Dubai Design Week: Global Grad Show Features Work from 50 Universities

2016 Global Grad Show installation space at the Dubai Design District

Hosted in Dubai’s Design District (D3), the 2016 Global Grad Show featured 135 projects by recently graduated students around the world. The collection, curated by Brendan McGetrick, include a huge set of works ranging from highly conceptual to fully realized. Participating designers and their families were invited to travel with their presentations, answering questions and sharing ideas throughout Dubai Design Week.

mobile-power-units
Solar window plug design concept by Kyuho Song & Boa Oh (left) and mobile wind turbine charger prototype by Nils Ferbe (right) – each designed to recharge portable devices on the go

Among the projects certain themes emerged, often reflecting international wants and needs. Mobile recharging methods for battery-powered devices, for instance, came up in multiple formats (generally driven by solar or wind technology).

stairs
Modular staircase system for ascending sand dunes by Ed Brusque

At the same time, many of the designs reflected region-specific issues, addressing problems faced by students or those around them. Designers tackled questions of refugee housing, sanitation and education, often with very specific user groups in mind.

growframe-design
GrowFrame system by Philippe Hohlfield puts hydroponic gardening systems in empty containers, giving them temporary uses as they are returned to be refilled around the world.

Created by pre-professional designers, the solutions varied in terms of feasibility, liberated (for better or worse) from many practical constraints. Some will simply become portfolio pieces while others are already raising funding for further development.

Wearable shelter design by Gabriella Geagea Anne, Sophie Geay
Wearable shelter design by Gabriella Geagea Anne & Sophie Geay serves as outfit, sleeping bag and tent for migrant workers

Even solutions that seem far-fetched, though, deal with the problems that remain very real. “With each submission, I asked myself, ‘why does this need to exist?'” curator McGetrick said of the selection process.

“Different localities bring new and exciting solutions based on their particular cultural and material conditions. My goal for the exhibition is to give visitors a glimpse of projects that identify poorly addressed problems, provide new tools, and demonstrate new ways of thinking.”

As the Global Grad Show grows from year to year, its organizers are moving to expand beyond simply showcasing these works. This year, for instance, they offered workshops and seminars to visiting graduates about how to take their designs into the real world. As with any idea, good design is just part of the equation: securing support and running a business requires additional skills and dedication.

Check out more projects online at Dubai Design Week.

Credits

Dubai Design Week

Special thanks to Dubai Design Week and the Global Grad Show (as well as Alpha-Kilo) for inviting 99pi producers Kurt Kohlstedt and Avery Trufelman to this year’s events. Thanks as well to an array of 99% Invisible fans in Dubai for showing us around town.

This year’s Dubai Design Week also featured a keynote speech by Santiago Calatrava, the architect behind an upcoming observation tower in a new part of Dubai, as well as the official announcement of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, an interdisciplinary undergraduate school for designers.

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