"Melbourne is by far the design capital of Australia. I visited this city for the second time last week as one of the keynote speakers of Parallels, a new design conference organised by National Gallery of Victoria. The line-up included Dutch design legend Gijs Bakker, Italian-duo Formafantasma but also South-African design gallery owners Trevor and Julian McGowan, of Southern Guild, one of Design Days Dubai's most successful exhibitors.

My presentation was about Dubai becoming a new design destination and reviewing all the initiatives Art Dubai Group has created since the launch of Design Days Dubai in 2012.

The conference was a great opportunity to learn more about the Australian design scene and its challenges (between isolation and copyrights). I also attended the awards ceremony of the Rigg Design Prize. A beautiful competition with Adam Goodrum as a winner. His entry 'Unfolding' is a stunning landscape composition made of transparent synthetic polymer resin with dichroic filter. Adam's 'Birdsmouth Table' was also presented at Design Days Dubai last March by Broached Commissions.

I also met with Khai Liew who presented some of his current commission for a private residence in Sydney. The pure and linear elements are very close to the Scandinavian school of design.

It was also a good opportunity for me to meet the designers or representatives of the three design brands who will represent Melbourne in Downtown Design next month during the first edition of Dubai Design Week. We teamed up with Design Matters/Melbourne Design Week and I enjoyed a lot spending time at Christopher Boots' showroom meeting his team but also Jonathan Ben-Tovim and Andre Hnatojko. I am sure you will love their creations, right mix between high-end sophistication and urban feeling.

Next stop: Beijing with the opening of our first exhibition of UAE design, 'Wasl', which runs during Beijing Design Week...

Cyril Downtown Design column

Cyril Downtown Design column

Cyril Downtown Design column