Dubai Design District design debut & Expo bid

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Dubai Design District and Expo 2020 are both touted as projects that will contribute to Dubai’s credentials as a global center for economic diversification and the knowledge-based economy.

Dubai’s thriving design industry is a key asset in the Emirate’s bid to host EXPO 2020, by providing like-minded individuals with a home and community from which they can connect, collaborate, and inspire innovative design, in preparation to welcome the world to the UAE.

Dubai Design District and Expo 2020 to position Dubai on the World Map of Design Hubs
Computer generated image of Dubai Design District, which aims to be the Design Hub of the World. (click on the image to view bigger image)

Given the focus on innovation, Dubai is well placed to host the Expo as UAE is the highest ranking Arab nation in the Global Innovation Index, ranking in the top five countries for innovation linkages and intangible assets in the creative output dimension. These align directly with the long-term goals of the Dubai Design District.

The strategic theme for Dubai Expo 2020,Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ links to the recently announced Dubai Design District (d3), a full service community for design industry related organizations, brands, and supporting enterprises. In addition to contributing to Dubai’s economic diversification and growing knowledge economy, the two projects will positively contribute to Dubai’s credentials as a global center for these sectors.

Dr. Amina Al Rustamani; “Should Dubai be awarded as the host city of Expo 2020, it would be the first time the event has come to the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) region.  Expo 2020 is a significant opportunity for Dubai to share its unique design talent, exchange ideas with sister nations and explore new avenues of collaboration.  As the home of the regional and international design community, d3 will provide a centre of gravity for international designers and design enthusiasts leading up to Expo 2020 and a platform of  support throughout the event itself. Our key objectives as d3 are to facilitate the on-going growth of the Emirate and to facilitate employment across the value chain.

Investors, designers, and brands from all over the world are welcome at d3 and there is a huge variety of ways to get involved. From offices to retail units, manufacturing space to exhibition galleries, we are creating a community that will act as the heart of  the industry within the Middle East. By linking thoughts, beliefs, opinions, cultures, and communities through encouragement of cultural exchanges between the host city and participating countries and alignment of innovation ideas with a view to stimulate economic growth” — Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO of TECOM Investments

According to Business Monitor International, the UAE’s retail market will be worth AED 151 million by 2015. The remarkable growth seen in the sector over the past twelve months was in part due to 12 percent growth of Dubai’s luxury goods market. d3 aims to capitalize on this market potential by becoming the center of gravity for design, fashion and luxury as businesses within these industries flock to the Emirate to showcase their creations to one of the most diverse communities of consumers in the world.

Tourists account for 40 percent of global luxury spend so the potential of this market in terms of revenue generation is substantial. By growing this figure in line with Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020, the Emirate has the potential to eclipse London as the capital of retail spending.

Dr Amina Al Rustamani; “Since we launched d3, there has been a huge amount of interest from international designers, design academies and even boutique hotels wanting to speak to us about becoming part Dubai’s design story by locating their activities in d3. Our commitment to the goals of Dubai’s Tourism 2020 Vision, combined with our network with international firms will enable us to  nurture local talent and promote home-grown designers on an international scale. In doing so, we have created one location where customers from Dubai and tourists from overseas, have access to a unique bouquet of local, regional and international design offerings.”

In addition to positioning Dubai as a genuine community for the design and fashion industries that can compete on the global stage, d3 aims to increase the role of contemporary regional fashion and identify the specific needs of the regional and global companies considering Dubai and d3 as a base.


Dubai Design District, better known as D3, is dedicated to fostering the growth of the Emirate’s design, fashion and luxury industry. It offers businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals a creative community that will be at the very heart of the region’s design scene.

D3 is the newest of TECOM Investments freezone business parks – with 10 buildings currently under construction. Once complete, D3 will be a purpose built environment catering to the full value chain of the design, fashion and luxury industry – and all with the vision of creating a world class creative community that engages, nurtures and promotes local, regional and global design talent.

D3’s facilities will include everything from cutting-edge design institutes to residential, hospitality, retail and office space. The District will be characterised by distinct public areas, unique street furniture and shaded walkways. The development will include a Creek-side esplanade with international and boutique hotels, a pop-up shop area, amphitheatre and a convention centre.

Located close to Mohammed Bin Rashid City and adjacent to Dubai’s Business Bay, D3 is a short distance from the city’s arterial highways and two international airports. The District is in sight of the Creek, Dubai’s historic and mercurial trading epicentre, Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping complex.

D3 will be the most connected design, fashion and luxury destination in the world – with Dubai only 8-hours flight time from 90 percent of the world’s nations.

Guided by the objectives set out in Dubai Fashion 2020 – a strategic plan to harness the full growth potential of the fashion industry – this creative community will support Dubai’s goals for a more diversified knowledge economy. 

Here’s what some of the region’s top designers have got to say about Dubai Design District:

Rami Al Ali, Fashion Designer who has dressed many well-known celebrities such as Beyoncé and Ivana Trump; said:

“Dubai has witnessed incredible growth due to its many high-level developments. Today the emirate is recognised internationally and associated with luxury, safety, and hospitality. This pioneering project will be positively received by the fashion industry and will position Dubai to showcase home-grown creativity and talent to the rest of the world.”

Reem Acra, New York based Designer:

“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and to all the dear citizens of Dubai, the Emirates, and the region on embarking on this great cultural mission. I strongly believe that given Dubai’s stature as both the artistic and commercial bridge between East and West, this project will help encourage and display the talents of burgeoning designers from the Middle East to the entire world.

As one who had to painstakingly, and often singlehandedly craft a path of international success trodden by very few women in the Arab world, I truly appreciate what the design district in Dubai will mean to the launching of careers of young women and men designers from the Arab and Eastern countries. Not only will it be a venue of exposure and recognition, but also a venue for inspiration, interaction and amalgamation of new ideas, all the while not forsaking the rich Eastern design esthetic. Dubai and the Emirates have always had an appreciation for fashion, and with the determination, dedication and creative sensibilities of its people, the triumvirate of fashion cities, Milan, Paris and New York, will soon have an equal.”

Lamya Abedin, Designer & Founder of Queen of Spades:

“A true designer is one who brings life to style and help inspire fashion classics that will remain true across the realms of time.

Dubai Design District is a vehicle that will enable such creativity, set to bring about a bold and lasting impression. This initiative would surely instill all beauty that relates to the world of fashion. Dubai has always been a trend-setter, and unquestionably can stylishly turn into one of the leading fashion capitals of the world.”

Azza Al Qubaisi- Emirati Jewelry Designer:

“I see d3 as the perfect platform for staging designers and establishing themselves in the region. What impresses me the most is the effort taken to hear and research from the designers to figure the gap and overcome it in the different stages of the project.”

Khalid Shafar, Furniture & Objects Designer:

“Dubai Design District – d3 is a dream coming to reality. It’s a key milestone in shaping an organic design community that will cater to the main component of this community being the designers. I am thrilled to witness this great support from the leadership and government to the design industry which is a true testimonial of their belief in Design and its role in developing communities and enhancing lifestyle. As an Emirati designer, I took on my shoulder a mission to promote Emirati design to the world and Dubai Design District will support my mission in putting Dubai on the global design map.”

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