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: Race Is About Politics Jean-Frederic Schaub

Updated 21 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Race Is About Politics Jean-Frederic Schaub

  • Schaub argues that to understand racism we must look at historical episodes of collective discrimination

Racial divisions have returned to the forefront of politics in the US and European societies, making it more important than ever to understand race and racism. 

But do we? In this original and provocative book, acclaimed historian Jean-Frédéric Schaub shows that we don’t— and that we need to rethink the widespread assumption that racism is essentially a modern form of discrimination based on skin color and other visible differences.

On the contrary, Schaub argues that to understand racism we must look at historical episodes of collective discrimination. Built around notions of identity and otherness, race is above all a political tool that must be understood in the context of its historical origins.

Although scholars agree that races don’t exist, they disagree about when these ideologies emerged. Drawing on historical research from the early modern period to today, Schaub makes the case that the key turning point in the political history of race in the West occurred not with the Atlantic slave trade and American slavery, as many historians have argued, but much earlier, in 15th-century Spain and Portugal, with the racialization of Christians of Jewish and Muslim origin.