Interview with Ghassan Salameh on Dubai Design Week 2020

Dubai Design Week

HKZ had the opportunity to interview the Creative Director of Dubai Design Week 2020, Ghassan Salameh, to talk more about what to expect in this year’s program in light of the unique circumstances.

Taking place from 9-14 November 2020, Dubai Design Week will again take place at its main hub in Dubai Design District (d3). It shifts the focus on themes related to redefining and reimagining the way we live in a crisis impaired world. 

It also addresses current issues related to physical distancing in public spaces as well as engaging activities in a safe open-air setting. 

The six-day revised programme includes pop-up exhibitions and a series of installations staged in d3, new initiatives specifically for the local creative community, a line-up of hands-on workshops and diverse virtual programme of talks and panel discussions.

Going forward with hosting this year’s DXBDW despite the current circumstances or travel restriction and social distancing gives center stage to the local UAE talent.

“Responding to the current reality of travel restrictions and physical distancing, the festival will offer new opportunities to the Middle East’s creative community, giving center stage to the local and regional talent and reflecting on the role of designers in being part of solution providers to current global issues.

– Ghassan Salameh

Outdoor Installations


This year’s Abwab commission has been awarded to Iraqi designer Hozan Zangana for his proposal ‘Fata Morgana’, responding to Dubai Design Week’s theme of redefining and reimagining the way we live in an urban environment.

‘Please Sit Here’

Three renowned Emirati designers, Khalid Shafar, Aljoud Lootah, and Hamad Khoory have been commissioned by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) to create convertible seating solutions for use in diverse public spaces in the UAE, allowing people to sit two meters apart in restricted times


Rooted in a contextual exploration of material, cultivating the local and natural resources in the form of compressed sand and earth with vegetated pockets, ‘Earthly’ by Jumanah Rizk and Delta Light is a spatial installation in response to COVID-19 and the required distancing measures, in a raw yet abstract expression, designed to be a sustainable intervention that can live on as public seating.

While each design week edition has its own specificities with the aim of becoming a platform that sheds light on local and regional talent, empowering designers and creatives to establish and develop their practices, this particular edition turns focus to homegrown design and UAE-based designers,

“This is clear in the amount of locally-based content and participation highlighted in the UAE Designer Exhibition. This exhibition will turn focus to homegrown design and UAE-based designers, offering designers a platform to help kickstart their businesses whilst strengthening their audience base and professional network.”

– Ghassan Salameh

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