Student contest in UAE to select top furniture design for world shaped by COVID-19

Student contest in UAE to select top furniture design for world shaped by COVID-19

Dubai: Students in the UAE are competing to design furniture that can easily adapt to COVID-19 precautions such as social distancing, among other criteria.

US-headquartered furnishings and design firm Herman Miller, in collaboration with American University in Dubai’s Interior Design Department, has invited undergraduate Interior Design students to ‘Resilient Challenge’. The competition launched on September 15 and runs till November end. The participating universities are Manipal University, DIDI, Ajman University, Heriot Watt, Zayed University, Amity University, Al Ghurair University and American University of Sharjah.

The challenge will focus on the design of a flexible furniture system station for designers, architects and students, suitable for the home, office or academia. Students must submit videos about their entries to the competition’s website by November 1. The top 10 submissions will be showcased to the public during Dubai Design Week 2020. The top three contestants will be offered an internship with leading architecture and design firms in the region.

Herman Miller’s regional director Stacy Stewart said: “The Covid-10 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on people’s work experience. We wanted to combine the learnings from lockdown with a love for research-led design. We’ve learned a lot as a business as we’ve moved into the ‘new normal’ and we want to give students an opportunity to leverage our research and experience in their own design.”

Easy to use

Annamaria Lambri, associate professor of interior design and outreach coordinator – interior design, AUD, said: “The design requirements are for a system or product of no more than five parts which are easy to assemble and use. It has to be light in weight, easy to move – it may be portable – and easy to clean and sanitise. It has to ensure social distancing and safety protocols can be adhered to, while being flexible, sustainable and innovative.”