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Young minds, novel designs
by Muhammad Yusuf November 09, 2017
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Held under the patronage of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and hosted by Dubai Design District (d3), Global Grad Show (GGS) has announced project selections for the third edition of the annual exhibition of inventions from graduates of the world’s leading design and technology universities.

Curated by renowned author and designer Brendan McGetrick, 200 innovative projects have been selected from over 470 global entries. The selections will be presented at the Global Grad Show Nov. 14-18 during Dubai Design Week (DXBDW). A not for profit initiative, GGS welcomes graduates from 92 universities and 40 countries to Dubai to present prototypes around the themes of empowerment, connection and sustainability.

The graduates hail from universities far and wide, including leading institutions such as Design Academy Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), Royal College of Art (UK), and National University of Singapore.

Work from regional institutions will be on view, including projects from the American University of Sharjah, Zayed University, NYU Abu Dhabi, KAUST, German University in Cairo, Middle East Technical University and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Sheikha Latifa said: “The Global Grad Show is a celebration of innovation and creativity, and is an immensely significant platform for encouraging and shining the spotlight on the next generation of brilliant minds.

“I am also proud to see that the participation of our talented Emirati students has also increased with this edition and I wish to see this number increase further in the future”.

McGetrick has curated the projects based on his personal interpretation of design that emphasises four categories: innovation that transcends technology and exists independent of wealth; equality without hierarchy amongst universities, regions and designers; universal design open to all types of projects; and impact on the world at large through solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

“We organise Global Grad Show to be a celebration of beautiful ideas”, he explained. “It features projects that are designed to directly benefit social and environmental causes”.

This year, GGS introduces the inaugural Progress Prize, which will be awarded to one exhibiting project. The winning prototype will be selected by an international jury of global visionaries from fields of journalism, design, manufacturing, innovation and investment and demonstrate originality of idea, social impact, international relevance and feasibility.

Jury members include:

* Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum -Vice-Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority - Chair of the Jury

* Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi – CEO, Dubai Design District (d3)

* Edwin Heathcoate - Architecture and Design critic, The Financial Times

* Noah Murphy-Reinhertz - NXT Space Sustainability Leader, Nike

* Aric Chen – Lead Curator, Design and Architecture, M+ museum

* Petra Janssen - Owner and designer, Studio Boot and Social Label

* Hugo Macdonald - Design Critic and Consultant

* Faaris Naqvi - Founding Member, Bakery

* Noah Radford - COO and Futurist-in-Chief, Dubai Future Foundation.

Examples of projects on view include

* All PET Shoe - a football boot made entirely of recycled plastic bottles, designed at ECAL/University of Art and Design, Lausanne, Switzerland

* Trabecular Tectonics - a lightweight architecture inspired by the structure of bones, designed at the Politecnico, Milan

* Folks Kitchenware For The Blind - a system of kitchen utensils designed to aid the blind, designed at National University of Singapore, Singapore

* Out of sight drawer - a drawer that hides dangerous tools from dementia patients under a tray, which creates a false bottom to the drawer, designed at Pratt Institute, New York.

Enriching spring in cultural oasis

Muhammad Yusuf
Alserkal Cultural Foundation (ACF) founded by Ahmad bin Eisa bin Nasser Alserkal, organised a familiarisation event at their premises in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood (AFHN), Dubai, recently. As a hub for cultural development in the region, the ACF team says that the foundation aims to “promote, support and deliver voices of emerging innovators, creative minds and young talents, to the community”.

AFHN has a clutch of heritage buildings, which are used to incubate a number of varied cultural and artistic activities (both public and private), ranging from art exhibits, specialised museums, cultural and artistic societies and as ateliers to cultural centres (such as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Cultural Understanding). The district also hosts a number of seasonal cultural and artistic events such as Sikka Art Fair, Artists-in-Residence Programme, Heritage Week, National Day Events and religious celebrations.

ACF has adopted a heritage building and made it a space which hosts different concepts, ranging from exhibitions, workshops, fashion, storytelling, university programmes, cultural art tours, art conferences, art consultancy and management services and event organisation. It has also anchored itself as an active participant in popular events such as Dubai Design Week, Sikka Art Fair, hosted exhibitions in Dubai Mall and held charity events.

“I want to give back to the country by developing the Emirati spirit through promoting the nation’s unique heritage and cutting-edge innovations”, said Alserkal. “It is not only our Corporate Social Responsibility, but also our duty.”           

“We help develop business guidelines for emerging talents in order for them to make a successful art career and living out of it,” said Annamaria Bersani, ACF Director.

ACF is a non profit initiative and is considered a major force in the UAE art world. It started its work in 2015 as the first platform to support emerging artists and designers, and also with the aim of highlighting the AFHN with its rich archaeological heritage and intangible history. Since its establishment, it has assisted 110 artists and designers to make a mark in the market.

The ACF features five exhibition rooms, creativity corner, the Make Art Café, fashion and book corners, home corner and workshop room. Art and handicrafts at the Creativity Corner, besides being hot buys, have easy to handle qualities and are affordable.

Art exhibitions and workshops are held in-house and also at prestigious spots like Dubai Mall. They have helped to expose artists to a wider world and improve cultural understanding. The Book Corner, located on the Rooftop, is a treasure trove of hard to find books with titles on Art, Architecture, Travel, Design, Culture of the Region and Emirati History. At the Fashion Corner, you can purchase wearable forms of art. It is a catwalk for contemporary designs, with a traditional touch.

The Home Corner is dedicated to showcase handmade products for interior decor and lifestyle. The foundation hosts events like brand promotions, meetings, photo shoots, team building exercises, private events, and book launching and book signing programmes. The gourmet experience can be had at the Make Art Café, where fresh sandwiches and salads, desserts, and coffee are available.

The foundation has been visited by over 100,000 visitors in the past two years. Guests are international in character, hailing from almost all the countries of the globe, and include people searching for cultural enrichment, tourists looking for new highs, students seeking ideas to add to their scrapbooks, photographers, bloggers, online influencers, book publishers, families, walk in expats, local people wanting to refresh memories of their national history and dedicated followers – in short, a complete cross-section of UAE society.

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