As the world continues to battle coronavirus, designers are re-imagining how public spaces can let people come together, while keeping them safe.



a large building


© Downtown Design


“The Shape of Things to Come,” an exhibition in Dubai, is offering a glimpse of what architecture and design could look like in a post-Covid world — with ideas ranging from a nightclub that keeps dancers at a distance, to an inflatable pod that envelops tables at restaurants.

Featuring over 25 Middle Eastern design practices, it is showcasing new concepts, product designs, and installations from architects and interior designers.

The exhibition is part of Dubai Design Week, an annual six-day event that organizers call “the largest creative event in the Middle East.” This year, it takes place from November 9 to 14 in the open-air setting of Dubai Design District.



a group of people standing in a cage: Tariq Khayyat Design Partners, based in the UAE, designed "Walk of Life," a space that uses visual cues to encourage social distancing.


© Downtown Design
Tariq Khayyat Design Partners, based in the UAE, designed “Walk of Life,” a space that uses visual cues to encourage social distancing.

Although the UAE has experienced surges of Covid-19, with peaks in May and mid-September, it has had a relatively low incidence rate compared to other big urban centers.

Middle East talent

“This past year has demonstrated the resilience and flexibility of the Middle East’s design industry,” says Pratyush Sarup, curator of the exhibition. “In a uniquely challenging climate, our architects and interior designers have continued to produce top-notch work.”

To bring the exhibition to life, Downtown Design commissioned Agata Kurzela, a Dubai-based architect and designer. She says it provides the opportunity to showcase original talent from the region, challenging outdated ideas that the Middle East cannot be at the forefront of global trends.

Scroll through the gallery above to see more of the works on show.



diagram, engineering drawing


© Downtown Design


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