Herriot-Watt students win nation-wide student design competition during INDEX

Heriot-Watt University’s Dubai Campus students are the only finalists in a design competition that set a unique challenge to the region’s young, prospective designers: to create a furniture concept made predominantly from arish (palm fronds).

The region-wide competition is run by tasmena an international not-for-profit association engaged in and empowering others to develop place-specific design solutions for sustainable urban living, and ISG, an international construction services company.

The five finalists were all chosen from Heriot-Watt’s second year Interior Design course – the first time in the competition’s history that all teams have come from one University, chosen through blind submissions by a panel of judges.


The first prize was awarded to Chris Gregory, Nigel Rosario and Roxanne Chua for their project called The Gardeners.

Over the period of three days, the five finalists brought their creations to life in a closed workshop environment. In teams of either two or three, the finalists were evaluated on how well they expressed and translated their workshop experience to reach their final submission.

Palm-Leaf Architecture celebrates an indigenous building and craft tradition unique to the Arabian peninsula and students brought to life concepts that combined both the durable materials of the palms and alternatives to create pieces of outdoor furniture.

Bruce Paget, director of studies, Interior Design, Heriot Watt University Dubai Campus, said: “This has been a challenging but extremely worthwhile experience for our students. To have all five finalists chosen from Heriot-Watt has been overwhelming and a true testament to the raw talent we are shaping here on campus.

“The results have been impressive and we look forward to having the students showcase them during the upcoming INDEX interior design event.”

A number of interior experts were present on the final day of the competition to provide critique and feedback to the teams, these included Isabel Pintado, managing director, LW Design Group; Serge Kalonda Kahendua senior designer, DWP Design Worldwide Partnership; Richard Wilson, managing director, Scratch Communications; and Ajith Gopinathan senior project manager at Erco Lighting.


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