How innovative and creative can a designer be when confronted with the challenge of transforming a chair?
That was the criteria laid down in a competition thrown open to senior interiors students in Dubai by Marina Home – and they were given just one week to make the transformation.
Zeina Khoury awarded first place in the design initiative #MarinaProjectRemake that offers senior students the opportunity to showcase their skills, and to be recognised by the industry.
Students commencing their third, fourth or fifth years at the Canadian University Dubai and American University in Dubai were invited to participate in the competition. The challenge for all of the students was taking a Marina Home’s canvas chair product and customising it.
Bookshelves, a lighting feature, a mirror, an indoor mini-garden, a mini-art studio and a swing were among the result when the creativity of the contestants was unleashed.
Khoury created a design called The Horizon which used lights to create a dazzling effect around the piece of furniture and was presented with her award at Marina Home showroom in Dubai.
The judges – which included in the panel Commercial Interior Design magazine editor Marina Petrovic – praised the “quality of excellence of her work” and it got top marks from both the panel of experts who looked at all the entries and in a public online vote.
“I feel so good,” she said after receiving the award. “When I first saw the chair I knew I wanted to express the idea of a horizon so lighting immediately came to mind. I designed it in just one day – then took a week to actually make it.
“I feel this is a stepping stone in my career and I definitely want to specialise in furniture.”
The judges said they were very pleased to see the variety on show during the event. They said: “There were a couple of different approaches taken. Some of the entries saw the chair as a chair and developed it from that basis. But others showed a real interesting thought process and weaved their designs around the furniture piece. We though that we would never look at this particular make of chair in the same way again.”
Aya Faour was placed in the top five of the competition with her mirror design.
“It represents the joy and purity of the soul of a child,” she said. “I want people to look at themselves in it – smile and be happy.”
Khurshid Vakil is co-founder of Marina Homes. He said: “Our aim was to give students the chance to be creative and showcase what they can do to the who’s who of the industry.
“The designs were on display at the Commercial Interior Awards and now our judges have placed them in order. We want to help budding designers to come forward and showcase their talent.
“Because of the university semesters they had just one week to design and create their ideas. The standard we received – especially with that timeframe in mind – was exceptional.”
Sahar Vakil, Head of Brand Development, Marina Home, said: “The talent pool in Dubai is immense and we wanted to build a platform that will motivate design students to push boundaries in terms of skill and creativity. The Schwitzke Group is at the vanguard of the interiors and design industry with expertise in architecture and design, store branding and store communication. An opportunity to work with their team will give any design student a holistic view of the industry and help them gain real life project experiences from the best of the best. For a talented designer-in-the-making like Zeina, it will give her career a huge boost and place her way ahead of the curve, not just regionally but internationally as well.”