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Dubai Design District

Dubai Design District

Dubai Design District Free Zone (D3) is a multifunctional complex that is part of the TECOM Free Zone Business Park and the Dubai Development Authority (DDA).

It houses the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DID), commercial complexes, shops, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs.

D3 is a focus of creative thinkers associated with art, crafts and culture. It attracts talented fashion designers and artists of different directions from all over the world. This is a real realm of creativity, fashion and culture, where recognized artists, trendsetters and progressive thinkers shape the future of design every day.

The interactive ecosystem provides a platform for startups and students, allowing them to rethink existing postulates, go beyond what is proposed, and contribute to the birth of new creative ideas and directions. The platform is aimed at nurturing a creative community. It allows the younger generation to express themselves as much as possible, challenge norms, nurture even the most daring ideas, turn them into reality.

Concerts, exhibitions, and other performances are held here in the open air throughout the year.

Dubai Design District is a free zone business park where everyone who has a license registered by the Dubai Development Authority (DDA) can work and create.


History of Dubai Design District

The idea of creating a free space to encourage growth and investment in markets such as digital media, art, design and fashion belongs to the Prime Minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Dubai Design District project is the last of the business spaces in the free zone TECOM Investments.

In 2013, ECOM Group launched the first phase of construction. In two years, 11 buildings have grown here, including 1,000 office and 100 commercial units, coworking and exhibition halls have opened. Thus, the foundation of a space was created to encourage local and international talents related to art, culture and fashion. The first stage of construction was completed at the end of 2015.

At the second stage, the main focus will be on the creation of a creative community, and at the third stage – the development of the Shouting side. Upon completion of the second and third construction phases, even more studios, hospitality facilities, shops, and exhibition halls will be launched in the community.

D3 is designed in such a way that local talents and aspiring designers can work and have fun without needing anything, and startups and developing enterprises increase their growth rates. There are numerous nightclubs and entertainment centers where you can have a great time. D3 is part of Dubai’s modernization plan, which already embodies the most creative ideas of street art. But the project has not been completed yet, construction continues.

Advantages of starting a business

  • advantageous location in close proximity to Business Bay, Dubai Mall, and Burj Khalifa;
  • exemption from income and corporate taxes for the first 50 years;
  • 100% foreign ownership;
  • it is possible to hire foreigners without restrictions;
  • there are no restrictions on conducting currency transactions;
  • free withdrawal of earned funds to the homeland;
  • simple laws and legal framework;
  • special licensing for artists, designers and fashion designers with freelance work permits;
  • artists from all over the world, working side by side, they can collaborate and open new horizons for young talents and startups.


Registration in Dubai Design District

The registration procedure consists of three stages:

  1. Application submission.
  2. Collecting and providing a package of documents.
  3. Obtaining a registration certificate and license.

Which companies can be opened in the free zone?

  1. LLC FEZ. This is a limited liability company owned by a legal entity with at least one director.
  2. A branch of a local company registered in the UAE. An organization cannot exist autonomously: it must perform functions corresponding to the direction of the parent company’s activities.
  3. A branch of a foreign company. He must also conduct operations in line with the work of the parent company. No authorized capital is required to open it, but it must be owned locally by 51%.
  4. The permission of a freelancer gives the right to work as a freelance employee on his own behalf, and not on behalf of the trademark.


On-shore companies

On-shore companies are companies that are allowed to operate on the mainland of the emirate within the free zone, but they must be 51% owned by local entrepreneurs.

License types

There are four types of licenses in the free zone:

  • commercial;
  • service;
  • for production;
  • for freelancers.

The license allows you to conduct business in such segments as:

  • marketing, media services;
  • fashion and beauty;
  • design;
  • e-commerce;
  • support services;
  • event organization;
  • freelance;
  • consulting.

Approximate costs

  1. Registration fee – 3520 AED;
  2. Obtaining a permit – 15000 AED;
  3. Additional costs for adding production (if necessary) – 5000 AED;
  4. Additional cost for the second segment (if necessary) – 15,000 AED;
  5. The freelancer’s permission is 7520 AED.

Freelancer’s permission does not require capital. If the company has more than 1 shareholder, you will have to pay an additional 500 dirhams. Fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 5%. If the licensing conditions require the presence of authorized capital, then its amount in the amount of 50 000 to 100 000 dirhams of the UAE (depending on the selected segment) must be deposited into a bank account before issuing a license to the company. The share capital will be returned to the new company’s bank account as soon as the account is opened.


To obtain a permit, you need to get a workplace, a resident visa and collect documents.

Office space

Office space in D3

A number of options are offered for licensed organizations and holders of freelance permits:

  1. Flexible table, which gives the right to issue 2 visas, as well as round-the-clock access to work pavilions in turn. It costs 26250 dirhams.
  2. Physical office premises with an area of up to 1000 “squares” (every 9 sq.m. gives the right to one visa). The price is 220 dirhams per “square”.
  3. Coworking with one visa and round-the-clock access to work areas on a first-come, first-served basis. The price is 5250 dirhams.

When renting a physical office, a deposit of 25% of the total rent is required. Fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 5%.


  1. Application for registration.
  2. Information about the shareholder(s).
  3. A copy of the business plan.
  4. The original Charter.
  5. Permission of the Council.
  6. A copy of the passport.
  7. Sample signature of the head and director.
  8. Proof of equity.
  9. The card of the institution.

All documents must be completed in accordance with the requirements of the form, signed, notarized. After handing over the package to the authorities, you will be given a receipt for payment.

Resident visa

If you are in the UAE and are applying for a work visa within the country with a local amendment, you do not need to leave the country to change your status. A visa change is only possible if the applicant has cancelled his previous residence visa or is moving to D3.

The cost of registration is the same for those living outside the Emirates and those who want to change their status while living inside the country – 3370 dirhams. You also need to pay 2500 dirhams for a guaranteed visa deposit. The latter amount is subject to VAT (5%).

Infrastructure for business

Infrastructure for business

Presented by:

  • Commercial Spaces;
  • in5 Centers;
  • Warehouses;
  • Retail (retail premises).

Commercial premises

Attractive office spaces are designed in accordance with the highest standards and the possibility of preserving open ceilings and “raw” elements, which allows creatives to turn spaces into a continuation of their own creativity: from inspiring offices to impressive ateliers. 


  • conveniently located;
  • belong to class “A”, certified in accordance with LEED;
  • have basement warehouses.

For users it is offered:

  • dual license (DED/Freezone);
  • multiple retail options, F&B, wellness;
  • free zone easy access codes.

in5 Centres

in5 Centres

Offer the following 5 key benefits for startups and participants:

  • business setup;
  • equipped workplaces;
  • mentoring;
  • seminars and events;
  • cooperation with investors.

in5 Centers offers include a business incubation program, annual membership, as well as rental of premises and equipment, which allows students, entrepreneurs, and startups to make a profit and develop.

Entrepreneurs with a business idea or a minimally viable product in the field of technology, design or media can apply for participation in the in5 startup incubation program and take advantage of its benefits.

Students, entrepreneurs, and professionals are offered access to creative workspaces and specialized in5 facilities. This will help you develop your skills through year-round seminars, events, mentoring opportunities, internships.

At in5 Centers, you can rent a site, specialized premises, equipment on an hourly or daily basis. There are multi-purpose halls, editing suites, prototyping labs, and more to support technology, media, and artistic creation classes.

Students, entrepreneurs, startups can work at one of three innovative, specialized, fully equipped incubation sites:

  1. in5-tech is located to help aspiring entrepreneurs implement their revolutionary ideas. The platform offers its startups and members access to an equipped workspace, technical facilities, and event venues.
  2. in5 Design, located in the heart of D3, is an innovative center for emerging artists. This is a creatively equipped space and a one-of-a-kind prototyping laboratory.
  3. in5-media is a digital media center focused on creating specialized products and content. It provides access to premises with high-quality equipment and equipment necessary for the production of media: cinema halls, editing kits and many others.


Warehouses in Dubai Design District

Entrepreneurs will be able to expand their business by using the services of multi-purpose warehouses with ready-made infrastructure and first-class construction standards in the business districts of TECOM Group. Alternatively, you can choose one of the warehouses occupying the basement of commercial buildings with round-the-clock security. Indoor spaces ranging from 5,000 to 11,000 square feet are suitable for light production, logistics, storage. There are offices, trade and exhibition halls. The main sliding door of 6X6 meters leads inside. Inside the warehouses are equipped with lighting, air conditioning, and fire safety systems. On the territory there is Parking, loading area.

Trade pavilions

D3 is a platform where you can relax, relax, get in shape. Here you can:

  • pamper yourself with fashionable things or cosmetics from boutiques of the world’s leading brands;
  • have a quick lunch in a French bistro or get an unforgettable dinner experience in a lively atmosphere;
  • drink a cup of freshly brewed coffee while admiring the fabulous urban landscapes;
  • get acquainted with contemporary art and design trends by visiting the exhibition pavilion or Art Hub,Gallery Ward galleries, Citizen E Gallery or Sconci Art Gallery;
  • purchase unique exhibition products in the showroom;
  • take care of your health or just actively spend time in one of several equipped gyms;
  • pamper your body in a beauty salon;
  • enjoy amazing events and get inspired.

How to become a freelancer?

How to become a freelancer

The GoFreelance project is designed to simplify the registration of talented freelancers, facilitate creative activity and provide everything necessary to build their independent future.

The project will do:

  1. Professional web designers engaged in the conceptualization and creation of websites on the World Wide Web.
  2. Designers of all types of clothing for men, women, children: from underwear, sports, casual clothes to high fashion outfits.
  3. Concept designers engaged in the evaluation, development, design of ideas, new objects, concepts that are tangible or intangible.
  4. Costume designers working in the field of selecting the most suitable accessories for casual wear, photo shoots, commercials, theatrical productions, movies.
  5. Fashion artists who create illustrations of clothing and accessories for newspapers or related advertisements.
  6. Fashion stylists, image makers, choosing clothes, accessories, for photo shoots, commercial print catalogs, TV appearances, music videos, concert performances. Fashion stylists work with photographers, directors, production houses, modeling agencies.
  7. Hairdressers-stylists.

How does GoFreelance work?

  1. Register, get login credentials to our axs online portal.
  2. Log in to axs, apply by following 3 simple steps.
  3. Pay the bill online or in person.

What documents are needed?

  • freelancer license;
  • enterprise card for 2000 dirhams UAE;
  • UAE phone number;
  • valid medical insurance;
  • original passport;
  • passport photo.

What are the advantages of GoFreelance? 

Freelance in Dubai Design District

Once you become a freelancer, you will immediately immerse yourself in a stimulating creative environment, choose any available place and get access to the amenities, privileges, social events and professional services of the community. You will be able to:

  1. Collaborate with freelancers from various industries, including technology, media, education.
  2. Apply for a visa for a period of one or three years.
  3. Use the capabilities of business centers around the clock.
  4. Take advantage of exclusive online platforms – and , uniting freelancers and companies.
  5. Take advantage of the standard package of services, including uninterrupted high-speed Wi-Fi access, access to the conference room, coffee.

Lifestyle in the design district

This free zone is for artists and fashion designers. It houses the headquarters of world-famous fashion houses, startup offices, concept boutiques, trendy cafes, contemporary art galleries, art studios, souvenir shops, showrooms. The walls of the parking lots here are decorated with works by the British artist of Iraqi origin Marwan Shakarchi, better known under the pseudonym Myneandyours. It is also a creative platform where the largest performances related to music, culture and art are held, including the Dubai Design Week exhibition and the Sole DXB festival. Life here does not stop for a second, day or night.

Real Estate


  • coworking;
  • exhibition halls;
  • shopping center.

The commissioned buildings have fully equipped offices and studios available as coworking spaces. They provide a wide range of services: from high-speed Internet to well-maintained warehouses. However, it is impossible to obtain ownership here, the premises can only be rented.

Licensed enterprises registered in the DDA, as well as freelancers can do this.


Paramount Hotel

There are no hotels on the territory of this free zone, but there are a lot of them in the nearest neighboring neighborhoods, for example, in Business Bay. You can settle in:

  • five-star Paramount Hotel;
  • five-star JW Marriott Marquis Hotel;
  • four-star Doubletree by Hilton.

These luxury hotels are famous for first-class luxury apartments and restaurants. The Hilton is located in the Bay Square multifunctional complex.

The Paramount Hotel is a tribute to the glamour of Old Hollywood. It was built and decorated under the influence of the 105-year history of the Paramount Pictures film company. The hotel offers themed suites, as well as a Malibu Deck bar, cinema, dining room, cinema, swimming pools, fitness studio.

The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel consists of two skyscrapers, each with 82 floors, making it the second tallest hotel in the world. It houses several fine restaurants and bars, as well as 1,608 luxurious rooms.

Transport, parking

You can always find and reserve places in underground parking lots. A unique feature of these garages is the artistic embossing, which gives them a creative look.

Public transport

The city’s public transport system makes it easy to travel by taxi, buses, metro, trams. You can order a taxi through the RTA app or use the services of Uber or Careem.

There is a bus stop in the area serving routes D03 and D03A. They lead to the city shopping center, as well as to other bus stops and metro stations.

To get to the nearest metro station Financial Centre and Emirates Tower, you need to drive along Financial Center Road (D71) no more than 5-10 minutes.


You can buy groceries at the All Day Gourmet supermarket, which is the 52nd Allday Chance store in the UAE.

Other supermarkets are located in Business Bay and Downtown. These are:

  • F Mart – DAMAC Towers by Paramount Hotels & Resorts, Business Bay;
  • West Zone Fresh – Fairview Residence, Business Bay;
  • Spinneys – West South Ridge, Downtown.

These supermarkets are among the best in the city due to the wide range and high quality of goods. Spinneys supermarkets are famous for natural fresh products, as well as ice cream.

Mosques, temples, churches

Ahel Al-Sunnah Mosque

There are prayer rooms in the second and eleventh buildings. Larger mosques are located in neighboring communities. The closest are:

  • Ahel Al-Sunnah Mosque;
  • Al-Ghafoor Mosque (it’s in Business Bay);
  • Al-Wasl Club Mosque.

Hindu emigrants live in Bur Dubai. All Hindu temples are concentrated here. You can get to the place in 20 minutes.

Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar is opened in the Sikh community in the village of Jebel Ali (it is outside the city limits). It is the largest temple in the Persian Gulf region: its area is 125 thousand square feet.

Christian churches also exist:

  • St. Mary’s Catholic Church is one of the oldest in the Persian Gulf region;
  • Holy Trinity Church;
  • St. Thomas Orthodox Church;
  • Norwegian Sailors Center.

Schools and institutes

Blossom Kindergarten is open for kids. Qualified teachers help students to learn about the world and develop, and pediatricians and nurses monitor their health. The kindergarten has a convenient location, its services are enjoyed by parents working nearby.

Schools for older children are not located in the district itself, but not far from it. Some of them belong to the category of the best in the city, these are:

  • Private School JSS;
  • Heartland International School;
  • Swiss International Scientific School.

Jagadguru Sri Shivaratri Ishwara Private School (JSS) is a 9-minute drive away in Al Wasl. The educational institution is part of an Indian charitable foundation, namely the JSSMVP group. Children from kindergarten age to grade 12 study here. This is one of the most prestigious general education institutions in the city.

Heartland International School is a 9-minute drive from Mohammed bin Rashid City (MBR). Children and teenagers from basic classes to graduation also study here. The training takes place in accordance with the national curriculum of the United Kingdom.

The Swiss International School of Science is a 14-minute drive from Al-Jaddaf. It offers a bilingual curriculum with a combination of English/French or English/German. The educational institution follows the IB curriculum and has classes from preschool to 12th.

Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation offers a Bachelor’s Degree (BDEs). Students can choose several disciplines and get an education by attending lectures, seminars, practical classes or studying according to an individual program. 

Clinics, hospitals

Emirates Hospital and Clinic on Bay Avenue Business Bay

The nearest medical facilities can be reached in 9-12 minutes. The best are:

  • Emirates Hospital and Clinic on Bay Avenue Business Bay;
  • Iranian Hospital “Safa Clinic”;
  • The hospital for Women and Children “Latifa” is one of the largest maternity hospitals and children’s hospitals in the country.

The Emirates Hospital & Clinic Business Bay branch employs medical staff specializing in cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, ENT, obstetrics and gynecology, internal diseases, pediatrics, general medicine.

The Safa Clinic provides medical services in the field of dentistry, dermatology, ENT, internal medicine, pediatrics, has an X-ray department, as well as a laboratory.

Shopping malls

There are a lot of retail outlets, but there are no large shopping centers. However, there are several shopping centers located nearby, which are considered the best in the city, these are:

  • Dubai Mall;
  • WAFI Shopping Center;
  • Dubai City Mall Festival.

Dubai Moll is a 7-minute walk away. This is one of the largest shopping malls in the world: it occupies an area of 12 million square feet. Here you can:

  • buy any product, including from the world’s leading brands, in one of hundreds of shops and boutiques;
  • enjoy different cuisines of the world in dozens of restaurants;
  • visit an ice rink;
  • walk in the park virtual reality;
  • immerse yourself in the world of an underwater zoo.

It takes no more than 10 minutes to get to WAFI shopping center. It is located in Dubai Healthcare City. The “chip” of the shopping center is the architectural style in which it is made. The entrance is decorated with statues of pharaohs, mythical animals, columns with hieroglyphic inscriptions. The doors resemble the gates to the holy city, a miniature pyramid is installed on the roof.

Festival City can be reached in 13 minutes. It features more than 400 local and international Luxury brands.


Home kitchen-bakery,

There are more than a dozen of them in the area, and each offers a rich menu for every taste. Some of them work as nightclubs. Addresses are the numbers of the buildings in which they are located:

  • “Vikolo” – building 4;
  • 1Life, “Mohalla”, “Tossed” – building 5;
  • “Molecule”, “Lighthouse” – building 6;
  • Home kitchen-bakery, “Table for Mom”, “Yui” – building 7;
  • “Akiba Tori” – building 8;
  • “Chez Charles” – building 11.

1Life offers a healthy food menu, including vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, as well as non-vegetarian products. You can enjoy a healthy Mediterranean menu in the “Lighthouse”. It serves tuna tartare on toast, sea bream shake. Akiba Tori and YUi are Japanese restaurants. Akiba Tori architecture is inspired by a covered alley in Akihabara, Tokyo. In YUi, you can try ramen.

Home cooking-the bakery offers breakfasts, pies, loaves, cookies, and other homemade pastries. Mohalla is a kingdom of Indian cuisine specializing in street food.

Molecule is a bistro and lounge serving Mediterranean cuisine. Mum’s Table prepares homemade Syrian food: tahini, halloumi, labneh, samosa. In Tossed, you can prepare any dish yourself from fresh ingredients. Vicolo is an Italian restaurant, and Chez Charles serves fine French cuisine.

Molecule, Chez Charles, The Lighthouse and Akiba Dori serve visitors during the day, and at night are open as nightclubs.

Dubai Design District has many coffee shops with world-famous names, including Starbucks and The Espresso Lab. Here you can drink coffee, have a snack.

Full bars and chic surroundings, as well as fine Spanish, Italian and French cuisine can be found in restaurants and nightclubs in the nearby Business Bay, in:

  • The Galliard, where Turkish delicacies are served;
  • Tong Tai – all kinds of Thai food;
  • ROCK, an award-winning Japanese restaurant;
  • Steakhouse World Cut is an American steakhouse with an exquisite atmosphere, furniture made of natural dark wood, leather upholstery.

Entertainment events, famous attractions

Ras Al Khor Nature Reserve

10-12 minutes drive from the D3, which itself is known as the city entertainment center, there are no less impressive sights:

  • Ras Al Khor Nature Reserve;
  • Dubai Opera;
  • Dubai Canal.

Ras Al Khor is a wetland area under the supervision of the municipality. It is best known for its flamingos, but it is also rich in flora and fauna, various species of mammals, reptiles, birds, mangroves.

The Dubai Opera is located in the central part of Downtown. Its eight–storey building, designed by Janus Rostock, has the shape of a dhow – an ancient Arab boat. Hundreds of musical concerts, jazz performances and comedy performances take place on the opera stage throughout the year.

The Dubai Canal is an artificial waterway stretching 3.2 km along the Sheikh Zayed Highway (E11). It is a popular place with an embankment, five pedestrian bridges, a network of waterways and parks. The canal is a continuation of the Deira Creek. As an entertainment, you can take a boat trip: ride an abra or a doe.

Active recreation, fitness, beauty

Dubai Men's Salon

The Warehouse gym is located on the ground floor of Building 8. It provides all types of fitness services, including multifunctional fitness equipment for weightlifting, crossfit, bodybuilding.

Men’s salon Chaps & Co provides all types of cosmetic procedures for the stronger sex: manicure, pedicure, facials, massage.

The Block is a park for active recreation, including a skate track, many sports fields, a city beach, climbing walls.

Public events

The district regularly hosts events dedicated to high fashion and art art, these are:

  • Design Week;
  • Fashion House Festival;
  • Architecture Festival;
  • Fashion show demonstrations. 

Information about them can be found on the website.Performances are held under the roof, in one of the five covered atriums, or on one of the six outdoor areas, which are called:

  • Core;
  • Stairs;
  • North;
  • South;
  • Event area;
  • High D3.

Small exhibitions, demonstrations, seminars are held in small halls:

  1. Colab is a library with an open space adapted for events of creative–minded people and the creation of their communities.
  2. The Factory – Retail 07. This is a studio where workshops and talks are often held.

Beaches nearby

Beaches near D3

Driving west by car, you can reach the coast in 15 minutes, where the excellent beaches of Jumeirah Public Beach and Kite Beach are spread out. Jumeirah Public Beach with a 1.8 km running track and a lively atmosphere is ideal for water sports, spending the day in the sun.

Kite Beach offers many amenities that are not limited to water sports, but also include a skate park, gym, outdoor sports grounds, several retail outlets, snack bars on wheels, kitesurfing.

Nearby areas

The closest are:

  • Business Bay;
  • Zaabil;
  • Ras Al Khor;
  • Mohammed bin Rashid City;
  • Meydan City.

Business Bay is a multifunctional area with a dynamic lifestyle, reminiscent of Manhattan in New York. This is the business center of the city and the emirate.

Moving north, you can get to Za’abeel. It includes the luxury residential complexes Al Kifaf, Za’abeel 1 and Za’abeel 2, a palace and a park with the same names. The attraction of the park is the famous Dubai Frame.

Ras al-Khor is located to the east. This is a mixed-use area combining industrial and residential buildings. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is located nearby.

To the south are Meydan City and Mohammed bin Rashid City. These are two parts of the larger territorial formation of Nad-Al-Sheba. Meydan City and Mohammed Bin Rashid City are designed as multifunctional complexes in which luxury mansions, apartments, villas will be created, green eco zones will be laid out. It is planned to build a shopping center in MBR City, which, according to the architects’ idea, should become the largest in the world. The construction has not been completed yet.Dubai Design District is an area under construction, conceived as a global design center that promotes the development of local talents and provides a home for creative thinkers from around the world. He has concentrated in himself the huge potential of the luxury fashion and interior design industry. This free zone has become a base for companies, large and small specialized enterprises: from local design studios and boutiques to prestigious global fashion houses.

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