What to See in Dubai’s Design District

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Posted May 15, 2017

Eat and shop like a local in Dubai.

Newly built from the ground-up (like so much in this desert city sparkling with skyscrapers), d3 is Dubai’s fast-expanding Design District, which acts as a creative incubator of sorts for the city and for much of the Middle East. Here, inside the industrial warehouses, galleries, pop-up shops and creative offices (the neighborhood is home to the newly-launched Vogue Arabia), Dubai’s aesthetically-minded gather in what most consider the most forward-thinking, exciting area of the city. Most importantly, it provides a sense of community for the visual artists, fashion designers and writers that make Dubai their home, and it’s a place that most visitors aren’t aware of. The full scope of the Design District won’t be realized for another year or so, but it’s worth taking a look to see what’s to come. Here, a few favorite stops for an afternoon well spent in d3.

Sconsi Gallery

One of the first galleries to open in the Design District, Sconsi carries work ranging from the 17th-century to modern and contemporary artists, with a focus on Italy, as well as pieces from the likes of Andy Warhol.

Craft Cafe

Dubai’s dining scene is increasingly becoming more wellness-focused, as exemplified by places like Craft Cafe, which has a menu fill of good-for-you dishes like the acai bowl, made with acai berry puree, raw cacao, greek yogurt, granola and dragon fruit.

One Life Kitchen and Cafe

Another healthy option (especially for breakfast before starting your gallery hop) is in this airy, high-ceilinged space serving up a delicious chia pudding, soaked in almond milk and topped with raspberries, figs and kiwi, or the “sultan’s breakfast,” comprised of organic eggs baked inside a grilled eggplant.

Nakkash Gallery

Founded in 1983, Nakkash has been a leader in the Middle East in the world of interior design. The Dubai outpost carries limited edition pieces from around the world, as well as decorative items from local designers like Khalid Shafar.

The Light House

Combining both a concept design store with a Mediterranean-focused restaurant from chef Izu Ani. Items to buy include glassware, travel accessories and tabletop items. And if you just want to unwind after exploring the design district, the menu includes craft beers and an impressive wine list.

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