UAE students showcases innovative, sustainable designs

Press release
Published October 26th, 2011 - 11:02 GMT

Eight local universities created innovative and sustainable design applications with recycled material at the INDEX Student Challenge 2011, the biggest challenge for design students in the Middle East. Manipal University won the Student challenge with their design of a chair using polyurethane foam bottle liners and backer rod, in line with the theme of the challenge reuse – as in “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. The challenge took place at INDEX, the Middle East and North Africa’s largest and longest established Interiors and Design Exhibition, in association with Interior Services Group (ISG) and local design organisation tasmena. 

The eight student team members for the winning Manipal University were Franzita Fernandes, Tooba Sarfaraz, Sakina Juzer, Tasneen Mustafa, Insia Shabbir, Jamila Hassanali, Ummu Habeeba and Shazia Fazllulah, who were led by faculty member Bhakti More. The students have been presented a Lasvit trophy and won the opportunity to redesign Natuzzi’s Sound Chair as a signature piece. One of Italy’s largest furniture companies, Natuzzi will showcase the signature Sound Chair and all sales proceeds will be donated to a local charity.  

Tooba Sarfaraz of the winning team said, "The Student Challenge has been the best part of our three years at Manipal University. We thank INDEX for this experience which has taught us a lot and gave us the opportunity to interact with industry professionals. The brief for the competition was a challenge but we worked hard together and lived up to the expectations."

Other participating students came from Abu Dhabi University, Ajman University of Science & Technology, Al Ghurair University, American University Dubai, American University of Sharjah, University of Sharjah and Zayed University (Dubai Campus).

The runner-ups of the competition were:

Second place:  American University of Sharjah for building a light fixture using CDs.

Third Place: Zayed University (Dubai campus) for creating a light fixture using EPS containers.

The competition consisted of two phases which challenged the students creativity, leadership and teamwork, marketing and communication skills, time management and financial planning. 

For the first phase of the competition, which took place before the show opened, students were asked to choose their recycled material and a design concept to fit with one of the six product-specific shows at INDEX, Furnishing, InRetail, Kitchen & Bathroom, Lighting, Outdoor Living or Textiles. Thirteen colleges and universities participated in phase one of the Student challenge, and the best eight student teams were selected to compete at INDEX.

Honorable Mention Phase 01: Zayed University (Dubai Campus) for creating a shelter from neoprene.

Phase two of the challenge took place during INDEX at the Dubai World Trade Centre, with students working for four days to execute their designs. Along with creating a prototype, students were tasked with creating an instruction manual for their prototype and challenged students from other universities to replicate the design. The challenge also consisted of a costing phase in which teams were asked to prepare a budget for their prototypes. To develop the students’ communication skills, teams had to present their concepts and designs to exhibitors at INDEX for an endorsement. For the final stage of the challenge, teams prepared a fifteen minute presentation, taking judges through each step of the Student Challenge process.

The jury members of the challenge were:

Guest Judges

Eames Demetrios, Chairman of the Eames Foundation

Florian Oettl, Freelance Architect

Isabella Magelhus, Freelance Architect

Sara Luccadello, Freelance Architect

From the INDEX 2011 Student Challenge Partners

Bernard Walsh, Ambassador and Former Managing Director of DMG Events

Alan McReady, Managing Director ISG Middle East

Stephen Taylor, Head of Retail ISG Middle East

Arsany Emil, Project Manager ISG Middle East

David Bates, Project Manager ISG Middle East

David Cronin, Commercial Manager ISG Middle East

Hugh Kane, Technical Services Manager ISG Middle East

Samuel Mousa Zaki, Construction Manager ISG Middle East

Nasreen Al Tamimi, Founder tasmena

From the INDEX 2011 Student Challenge Sponsors

Mikdad Bhabhrawala, General Manager Western Furniture

Gayatri Dongre, Brand Manager Natuzzi, Retail Consultant Western Furniture

Sagayaraj Prasanna, Manager Commercial Printing Print Central

“The INDEX Student Challenge is the only competition of its kind in the region for design students.  Each year, the organisers of INDEX, ISG and tasmena, work to raise the profile of the challenge and this year, we received an overwhelming response from the participating institutions, judges, media and the exhibitors at INDEX,” said Yunsun Chung-Shin of tasmena. “Through the theme of reuse, these students have been given a platform to introduce environmentally friendly and sustainable designs into our industry.  All of the participating students have put in so much effort in their projects and, the comradery between the universities has been very encouraging.  This experience has challenged them in many areas which will be beneficial for them as they complete their degree and prepare to launch their design careers. With the creativity and dedication we have witnessed through these students, the future of the design industry here in the region is very bright.”

INDEX also broadened the competition this year by introducing a Graphic Design Challenge before the show, for which students designed and developed the new image of the INDEX Student Challenge, bearing the reuse theme.  Graphic Design students Irfan Ghani and Talal Al Gergawi from American University of Dubai won the challenge and their design was adopted as the logo of the student challenge, appearing on all communication and branding for the exhibition.

While the INDEX Student Challenge and the Graphic Design Challenge were open to only design students, media majors from Manipal University supported their winning students by filming their journey through out the competition.  

Background Information

DMG Events

Headquartered in Dubai, UAE since 1989 with operations in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Canada, South Africa and the UK, dmg events is an international exhibitions and publishing company. We attract more than 350,000 visitors to our portfolio of 80 exhibitions each year.

We have expanded our operations to achieve impressive growth in emerging and mature markets by the strategic acquisition of complementary businesses and by geo-cloning our flagship events, where we adapt our core event brands to work across new countries and cultures.

Check out our PR service

Signal PressWire is the world’s largest independent Middle East PR distribution service.


Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive updates and enhanced content