Urban Commissions

Urban Commissions is a design competition launched by Art Dubai Group, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and d3 in 2014 to celebrate the UAE’s growing design-conscious urban development and engage with the local design community. It offers a grant of AED50,000 to the winning design submission which is then manufactured fully in the UAE.

The fourth edition of Urban Commissions has launched and is accepting applications.

Water Feature

Dubai is synonymous with water - the Dubai Creek; the mammoth Dubai Water Canal project; the Dubai Fountains; its shoreline which extends along the length of the city; and the refrigerated potable water cabins outside private residences to quench the thirst of passersby.

Water features usually appear in the courtyards of homes and are a staple of regional architecture. These features cool the air around them and enhance both the surrounding physical and aural landscapes with a serenity only natural elements can command.

This year Urban Commissions invites designers living in the UAE to design an urban water feature that can be placed in the outdoor arena of Dubai Design District (d3). The feature can be a pond, a birdbath, a fountain, or any design that invites people to gather around water for enjoyment.


  • the majority of the submitted design must be a body of water for outdoor placement in Dubai Design District (d3)
  • the feature can be still or dynamic, but the design must be comprehensive and include technical solutions for fountains or movement in the water and be fully integrated into the body of the design
  • Dubai Design District (d3) is a heavily trafficked neighbourhood. Due to the number of public events hosted by d3, the water feature must be easily movable
  • the feature must occupy no larger than 4 square metres, as it will be relocated regularly
  • it must weigh less than 400kg per square metre due to venue restrictions
  • it must be easy to maintain and clean, keeping in mind Dubai’s climate and environment (heat, dust and sand)
  • the water does not need to be potable (suitable for drinking)
  • the design must be manufactured and installed entirely within a budget of AED50,000

Deadline for submission: 30th January, 2018


Please complete the registration form here.

Submissions must include a minimum of one and maximum of five digital files showing the proposed concept – (physical models, renderings, architectural drawings and/or sketches are encouraged). All images must be high quality and a maximum of 1MB.

The call is open to anyone residing in the UAE. Applicants ca¬n be individuals or collectives. Both students and professionals are encouraged to participate.

The winning design will be selected by professional judges, and it must be manufactured entirely in the UAE.
For any further information please contact urbancommissions@dubaidesignweek.ae

About Urban Commissions

In the past three years, the Urban Commissions competition received over 300 submissions from individuals and collaborating groups at varied stages of their design careers hailing from more than 30 nationalities.

The inaugural winning commission was IDO Bench designed by architect Anna Szonyi. After graduating from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Anna moved to the UAE where she has worked as an architect, design manager and product designer for over a decade. Since winning the Urban Commissions competition in 2015, she has partnered with India-based design studio Apical Reform to open AR Gallery in d3 which showcases cutting-edge design collaborations.


Hinjal Ashok Kumar, an architecture graduate from the American University of Sharjah (AUS), won the Urban Commissions competition in 2016 with Bike d3. Her sculptural shelter was designed to initiate a change of lifestyle that caters to the creative growth of the city by providing mobility and initiating networking in the urban fabric. She currently works at the Sharjah Art Foundation, practicing as an architect whilst being exposed to art. This year, she trained under the Venice internship program for the National Pavilion UAE at the Biennale di Venezia and exhibited her Dimensions series at the Sikka Art Fair, Dubai Culture.


SUPERFUTUREDESIGN*, a creative lab founded by four Italian partners in Dubai in 2009, won the Urban Commissions competition in 2017 with Mu.TABLE. This series of simple, minimalist, modular elements is composed of concrete volumes, and Marine Plywood tabletops mitred at 45 degree angles to lock into a welded steel structure without the use of screws.

Mu Table

All Urban Commissions have been placed in the walkways of d3.