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AUS alumna receives global design award for lamp design inspired by UAE ghaf tree
Interior designer Rand Al Drei has received global acclaim with a Best of Year 2020 Award. An alumna from American University of Sharjah’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, Al Drei’s conceptual lamp design Dayih was inspired by the UAE’s native ghaf tree.
“The ghaf tree is a symbol of tolerance and the evergreen tree of the Arabian Gulf. The lamp design Dayih is a contemporary light sculpture that explores and captures the beauty of the ghaf at a macro and micro level–macro being the three elements that make up the sand, stem and leaves, while the micro level explores the nyctinasty process. This is a process that causes the ghaf leaves to close in response to changes in light intensity. These observations were studied up-close and are embedded in the design with a delicate and sustainable approach,” said Al Drei, who hails from Syria but was born and raised in the UAE.
The lamp is made of resin and brass, is minimal in form, and its organic details reflect the poetic beauty of the ghaf and its UAE heritage. When lit, its delicate vein-like surface textures and marbled effect create a radiating ambiance, bringing its cultural and traditional significance into the space.
A member of AUS’s incredibly successful interior design alumni network, Al Drei is currently working for award-winning design studio H2R, based in Dubai, yet her foray into product design is one into which she would like to dive deeper.
“It is not easy to balance both working and experimenting with product design, but what is important here is immersing myself in the design process. Design is an umbrella, and both product and interior design influence each other greatly—to me they just vary in scale,” she said.
As a student at CAAD, Al Drei was exposed to a wide range of design practices and was encouraged to experiment with a variety of materials in the college’s impressive CAAD labs. One of her latest projects, Upcycled, conducted while she was a student at AUS was displayed at the Conscious Consumption exhibition hosted by Tashkeel. Al Drei worked under the mentorship of Associate Professor Ammar Kalo, an internationally acclaimed furniture designer, architect and educator, and Director of CAAD Labs.
“Receiving this international recognition gave me the push and the confidence to believe that it’s not about the results—it’s always about the process. A person should always believe in their skills and success will come along the way,” she said.
“The key is to be curious and always ready to learn. Graduating is not the end of the learning process; it is the beginning. You just have to be patient and confident about your skills.”
For more information about the award-winning work of students, alumni and faculty from the College of Architecture, Art and Design at American University of Sharjah, visit www.aus.edu/caad.