Student designers break into industry

Student designers

UAE: Winners have been announced for the Student Loft Competition, organised by Dubai-based Mazarii Interiors and The Office Expo organisers, dmg events, and sponsored by the office furniture and interior fit-out firm, Bafco.

Four interior design students were picked from 40 entries at the event at the Dubai World Trade Centre (May 17-19) and they will attend a technical furniture design workshop organised by Bafco, with one design sent to production to make their product.

If their design is mass produced by the regional Bafco factory, the winner will be entitled to a royalty fee of 10% for every piece produced and can choose the name for their personal designer product range.


Linda Nubani, managing director, Mazarii Interiors, said this year was the fourth time the competition had been held but the entries had a different edge to them because of the nature of the prize, which has been sponsored by Bafco for the first time.

“This year, we are working with Bafco and have decided the ultimate prize is the winning piece becoming a reality, giving the student a chance to become a celebrity in the design field,” she said.

“The entries we received were very creative and ahead of their time – some cannot even be manufactured today. This is why they will be trained on how to make manufacturing their pieces possible in the world of office furniture.

The four winners, Chitra Keswani from the British University in Dubai (BUiD), Fariha Bhadelia, of the American University in Dubai (AUD), and Mariam Waheed and Alaa Zayat both from Abu Dhabi University, each received Bodyflex, an ergonomic chair that won the Red Dot Design award in 2010, and the Elepod, the portable charging track, from Bafco.

Gilbert Grino, marketing manager, Bafco, said the Student Loft Competition was set up to nurture and help new designers.

“The hardest part for a writer is to get published. Here, we’re trying to help young designers cross that divide to get recognition within the industry.

We are here to help them understand what components and materials can be used to turn their concept into a reality. Our Product Research & Development (PR&D) team will be teaching the workshop,” he added.

Keswani won the award for Most Creative Piece for a storage unit that works within the current office environment. It is a storage box which users can fix on to their desk space to allow them more room.

“We can tweak the design to add privacy panels,” she said. “I’m glad the effort behind my work was appreciated. I am very excited to learn that there will be workshops concentrating on the technical details of the project.”

Bhadelia won Best Concept for her design of a receptionist’s desk. She said she tries to be futuristic in her designs and likes to work with technology when she can.

“It can be made out of recyclable materials. It looks very tech savvy because I wanted to catch a person’s eye as soon as they enter a room. It’s made up of squares and has lights installed in it.”

Waheed took the title for Most Simple Workstation and her classmate, Zayat’s design won the Most Functional Piece award.

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