The best of Dubai Design Week’s Middle Eastern showcase

Dubai Design Week, held this month, was established five years ago. This multidisciplinary event showcases everything from high-end furniture to cutting-edge prototypes and offers an opportunity to catch up with developments in Middle Eastern design, with a focus on the UAE. One of its main venues is Dubai Design District, known as D3, a waterfront cluster of low-rise buildings on a refreshingly human scale compared with the city’s skyscrapers. Its attractions include Abwab — or “doors” in Arabic — a series of pavilions created by architects from the Middle East, north Africa and south Asia. Global Grad Show, a display of concepts by design graduates from more than 100 universities worldwide, reflect a burgeoning interest in socially responsible and sustainable design. International and Middle Eastern brands participated in nearby trade show Downtown Design, whose section Downtown Editions spotlights limited-edition and bespoke design. Traditionally visited by architects and designers, this venue is increasingly attracting the public, says Rue Khotari, Downtown Design’s fair director. “This reflects a growing interest in contemporary design in the UAE,” says Khotari. “If Emirat...

The government has been accused of a “futile desperation to contain the cladding scandal” as it

The government has been accused of a “futile desperation to contain the cladding scandal” as it prepares to combine high-pressure laminate (HPL) material with non-combustible insulation in its forthcoming fire safety test. The long-awaited fire safety tests on a series of cladding materials are due to start soon, with the result of the HPL tests most anticipated. The result is likely to determine whether or not ministers launch a government-led programme to strip these cladding systems from the hundreds of high rises nationwide where they are installed. Inside Housing’s End Our Cladding Scandal campaign has called for action from the government to ensure the removal of unsafe cladding from private blocks. It has now emerged that the test, to be carried out by the insurance industry-linked Fire Protection Association, will combine Class B-rated HPL cladding panels with non-combustible Rockwool insulation. However, industry sources have told Inside Housing that up to 80% of HPL cladding systems on high rises use the far more combustible plastic foam insulation, while the majority of panels are a much lower fire standard of Class D. Steve Reed, a Labour MP whose written question re...