Dubai Design District free zone (abbreviated as d3) planned as an industrial but, at the same time, as a city park for professionals and companies working in various creative fields is about to get a new touch of creativity.
d3 project launched just about a year ago and focused primarily on design industry has evoked great interest of international investors. In such a short period, 160 different companies have been already registered here, 60% of which being foreign companies, such as international giants like Coca-Cola and IBM design studio. 85% of ready-made leasable space is already rented out at the moment: 6000 people live and work in this Dubai’s "creative oasis". And d3 management plans to bring here up to 10,000 more specialists in various fields of modern technology starting with design and ending with fashion fields.
The first construction phase encompasses the central part of the plot with total area of about 1.5 million square meters in an area bordering the nature reserve of Ras Al Khor behind The Dubai Mall. The second stage is scheduled for completion in 2019, when 1 km long promenade, twice as long as Jumeirah Beach Residences (JBR) waterfront promenade, will be built here. It will accommodate a variety of retail and commercial units that will serve the residents and employees in the free zone, as well as international and niche hotel chains. A 2021 completion plan for the project’s third phase is aligned with the handovers in the Dubai Creek area.
Offices and workplaces for designers in the Dubai Design District will be a real work of art, as it should be, when it comes to the centre, which is about to embody the best examples of design (and not just design) ideas.
At the same time Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, the chief operating officer of d3 has emphasized that "We [d3 management] use design as an overarching term," meaning to accommodate not just design, but many other industries here.
"Coke and IBM have innovation at their soul, it’s not just about designers, it’s about creativity," Al Shehhi said.
In developing a strategy for Design District area its creators focused on the bohemian, or as they are now called, "hipster" areas of New York and London – Meatpacking and Shoreditch districts. But, while these areas, where boutiques and workshops of the most recognized fashion and design industries brands are concentrated, arose and spread up spontaneously, in Dubai, everything will be done in a steady and controlled way, taking into account the needs of today's creative industries in the UAE.
"London’s Shoreditch and New York’s Meatpacking district are benchmarks of existing creative communities," said Mr Al Shehhi, but "We [d3 management] hope to emulate the way creative neighbourhoods have developed, not actually how they physically look or compare. While it will take years to become a global creativity hub in a very short time, we have attracted over 160 design companies that are currently operational in d3. Our rents are extremely competitive and encourage companies both big and small to take space with us," he added.