INDEX Design Talks and Design Innovation Forum


The Design Innovation Forum will bring together leaders from the region’s design community to share their thoughts, ideas and inspirations for the years ahead.

Award-winning designer Karim Rashid will share his thoughts on ‘Sensual Minimalism’ as part of the Design Innovation forum, which will take an exploratory look at the impact and importance of innovation in the design industry.

Rashid explains: “I’m going to talk about how design priority has to start becoming a function. But not a function in the last century term, the function that is really shaping human experiences. So we need to let go of style just a little bit and focus more on humanity. Design’s agenda 175 years ago during the Industrial Revolution was mass production for a larger audience and before that design was a social agenda, but we’ve forgotten about it.”


One of the topics that will be discussed is “Shaping the Human Experience”. This entails creating ways to recognise, foster and communicate the human experience into design to improve lives and communities.

Tickets for the Design Innovation Forum cost $150 while tickets for Rashid’s INDEX Design Talks cost $50 per person.

The highly anticipated workspace at INDEX Design Talks, sponsored by OFIS, will feature headline speaker Gavin Phillips of Steelcase, who will provide in-depth insights into the relationships between engagement and the working environment, and how it affects organisations in the Middle East. The conference will be held on 23 May and is free to attend for registered visitors of workspace at INDEX.

Steelcase’s new report “Engagement & the Global Workplace”, which discusses how the work environment can either augment or hinder efforts to boost employee engagement, identifies areas of change to the workplace that can have the most positive impact. OFIS will examine the findings of this report, the result of data collected by global research firm IPSOS in 17 countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia. It provides interesting points of view on how the GCC region fares in comparison to international practices.

“We want to stimulate a debate based on these findings as well as discuss industry feedback,” says Ben Woods, general manager of OFIS. “When I viewed the results I was surprised by many of the findings, so it would be fascinating to hear our audience’s thoughts on this report.”

The four-day programme will include innovative talks to keep the design community abreast of the latest trends, challenges, and solutions in designing for workspaces in the education, healthcare, retail and other commercial projects in the Middle East.

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