Design Days Dubai, which presents purchasable and highly desirable works of modern and contemporary design, yesterday closed its doors, having staged a record breaking fair for 2015; attracting increased visitor numbers of 13,500 people and having featured 150 designers and more than 780 items from 44 exhibitors across 20 countries.
Returning to the prestigious location of The Venue, next to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, in Downtown Dubai, Design Days Dubai has the continued generous support of returning sponsors, including French high-jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels, Emaar, Audi, and the strategic partnership with Dubai Culture, working in collaboration to provide visitors with an opportunity to engage with pieces from new-comers and well-established designers.
Fair Director, Cyril Zammit, said: “We are proud that in 2015, Design Days Dubai continues to increase its visitor numbers and was again the world’s most diverse international design fair, with a wide range of exhibitors and designers. With a broad selection of large-scale installations, sculptural works, and limited edition design nearly 50 percent of which was presented by homegrown talent Dubai has reinforced its position as a global centre for innovative design.”
Exhibiting galleries and designers reported strong interest and sales over the course of the fair, citing the development of broad international and regional networks as a large drawcard of Design Days Dubai. Many have already reconfirmed their returning participation for the 2016 edition.
Of the fair, exhibiting Emirati designer, Alijoud Lootah, said: “I found this year’s Design Days Dubai one of the strongest editions to date. It’s such a great platform for someone like me. It’s the first time that I have exhibited as an independent designer and I feel that I have really benefited. I’ve made contacts, sold some pieces, have met many new galleries and I’m now also looking at some possible future collaborations.”
Joy Mardini’s Art Factum Gallery (Lebanon) also stated that it had a successful showing at the fourth edition of the international design fair: “It was an amazing fair this year…obviously. It’s our third year here and its getting better and better. We’ve had compliments left and right for our stand and it’s been a successful year visually and in terms of sales.”
Elsie Sikias of Ardeco Gallery (Lebanon) agreed: “We visited two years ago and we came back because we think its one of the best places to exhibit in the region.”
After its first ever participation and presence in the Middle East, David Gill of David Gill Galleries (UK), indicated that “Design Days Dubai 2015 is well organised with good attendance from the region and international buyers”.
Demonstrating the importance of Design Days Dubai as a platform for reaching a global audience, the fair welcomed Beijing Design Week (China) for the first time, which presented a design exhibition that offered an expansive overview of China’s transforming design landscape. World Design Capital Taipei 2016 (Taiwan) presented works from varied designers; a teaser to just some of the exciting works that will be on show across the city’s upcoming year in the global spotlight.
The Crafts Council (UK) returned to Design Days Dubai for its fourth outing with selected works from eight rising stars and established designers. Tracey Clarke, Talent Development Manager at the Crafts Council, said: “It’s been a fantastic fair. I think we’ve had a very good response, not only to the work but also to the makers and the makers’ presence at the fair. We’ve had consistent interest throughout the week.”
Barbara Gunter-Jones, Exhibition Project Manager of the British Crafts Council, added: “It’s such a diverse audience at the fair that is hard to define. It’s so international and there are good private clients and good trade audiences.”
Focusing on Community
In 2015, the Middle East and South Asia’s only collectable design fair presented an expanded Public Programme of 13 free hands-on workshops and nine talks with leading design experts to capacity crowds. Sponsored by Dubai Culture and Dubai Design District (d3), the Dubai Design Days Public Programme saw participants experience and discuss design processes, theory and trends with designers from the UAE, Italy, Morocco, Taiwan and more… Over the course of the fair, more than 560 participants took part in the Public Programme, it’s highest turn-out yet.