abwab pavilions spotlight local and regional talent during dubai design week
image courtesy of LOCI architecture + design




during the inaugural dubai design week, held in partnership with the dubai design district (D3), the spotlight shines on emerging and established talent from six different countries in the region. one of the primary initiatives from the event, held this year from october 26 – 31, is ‘abwab’, a unique platform that celebrates the most exciting designers, studios and curators from the MENASA (middle east, north africa and south asia) region.

an exterior view of the pavilions integrated into the walkways and open areas of D3
image courtesy of LOCI architecture + design




acting as a direct portal onto the region’s local talent, ‘abwab’ (which means ‘doors’ in arabic) sees a series of six pavilions host a selection of work from jordan, kuwait, pakistan, saudi arabia, tunisia, and the UAE. the selected curators will lead a group designers to work both individually and collectively towards creating content under this year’s theme, ‘games: the element of play in culture’. the creatives are asked research and explore the games of their countries and how the tools and rules of a place and culture can be communicated through its more playful activities.

the interior of the pavilion leads visitors through the exhibition spaces
image courtesy of LOCI architecture + design




the six, 50 square meter pavilions have been designed by UAE-based firm LOCI architecture + design. integrated into the walkways and open areas of D3, each of the structures are identical in size and shape, acting as capsules to both house the countries equally, and to form a space for visitors to be immersed within the presented work. the exterior skins are composed of sand, an abundant yet underused local material, contextualizing the pavilions, serving as intelligent climate control, and working as a veil between the exhibit and visitors before entry.


‘the greatest challenge for us, was how to design a pavilion that suited our aesthetics both from the inside and outside without affecting the curations of the interior,’ hamad khoory, partner at LOCI architecture + design said. ‘we selected sand as the structure’s core material; a playful material in the way it moves, accumulates, shifts and the endless interactions we had with it growing up.’

the capsules form a space for visitors to be immersed with the presented work
image courtesy of LOCI architecture + design




the saudi arabia pavilion is curated by basma and noura bouzo, who between them have helped grow the saudi art and design scene with their magazine oasis and the launch of saudi design week. the sisters have invited designers ayah al bitar, abdulaziz al-azem, khaled s. altassan and alaa alghufaili to interpret the theme by using a game known as umm tis”, a playful activity embedded in the local culture. the pavilion, titled ‘UM TS’, emphasizes texture, interaction, lighting, and sound to form an immersive and interactive space between designers and visitors.

the saudi pavilion interprets a game known as umm tis”

the pavilion emphasizes texture, interaction, lighting, and sound




the kuwait pavilion is curated by waleed shaalan, a multidisciplinary architect, artist and storyteller. joined by designers osama hadeed, liane al ghusain and abdulaziz m. alkandari, shaalan has conceived the ‘tagga ib tagga’ (or ‘move-by-move’) pavilion as a place for visitors to explore a historical book of games from the region. these local pastimes are reimagined for the present day, brought to life on large, red plexiglas panes suspended from the ceiling. visitors can walk through the space and choose which of the historic games to discover.

visitors can walk through the space and choose which of the historic games to discover

the stories are presented on suspended plexiglas panes



architect waleed shaalan talks about his role as curator of the kuwaiti design pavilion
video courtesy of dubai design week




the UAE pavilion is curated by mobius design studio, a dubai-based group of visual communication designers. together with a team of 12, mobius has curated ‘all work and no play makes jack a dull boy’ an installation that confronts elements of play as a transitory experience. the varied experiences housed in the UAE pavilion summon participation and invite sensory stimulation, whether in handcrafted silhouette stories, through amplified sounds of a universal game, or in the digital reflections that straddle future and past.

the varied experiences housed in the UAE pavilion summon participation and invite sensory stimulation




curated by salman jawed, the pakistan pavilion will feature works from a multidisciplinary team of 8. the pavilion titled ‘daalaan’ uses silk screens colored with natural dyes to evoke the busy courtyards of pakistani homes. ‘we have created a dalaan: a space to which all doors open and in which we capture glimpses and moments of games in action,’ jawed explains.

silk screens colored with natural dyes evoke the busy courtyards of pakistani homes




the tunisian pavilion is curated by chacha atallah, founder of architectural firm, fleury atalah. she has invited designers haytham zakaria and karim ben amor to create ‘999’, a play-set and space for social activity, where visitors can assemble a 2D oval-shaped element into a three dimensional puzzle. the system allows for the creation of multiple shapes, stimulating the mind and promote innovation.

visitors can assemble a 2D oval-shaped element into a three dimensional puzzle




the jordan pavilion is curated by arini, a creative platform that promotes learning in the fields of design, architecture and urbanism. for ‘abwab’, arini and designers dina haddadin, omar al-zo’bi, rand el haj hasan, rula yaghmour have conceived ‘the untitled swing project’, drawing on the swing, or ‘murjeiha’, to represent their collective childhood. paradoxes form the base their new design of the swing’, highlighting themes such as imagination versus reality, visibility versus invisibility, and mindfulness versus mindlessness.

the curators of the jordan pavilion discuss the project for dubai design week



hamza omari of loci architecture & design studio talks about the pavilion design for ‘abwab’
video courtesy of dubai design week





about dubai design week


the establishment of the dubai design week provides a platform for international design weeks to bring established and emerging brands to a new audience. dubai design week will also provide an opportunity for the MENASA countries to demonstrate their design talent within the dubai design district (D3), for ground-breaking installations to highlight many of the iconic buildings and locations within dubai and to promote design education through a program of talks, discussions and workshops.


about the dubai design district (D3)


dubai design district (D3) is dedicated to fostering the growth of the emirate’s design, fashion, art, 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 a purpose built environment catering to the full value chain of the design, fashion and luxury industry, all with the vision of creating a world class creative community that engages, nurtures and promotes local, regional and global design talent.