DUBAI: The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) has launched its first graduate exhibition as its first undergraduates of 2018 head out into the world with their Bachelor of Design degrees this summer. From fashions targeting children with tactile sensory disabilities to virtual reality glasses that offer stressed users a meditative digital escape, the projects featured are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The institute, which is located in the Dubai Design District in a 100,000 square foot facility, was launched in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Parsons School of Design.
The school’s curriculum was designed by MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning, offering design-focused courses and others in fashion, multimedia, strategy, management and art.
Ahead of the class of 2022 graduation ceremony, the institute’s exhibit is being held in Building 7 of Design District 3 through June 5, showcasing the graduate-level projects of 32 senior students.
“We are extremely proud of the caliber of our students and the challenging work that is in public view,” said Mohammad Abdullah, President of DIDI, adding, “As the first group of students to join our program and now the first to graduates, we have seen them embark on a remarkable and instructive journey over the past four years to develop an increased mindset focused on design and innovation.
Abdullah said: “The demand for brilliant, courageous, innovative and empathetic minds has never been greater as we head into the fifth industrial revolution and the working relationship between ever smarter technologies and humans evolve even further. Our students represent that group of forward-looking thinkers, innovators and disruptors who will define the world of tomorrow and make an impact.
From a fashion collection designed for children with tactile sensory impairments, to an app to support early to mid-stage dementia patients with reminiscence therapy using artificial intelligence and augmented reality, the mind-blowing designs do not miss.
Abdulaziz Zamil Alzamil, 22, a Jeddah-born design student, is one of two Saudi students to graduate from DIDI this year. For his senior project, “The Application of Universal Laws to the Design Process”, he devised his own methodology to better understand the relationship between universal law and design.
“Universal law is considered a set of principles that govern our universe, found primarily in ancient books and teachings as well as philosophies. There are many books that describe their own principles. During my research, I looked at the different books and chose one in order to translate their principles into a design language that can positively impact design practices,” said Alzamil, who added that his project had lasted nine months.
The student came up with a unique design methodology, which he translated into a set of instructional cards to help him create two pieces of furniture.
The two decks of cards, one for designers working on an entirely new project and the second for designers working on an existing project, are locked in a black box and ask helpful questions that aim to streamline the design process. The deck of cards comes with a pack of sticky notes to attach to the back of each card once the designer has clarified their answers.
“It’s important for us as designers to refine our thoughts and define our intentions and goals for each project,” said the student. “As creators, everything we produce will have certain effects on the environment or on the user. It is therefore important to ask ourselves what are the causes or effects that we want our product or service to have before creating something.
Alzamil and his professor plan to publish the methodology and create a business model from his strategy.
Other noteworthy projects include “MindPlay” designed by Sana Mohamed, which is described as a product-as-a-service system to remotely monitor and treat children diagnosed with ADHD using brain-computer interface and eye-tracking technology. to help the child self-regulate abnormal signals of brain activity, improving symptoms of attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Also showcasing his work is Emirati student Nayef K. Al-Bastaki, who has programmed his own virtual world into the metaverse accessible through VR glasses that serves as an idyllic, meditative digital escape for those seeking a sense of calm.
Along with programs, apps, tools and prototypes trying to solve pressing global issues, there were also a handful of projects that showed myriad perspectives on where fashion might go next, from a charity fashion collection NFT is a sustainable clothing brand made from recycled materials and second-hand clothing designed to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion.
“Label Unknown” by Lebanese student Tamara Samir Naoura hopes to eliminate the labeling imposed on people by allowing the wearer to decide what they want to write on their clothing label.
“I wanted to create a brand that was inclusive and that everyone could resonate with,” explained the graduate student.
In addition, all garments are adapted to the body of the user, which makes standardized sizes obsolete.
“The process started by observing how people feel unable to express their identity due to social expectations, and ‘Label Unknown’ aims to encourage people to move away from that.”
Nouara added: “The result was heartwarming, especially seeing people wearing the clothes and observing their reactions. The most important thing for me as a designer was to gain people’s trust through my clothes and this will be my main driver for all future collections.
Hani Asfour, Dean of the institute, said, “This graduate exhibition is a testament to the hard work of our students and represents DIDI’s rich DNA for design-driven innovation. All student projects seamlessly integrate design, technology and strategy, combining visualization with digitization and business methodologies.
He added, “DIDI is fully aligned with recent education reforms in the UAE. We seek to further empower our young people as creative and independent thinkers and makers, and we are proud to be part of this transformation as we prepare the next generation of changemakers.
“Our vision at DIDI is simple: to prepare students for a world where the jobs of today may not exist in the future.” But if graduate exposure is any indication, our future is in good hands.