Dubai Design District

Area in Downtown Dubai

Image by Lara Brunt Lonely Planet

Creative folks have a new HQ in Dubai. The fresh-off-the-drawing board Dubai Design District (d3) has drawn both regional and international talent and brands, including hot shots like Adidas and Foster + Partners. Visitors can tap into this laboratory of tastemakers by checking out the edgy architecture and public art, browsing showrooms and pop-ups, eavesdropping on bearded hipsters in sleek cafes, checking out art exhibits in building lobbies, or attending a free screening, workshop or other cultural event. The website has a schedule.

D3 is part of the Dubai's ambitious plan to become a major player in the global design world. Indeed, what you see today is merely phase 1 of a three-phase project that is expected to be finished by 2020. Phase 2 will add a vast 'Creative Community' section (to be designed by British architect Norman Foster) with more galleries and art spaces aimed at nurturing local talent. The final phase will bring hotels, shops and an outdoor events space to a 1.8km-long section paralleling Dubai Creek.