Dubai to Host Global Design Forum

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Javid Hassan, Arab News

Published — Tuesday 14 March 2006

Last Update 14 March 2006 3:00 am

RIYADH, 14 March 2006 — The first Global Design Forum in the Gulf, with a focus on industrial and urban design, will be held in Dubai from Feb. 3 -5 next year. The forum, whose objective is to establish a correlation among design, business and creativity, is being organized by Moutamarat (MTM), the knowledge brand jointly owned by Tatweer (Dubai Holding) and Saudi Research and Publishing Company (SRPC).

According to Khalid Al-Malik, senior vice president of Knowledge and Industry of Tatweer and member of the design advisory board, UAE, the event is part of Moutamarat mission’s to create high-powered networking platforms through research-based conferences and exhibitions. Created in June 2005, MTM organizes such conferences in the Arab world, besides bringing out publications and research projects.

The official program will have two main components — a forum for international and regional designers, urban planners, experts and businessmen and design lounges geared toward free interaction among participants and business networking. In addition, the role of design will be highlighted by a series of exhibitions in Dubai to show the impact of design on the architectural model. “Business leaders understand that design is more than making things look beautiful,” said Al-Malik. “Companies put design, creativity and innovation high on their agenda and consider it to be a strategic tool for becoming more competitive,” he said.

In the region, he pointed out, Dubai is a unique laboratory of ideas and development projects. This makes it an ideal place to engage in business of bringing designers and civil society together and promote a better understanding of what design is and how it can help them in meeting their objectives.

Al-Malik said Moutamarat is developing this design agenda under the guidance of a prestigious design Advisory Board. Its members include such well-known names as Tyler Brûlé, chairman and creative director, Winkorp, United Kingdom; Stefano Boeri, architect, urban planner and editor of Domus, Italy; Joan Busquets, J.B. architect and professor in practice at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, USA; Bernard Khoury, architect, DW5, Lebanon and Nadim Karam, architect, Ateliers Hapsitus, Lebanon. The members of the board will assist Moutamarat in developing a comprehensive program in this regard.

Stefano Boeri observed: “Today design has achieved a geopolitical dimension that transcends political and national borders. Although thousands of new identities and places are appearing on the world map of design, there will always be a small number of locations of excellence that act as condensers of global flows of talents, ideas, materials that still constitute the essence of contemporary design. This is what Dubai has the potential to become.”

He said the February 2007 event will be part of a year-long design initiative currently developed by Moutamarat. Using the platforms of major international design events and specific initiatives in Dubai throughout 2006, Moutamarat will seek to stimulate dialogue between global design authorities and regional ones. This year-long effort will culminate in the event next February.

According to Tyler Brûlé, “The Global Design Forum in Dubai fills not only a regional but global gap in the market for new thinking on architecture, urbanism and industrial design. Given the extraordinary growth in the Gulf and the talent attracted, the forum is a perfect place to display and debate current trends.” Principally aimed at defining the impact of design on everyday life, the three-day event will also analyze the role of design in boosting economic, cultural and human progress and address issues such as creativity and innovation. A recent OECD report on innovation confirms that stimulating innovation is a key task for achieving sustainable economic growth.

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