Herman Miller’s Mirra 2 chairs.

Herman Miller’s Mirra 2 chairs.

Downtown Design to showcase innovations

October 2014

DOWNTOWN Design 2014 will bring a selection of iconic and trend-setting furniture and interiors brands to Dubai, UAE, next month (October 28 to 31) and showcase some of the world’s most cutting-edge designs.

The event, which will take place at Emaar’s Downtown Dubai, at the foot of the iconic Burj Khalifa, will be held under the theme ‘Original Design’.

Held under the patronage of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-chairman of the board of directors, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and organised by the Art Dubai team, Downtown Design 2014, has gained recognition as a top business platform for global design brands to connect with the region’s trade professionals and key decision-makers in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

Benedict Floyd, CEO of Art Dubai Group explains: “Downtown Design is the place to be for the region’s foremost architects, developers, contractors, distributors and interior designers, providing them with a unique opportunity to establish meaningful connections with the world’s most respected brands.

“This year, we will be facilitating the networking process even more and arranging meetings and making introductions so that people really do connect with those they want to – at the end of the day, the growth of the design industry in the region is dependent on the bottom line and we understand that: it’s a huge opportunity.”

Key sectors that will be featured include furniture, lighting, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and carpets, accessories and new technologies, while countries that will be represented include Italy, the US, Germany, the UK, Denmark, Czech Republic and Latvia among others.

Commenting on its participation last year, Silvio Casalino, director of De Vecchi Milano, one of the world’s finest brands of objets d’art, said: “What I really appreciated was the selection of the companies and of the buyers invited. We had the feeling that the people attending were really ‘design educated’ and the presence of a lot of interior designers and architects was significant. I hope that Downtown Design won’t become too large, rather will remain a selection of the best design companies around the world.”

By focusing on upscale interiors, the fair is aligned with the current resurgence in GCC construction trends. The construction sector in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar is expected to record an average growth of nine to 10 per cent in 2015 alone, with $1.53 trillion worth of real estate projects under construction in the GCC between now and 2025.

Axor by Hansgrohe, and ‘Alice’, a kinetic chandelier (right) designed by Petra Krausova for Lasvit.

Axor by Hansgrohe, and ‘Alice’, a kinetic chandelier (below) designed by Petra Krausova for Lasvit.

The UAE tops the list followed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

Much of the growth will come from upscale developments. And with investment in luxury hotels and residential projects, comes the need for top-quality interiors that feature only the best the world of design has to offer in innovation in design, materials, furniture and home accessories.

In line with this trend, Downtown Design is being held under the theme of “Original Design”, reflecting a growing culture in the GCC that favours authentic creations deriving from a heritage of craftsmanship combined with the latest innovations and highest quality materials, said the organisers.

As Cristina Romelli-Gervasoni, fair director of Downtown Design, explained: “Original Design refers to things that are designed to withstand the test of time and ultimately become part of a legacy carried down from generation to generation, their value enhanced as time goes by.

“It is, therefore, the quality of materials, the attention to detail, the superior craftsmanship and the thoughtful design that distinguish an original piece from an imitation. But more importantly, it is the distinct feeling that each piece of original design carries the spark of inspiration that originally brought it to life, which can never be imitated”.

This year, many of the leading global brands that will be at Downtown Design will be making their Middle East debut, featuring new collections and exclusive collaborations with acclaimed designers, organisers said.

Featured brands include Herman Miller, Fritz Hansen, Vitra, Sahrai, Lasvit, Golran, Gaggenau and Axor among others. These brands have been defining the evolution of design and continue to do so with their products featured in some of the world’s best residential, hospitality and commercial projects.

Alongside innovations by global design masters, Downtown Design will also showcase state-of-the art installations, such as the ‘Home of Tomorrow’ which is an interactive, smart technology feature, which will give us a sneak peak at how the next generation will be living.

The fair also features an expanded series of talks, workshops and seminars that aim to offer insights into the industry hot topics and latest global trends in the world of design.

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