposal will be unveiled at Design Days Dubai in March 2015, before moving to its new home at d3. Submissions so far have come from across the UAE with 63% from Dubai itself; of the submissions received, applicants have come from over 24 countries including India, UK, USA and Lebanon demonstrating the truly international appeal of the project.

In support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to transform Dubai into an innovation-driven economy, this initiative will focus on stimulating creativity and the development of new technologies, creating smart and sustainable infrastructure, and driving entrepreneurship and SME growth.

d3 is dedicated to supporting emerging local and regional talent and so the development of this space will be an interactive hub that ensures design, fashion, art, and luxury collide to encourage creativity and to drive innovation across the design-led industries. Built on inspiration taken from the designers themselves, the space aims to stimulate collaboration and creativity to ensure Dubai remains at the cutting edge of style.

The initial findings of a study by Deloitte highlight the trend of designers creating flexible spaces suited to multiple uses. The study highlighted that, in the MENA region, the Design industry is gaining grounds: its market value has reached $100bn in 2013 and it has grown at more than double the pace of the global industry over the last 4 years (CAGR of 7.4% for MENA market vs 3.7% CAGR for global market). In particular for 2013, 23% of the MENA design market is driven by furniture and architecture subsectors, highlighting the relevance this study has to the greater context of the direction of growth in the design sector. The UAE has one of the strongest visual markets in the GCC with a large number of galleries, the presence of the two leading international auction houses and one of the leading regional art event – Art Dubai. Development of the communal spaces at d3 furthers this approach to showcasing the best that regional design has to offer.

The winners will be selected by a an esteemed panel of judges including Cyril Zammit, Design Days Dubai Director, Faysal Tabbarah, Assistant Professor of Architecture at American University of Sharjah; and Ahmed Bukhash, Architect and Founder of Archidentity as well as representatives from Dubai Culture; the new design community d3. The winning design will be entirely produced by local manufacturers with a grant of AED 50,000 and will be established at the d3 site when it opens in Q1 of next year.

Commenting on this newly launched initiative, Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO of TECOM Investments, the master developer behind d3, said: “Urban Commissions is an excellent example of how d3 plans to combine innovation and functionality to create a home for creativity designed by the community, for the community. We also believe in collaboration and integration and have designed d3 to make sure that these key elements allow creativity to flow, throughout the community.

By including installations of designers from the region, we hope to demonstrate our dedication to developing d3 as a creative destination that is rooted in cutting-edge, intelligent design. In doing so, we will contribute to Dubai’s vision to create happiness, by embracing technology innovation- making Dubai the most efficient, seamless, safe, and impactful experience for residents & visitors. Working alongside upcoming talents and experts we will have the advantage of ensuring d3 starts and continues to be at the cutting edge of information sharing and technology. It is our belief that ‘smart design’ lies at the heart of a Smart City.”

Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “Urban Commissions is a model in promoting home-grown talent by creating a platform for them to express their creativity, while also encouraging intercultural dialogue among the cosmopolitan community of Dubai. By extending high-level consultancy to the project, Dubai Culture is further strengthening the public arts initiative in the city and enabling our talents to demonstrate their creativity to a wider audience. As a futuristic project, Urban Commissions perfectly complements the Smart Dubai vision, driving innovation in the design sector.”

Also, commenting on this initiative Ahmad Bukhash, Architect and Founder of Archidentity said: “With the advent of advanced public transportation systems within Dubai, the urban form within the city is on the verge of a transition to a pedestrian centric environment. Hence there is a necessity to enrich the public space by interacting and engaging the community through the universal medium of design. The urban commissions initiative has developed a truly unique program to engage the local design community to function as catalysts to support this enrichment by addressing the basic function of seating in public spaces through a design competition will complement the contemporary urban language unique to Dubai and will be culturally rooted in its architectural setting.”

Cyril Zammit, Design Days Dubai Fair Director and one of the judges said: “The Urban Commissions gives a unique opportunity to creative and talented people to partake in a new dynamic initiative, where Dubai is confirming its position as the regional and an international hub for design and innovation. To receive this massive interest with over 120 applications received so far are from UAE, testifies to the growing pool of creative talent in general and especially locally. This partnership with d3 and Dubai Culture and Art Authority as well as Design Days Dubai has been able to call on the creative community to help shape the city’s development. We are very much looking forward to choosing a winner and announcing it in January 2015”

The master plan for d3 is designed for the future. Featuring many mixed use spaces that encourage collaboration, the site will also be the pioneering ‘Smart City’ of the UAE. By 2017, Dubai aims to establish itself as the smartest city on the planet, driving unparalleled quality of life for its residents and visitors through the use of smart technology.

Nicola Hooper: +971 55 8862254 / [email protected]
Rima Ali: [email protected] (Arabic)