Dubai Design District phase two and three to be ready by 2019 and 2021

Dubai’s new design district expects 10,000 people to be working in the creative hub by the end of the year as tenant demand rises.

Since its 2015 opening, Dubai Design District (d3) has attracted more than 6,000 people to work there with 85 per cent of the space occupied, it said in a statement.

The brand new glass and steel space was built on an undeveloped stretch of desert next to the Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary behind The Dubai Mall. The creative community is now home to over 160 companies, 40 per cent of which are local firms with 60 per cent international names.

A Coca-Cola innovation lab and an IBM design studio are just two of the high-profile global heavyweights that are partnering with the design district.

“We use design as an overarching term,” said Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, the chief operating officer of d3.

“Coke and IBM have innovation at their soul, it’s not just about designers, it’s about creativity. We have begun construction of phase two which we will deliver by 2019. That will add another 6,000 people to the community. Phase three, alongside the Dubai Creek extension, is tabled to be delivered by 2021.”

D3 opened with plans to be the emirate’s first “hipster” district evoking Shoreditch in London and the Meatpacking district in New York.

While its vibe does not match those organically grown communities, phase two will offer space for designers to execute light works, as well as a gallery and retail space.

Currently d3’s businesses straddle the design sector with a third dedicated to fashion.

“London’s Shoreditch and New York’s Meatpacking district are benchmarks of existing creative communities,” said Mr Al Shehhi.

“We 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.”

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