Commercial Interior Design speaks to Brendan McGetrick about the growth of the Global Grad Show, one of the most anticipated components of the annual Dubai Design Week, and how design integrated with technology is the future of the industry.
How has Global Grad Show (GGS) evolved over the years?
The Global Grad Show is now in its fourth year, and every year, we are looking at ways to expand and develop the programme and activities that take place throughout the event. Not only do we have the exhibition of 150 of the most innovative student design solutions from around the world, this year we have two brand new and exciting events taking place which have been thoughtfully put together to respond to social and technological trends that are on the horizon.
Belief in A.I. is the first innovation conference that the GGS has hosted. It will explore the opportunities and dangers presented by emerging technologies, investigating and questioning the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future of creativity, education, politics, and spirituality.
The Dubai Evolution Challenge invites local and international designers to team up to create the future evolution of everyday objects, activities, and services that they discover around Dubai.
What are the biggest trends in this year’s GGS exhibition?
Every year, GGS selects projects based on their power to accelerate change and improve lives. The major global trends that are being tackled this year include; climate change, medical breakthroughs, ageing populations, low tech solutions, design for disability, community and smart cities.
It’s inspiring to see how some of the world’s brightest young minds and the next generation of design talent are identifying and responding to a range of potentially disastrous issues and presenting innovative solutions to these problems.
How do you go about selecting the exhibitors, what are you looking for?
There are three main principles that we follow and when it comes to selecting the projects for GGS – Innovation, Equality, and Impact.
Innovation is an unavoidable buzzword that seems to lose meaning with each new utterance. GGS was created to shine a light on innovation which does not depend on access to wealth or high technology.
GSG is organised and curated to emphasise fairness and equal opportunity. In the exhibition, there is no hierarchy between designers, schools, or regions. All share space equally, with the projects mixed together and arranged according to the theme. It was created to honour and encourage design and technology solutions to the world's most pressing social and environmental challenges. Rather than focusing purely on aesthetics, we celebrate design that can improve the world.
GGS is a platform that gives a lot of visibility to the designers, but where does it go from there?
We are constantly working to improve the show – to make it more representative of all of the talent and imagination that exists around the world. So we are building our network and adding new participating colleges, institutes and universities. At the same time, we’re integrating our efforts with our home city of Dubai. Through initiatives like the Dubai Evolution Challenge, which team up Global Grad Show exhibitors with younger design students from the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, and our partnership with Dubai Investment Corporation, we are hoping to make Global Grad Show a resource that will enrich Dubai for years to come.
What designs have come out of the region?
There are 62 different nationalities being represented at GGS this year, with students from some of the world’s most elite institutions such as Harvard, MIT and RCA. We also have many designs with local and regional relevance, some of which are from locally-based students. Here are a few of our favourites:
The Idea: Blink - Device for at home medical testing and communication with the doctor
The Creator: Belfug Sener
The University: Middle East Technical University
The Purpose: With an ageing population in the Western world and the strain on health services, this compact smart device, created by Turkish experience designer Belfug Sener is used at home to measure vital signs and perform basic medical tests. It guides the user to take their own blood pressure and body temperature and can also be used to perform blood, urine and saliva tests. The collected data is reported to a physician and enables feedback thereby empowering users to self-monitor, and encouraging a more proactive attitude towards their own health. The ambition for this project is that Blink will improve the quality of healthcare by saving time, money and energy for enhanced communication between patients and healthcare professionals.
The Idea: Circuit Chair - Multifunctional chair to encourage more reading
The Creator: Maryam Alhammadi & Khawla Alsuwaidi
The University: Zayed University
The Purpose: The Circuit Chair is a multi-functional bespoke furniture piece designed to be placed in libraries. The chair can accommodate two people and includes bookshelves and storage area. It is economical as it combines several functions in one and is designed to encourage people to spend more time in libraries, reading books and engaging with each other.
The Idea: ReefRover - A submersible drone that autonomously scans marine environments and enables researchers and citizen scientists to collaboratively gather well-structured image data about coral reefs at unprecedented rates
The Creator: Dani Carelli, Hazem Ibrahim, Jovan Jovancevic, Shien Yang Lee, Ali Abouelatta, Kyler Meehan, Antony Tahan, Rumail Memon, Shantanu Jain, Lujain Ibrahim, Praggya Ayshwarya, Guillermo Schlamp.
The University: New York University Abu Dhabi
The Purpose: Coral reefs in the UAE are under threat due to rising sea temperatures. The ReefRover project supports marine researchers through the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that manoeuvres along the reefs and obtains high-quality images of coral in the UAE. ROV enables community divers to deploy the device autonomously and encourages a community approach as a means of increasing the frequency of data collection without compromising the quality. The ReefRover project is open-source, allowing anyone across the world to develop and deploy ROV and grow the collective knowledge about coral reefs.