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DIDI Launches iForDesign Competition with Dubai Design District, in5 Support

iForDesign seeks ideas for sustainable, heritage-inspired or futuristic chairs
New competition highlights UAE talent, creativity and innovation
Winning prototype to be exhibited at Dubai Design Week


Sallam Sallam

The Dubai Institute of Design & Innovation (DIDI) has announced a new product design competition challenging students, entrepreneurs and the wider community to redefine one of the world’s most popular pieces of furniture: a chair.

iForDesign is encouraging participants to use everyday materials to create a miniature seat for the UAE-wide contest which will be supported by Dubai Design District (d3) and in5, an enabling platform for startups and entrepreneurs. It aims to raise the bar for design thinking, complex problem solving, creativity and critical thinking.

Although a simple everyday item at first glance, a chair is a complex object with multiple uses, contexts, materials, meanings and perceptions. Participants will be challenged to design a chair and submit it under one of three categories:
• Design for Sustainability
• Design for Culture
• Design for Future

Entries must respond to one of them by, for example, exploring recycled materials, expressing Arabic heritage or showcasing how a futuristic chair could solve emerging challenges in knowledge and innovation-based sectors.

Commenting on the competition, Hani Asfour, Dean of DIDI, said: “Demand is rising rapidly for design talent on a local, regional and international level because it holds the key to innovation. Chairs are among the most popular products created by industrial designers, product designers and interior designers, which makes iForDesign all the more challenging.

“We’re looking for participants to push boundaries and raise the bar by conceptualising something with exceptional originality, sustainability, contextual relevance and future-proof strategic thinking. This is because design matters more than ever before and through our competition we will highlight the creativity, talent and innovation in Dubai and the UAE.”

Khadija Al Bastaki, Executive Director of d3, added: “As the region’s beating heart of fashion and design, we’re excited to pledge our support for DIDI’s iForDesign competition. It will provide an exciting platform for aspiring and established creative entrepreneurs in our community and beyond to challenge contemporary reflections on product design.

“Supporting homegrown talent has never been so important as we work towards achieving the vision of our leaders to support Dubai and the UAE’s transformation into globally competitive knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy.

This trio of d3, DIDI and in5 represent key components of the creative ecosystem respectively: the wider community, the educator, and the enabler of startups and entrepreneurs.

The in5 Design innovation centre is situated in d3. Its state-of-the-art facilities, prototyping labs and 3D printers have played a vital role in providing students with tangible design experiences and experiments, supporting DIDI’s mission to develop future-proof talent with entrepreneurial skills.

Registration for the competition is already open and participants are invited to submit their proposal before the deadline shuts on Wednesday 20 October by following the link

Winners will be selected by a five-person judging panel made up of industry-leading figures from DIDI, d3 and in5, representing academic, business and entrepreneurial experts respectively. Names will be announced in due course.

Submissions will be judged on criteria including innovation, functionality, ergonomics, feasibility, aesthetics, and emotional value. The winners will walk away with fantastic prizes with their work showcased at Dubai Design Week.

Entrants are also encouraged to post a photo of their concept on social media by tagging @dididxb and @d3dubai.

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