Downtown Design launches new Mideast-focused section, Madar

Key brands returning to the festival include Arper, whose ranges are inspired by its design ethos. (Instagram)
Updated 11 November 2019

Downtown Design launches new Mideast-focused section, Madar

DUBAI: The UAE’s Downtown Design, which is part of the Dubai Design Week festival, is set to return, this time with a new addition to its creative displays, Madar, from Nov. 13-15. 

Dubai Design Week features a free-to-attend program that is made up of more than 200 events covering a range of disciplines including architecture, product design, interiors, multimedia and graphic design.

Madar is a curated exhibition of regional talent, with designs being showcased from around 50 contributors, according to guest curator Ghassan Salameh.

Salameh’s exhibition, which is presented within Downtown Design (a dedicated showcase of bespoke and limited-edition designs by established and emerging designers) will focus on regional design. The exhibition will shed light on the current movements in the design market.

The interactive exhibition will present insights into the state of design in the region, mapping out creative activity from Beirut, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“The idea this year was to highlight regional design because ... Dubai has enough resources to become the link between different design industries in the region. Dubai is always promoting itself as the creative hub of the region so this is to further concretize this with actual concrete steps,” Salameh told Arab News. 

As part of Madar, Salameh said the exhibition will feature works from different categories related to design. “There’s going to be design research, material innovation, digital fabrication, craft preservation. We’re going to also talk about the organizations that are supporting designers,” he said.

“We’re selecting projects that are pushing towards innovation, experimentation, sustainability, design for social impact, responsible design ... We’re focusing on design that’s thoughtful,” said Salameh.

In honor of the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, bespoke rug studio Hands will unveil a piece inspired by children’s artworks. The proceeds will benefit the UAE-based Senses charity.

In anticipation of Expo 2020, Dubai Design Week will also house more country pavilions, including presentations from France and Spain.

One-hundred new brands will be displayed alongside returning exhibitors, with representatives from 30 countries in this year’s edition.

Key brands returning to the festival include Arper, whose ranges are inspired by its design ethos, and Atelier Swarovski, which will present a collaboration with the Spanish designer Tomas Alonso.

What We Are Reading Today: Life in a Cold Climate by Laura Thompson

Updated 06 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Life in a Cold Climate by Laura Thompson

In an enjoyable biography of an interesting woman, Laura Thompson effectively analyses Nancy Mitford’s work in the context of her life and loves.

Mitford “was obviously a much more complex character than many modern accounts paint her and this book certainly demonstrates this,” said a review in

A stylish and well-informed writer, Thompson brings a snobbishness of her own to her sympathetic account of Mitford’s life.

Christopher Benfey said in a review for The New York Times: “The firmness of Mitford’s anti-fascist views was put to the test during World War II when she was approached by British intelligence to spy on General de Gaulle’s Free French officer corps in London. A mole was apparently passing information to the collaborationist Vichy regime. Thompson tells us frustratingly little about this episode. Instead, she trains her attention on Mitford’s love affair with one of the officers, Charles de Gaulle’s right-hand man and chief political adviser, Gaston Palewski, a heavyset man with a Hitler mustache and receding hair.”