Dubai Design Week: Inspiring Innovations at the Global Grad Show

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Asserting Dubai’s position as a global hub for innovation and meeting point for design, Dubai Design Week will bring together some of the world’s top postgraduate design students for a first-of-its-kind ‘global degree show’ that offers an insight into the future of design.

Working in partnership with the Royal College of Art, ten world-leading design universities have selected student projects that fall under the theme of innovation, covering a wide range of sectors, from health to industry.

The 50 projects chosen are not organised by their schools of origin but split into seven categories: Health, Home, Work, Play, Construction and Memory. Each exhibit has been selected by the show’s curator, the internationally acclaimed designer and writer Brendan McGetrick.

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Theme: Health – Jon Kuster, Open Water Guard

McGetrick, outlines what’s in-store from the designers of tomorrow at Dubai Design Week’s Global Grad Show.

“Global Grad Show is an exhibition of groundbreaking projects from the world’s leading design schools. The concept is to bring together, in a single space, highlights from the degree shows of de-sign programs from around the world, he says.

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Theme: Health – Elyn Wu Cali

Participating institutions are: Eindhoven University of Technology; ECAL (Lausanne); Hong Kong Polytechnic (Hong Kong); KAIST (Daejeon); KMD Keio (Kanagawa);  MIT (Cambridge, MA);  National University Singapore (Singapore); Pratt (New York); Royal College of Art (London) and Tsinghua (Beijing).

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Brendan adds: “Ordinarily a person would have to visit each school’s final exhibition individually enjoy the same experience. By bringing them all together, we’re able to provide an overview of what the world’s emerging designers are working on and a first glimpse at the ideas and tools that will shape the future.

With the focus on innovation, the Global Grad Show considers the role that technology will play in the designs of the future.

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Theme: Play – Pierre Charreau, Martin Hertig, Pauline Lemberger

“Technology is an essential part of design. In many ways, the two are inseparable. One of the interesting things about student (as opposed to professional) design work is the more experimental and critical position students take toward technology,” Brendan says.

“Some fully embrace it and use their projects to push technology beyond the obvious applications. Others use their designs to counteract the effects of technology. What I find really exciting about this show is that it’s not only a survey of the work being done in some of the world’s best design programs, it’s also an overview of the technologies that affect our lives, whether we are aware of them or not.

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Theme: Construction – Chao Chen, Water Reaction

Like Dubai Design Week itself, the Global Grad Show has been conceived and managed by the Art Dubai Group in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3). Held under the Patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Design Week is also supported by both the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA), and the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC).

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Hosted in d3 and free to the public, Global Grad Show draws upon the next generation of design talent to present a curated selection of concepts that have the potential to shape our future. By presenting an international overview of today’s design thinking, the exhibition aims to offer visitors a glimpse at the possible world of tomorrow.

Lindsay Miller, Managing Director of d3 comments, “As one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities in the Middle East, Dubai is the ideal location to host such an exhibition. This unique platform will provide a level field for emerging designers and creatives in a way that traditional design centres with established institutions and agendas, such as London or New York, simply couldn’t.”

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Theme: Construction – Aldana Ferrer Garcia, More Sky

London’s Royal College of Art has worked closely with the Art Dubai Group to bring the project to fruition. Dr Paul Thompson, rector of the RCA, explains the impetus behind their involvement: “At the Royal College of Art we bring together talented designers from all over the world in order to exchange ideas and innovate. We believe strongly that collaboration lies at the heart of transformative design, so the Global Grad Show is a great way of working across borders to bring about change and improvement in society. This is why we have been pleased to take the lead role in this initiative from the very beginning, and why we are represented by so many of our recent graduates”.

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Theme: Memory – Memory lamp by Jong-uk Im

The selected projects reflect both the social issues and technological possibilities that surround the current generation of emerging designers and – perhaps more than ever before – are united by the desire to resolve personal and societal problems rather than focusing on the aesthetic aspects of design. Some of the common themes that link the exhibits include:

The exhibition gives the featured students and universities a unique opportunity to demonstrate their work and areas of interest to a global audience. By providing a showcase and discussion forum for the world’s most innovative design thinking, Global Grad Show aims to play a positive part in shaping the international design landscape of tomorrow.

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