Top Dubai Designers Join DIDI’s iForDesign Competition


Dubai-UAE: 19 October, 2020: The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation’s (DIDI) competition to create a miniature chair, iForDesign, will be judged by five industry experts including Emirati product designer Aljoud Lootah and Lebanese architect Fadi Sarieddine.


Hani Asfour, Dean of DIDI, Dr Carlos Montana, DIDI Associate Professor, and Saeed Alnofeli, Director of in5, will also review submissions for the contest, which is supported by Dubai Design District (d3) and startup incubator in5.


As the first Emirati designer to have her work acquired by an international gallery, Aljoud Lootah is one of the UAE’s most successful designers, with a unique style that interprets Emirati culture, traditional craftsmanship and contemporary aesthetics.


Fadi Sarieddine’s experimental approach to materials, applications and technologies has garnered international praise for his award-winning multidisciplinary, eponymous atelier that has delivered a range of commercial, residential and retail products.


Hani Asfour, Dean of DIDI, boasts more than 20 years’ experience in design, has been named one of the region’s 50 most influential architects by Middle East Architect magazine, and established award-winning multidisciplinary studio Polypod.


Dr Carlos Montana is an award-winning designer and academic. Many of his projects and those of his students have won major design prizes including the Braun Prize, Dupont Imagineering and Red Dot.


Saeed Alnofeli is the Director of in5 and joined the business incubator with a mandate to drive innovation across Dubai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of tech startup Jamalytic, which has brought cutting-edge data analytics capabilities to the billion-dollar camel racing industry.


Commenting on the announcement, Hani Asfour, Dean of DIDI, said: “Product design is an important part of the creative ecosystem and designing a chair is anything but easy—especially that humans are not designed to sit. Good design depends on empathy, critical thinking, and creative problem solving which are skills that will need to be carefully addressed by anyone taking part in this new competition.


“We are looking for entrants to reimagine chair design based around human needs, whether in culture, futurism, or sustainability. That is why we are excited to welcome Aljoud Lootah and Fadi Sarieddine onto the panel.”


Aljoud Lootah, Founder of Aljoud Lootah Design, added: “I’m delighted to join iForDesign as a judge for the inaugural contest and would like to thank DIDI for the opportunity. I’m often inspired by the confluence of Emirati heritage and contemporary design and hope to see products during this competition that play on the UAE’s rich history and ambitious vision for the future.”


Fadi Sarieddine, owner of Fadi Sarieddine Design Studio, commented: “Dubai is increasingly becoming a destination for creativities and this evolution has continued to support the city’s art and design scene. As an architect and furniture designer, I am excited to take part in iForDesign as a judge and look forward to seeing proposals that challenge the status quos, but are also practical and tell a unique story.”


iForDesign has already started receiving entries following an open call announcement in September seeking innovative, imaginative proposals from students, entrepreneurs, designers and the wider public to reinterpret the look and feel of a chair. In addition to raising awareness about the region’s talented creative industries, the competition seeks to raise the bar for industrial product design.


The first, second and third place winners will be awarded AED5,000, AED3,000 and AED2,000 respectively, as well as access to the in5 Design prototyping lab and an opportunity to exhibit their concept during Dubai Design Week 2020.


Submissions will be judged on criteria including innovation, functionality, ergonomics, feasibility, aesthetics, and emotional value. Registration is already open and participants are invited to submit their proposal before the deadline shuts on Wednesday 20 October by following the link:


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