The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), in collaboration with globally renowned creative experience company Semi Permanent, is set to launch a first-in-the-region creativity festival which will bring with it an array of global talent from the design, retail, branding, fashion, and technology industries.

Semi Permanent Middle East 2021 will take place at the emirate’s cultural hub Manarat Al Saadiyat, with the venue given an innovative design makeover by leading LA-based design studio Perron—Roettinger. The festival will then feature an immersive, multi-sensory schedule of inspiring performances, talks and experiences across three days in October 2021.

Curated around the theme ‘Bridges’, which aims to inspire unique solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges, the exciting partnership between Retail Abu Dhabi, the retail platform of the DCT Abu Dhabi, and Semi Permanent will cement the emirate’s role in enabling industry growth in the region.

“Partnering with Semi Permanent is a strategic move to further establish and elevate Abu Dhabi’s presence as a hub of retail design, business and creativity, continuously creating opportunities for the industry,” said HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi. “As a headline event, we are tapping into an internationally recognised brand partner in Semi Permanent and signalling our intention to host a gathering of creative forces from every corner of the world.”

Leading the way of confirmed guests will be Mark Ronson, the British-born Oscar- and Grammy-winning songwriter, record producer and DJ, who will appear ‘in conversation’ and perform an exclusive DJ set. Also on the bill will be the official release of an exclusive-to-Abu Dhabi bespoke collection from Rotterdam-based objects designer Sabine Marcelis, whose collaborations include Celine and Burberry.

Turkish-born, Los Angeles-based new media artist Refik Anadol will also stage an exclusive large format installation in the emirate; The Flower Shop NYC will host a dining pop-up; and Aaron Rose of La Rosa Social Club will debut in the Middle East alongside a host of world-renowned contemporary art-makers, including Tom Sachs, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Barry McGee.

“Abu Dhabi’s rapid cultural growth into an international epicentre of art, design and technology, and its gateway-positioning for the wider Arab world, Africa and Asia make it the perfect host,” said Semi Permanent Founder and Creative Director, Murray Bell. “Through a series of internationally renowned art exhibitions, hotel openings, and collaborations with some of the world’s most respected architects - including Jean Nouvel and Bjarke Ingels – it is clear this is a community with limitless imagination.

“The challenges of 2020 have meant there has never been a better time to design a future we can be proud of, together. We’re excited to bring some of the world’s most inspiring people to this infinite place, and for them to explore new ideas and possibilities with you at Semi Permanent Middle East.”

The ongoing Go Safe Certification initiative will continue to apply global safety and cleanliness standards for the event, as well as across malls, hotels, attractions, restaurants, theme parks and public venues in Abu Dhabi.

Semi Permanent Middle East 2021 will be held at Manarat Al Saadiyat from October 14-16, 2021. Further announcements featuring international and local talents, as well as regional collaborations, will be made soon.