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AUS faculty and alumni participate in Dubai Design Week
Faculty members and alumni from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) were featured prominently in Dubai Design Week activities held October 26-31, 2015.
A group of alumni and faculty members participated in a panel discussion during the inauguration of the Dubai Design Week, on October 26, 2015. The inaugural session introduced some of the most talented and established UAE designers and architects from different disciplines.
Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA), and with the support of both the DCAA and the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC), the Dubai Design Week panel discussion provided evidence of the high quality of work, initiatives, challenges and opportunities presented by the AUS panelists.
Two current CAAD faculty members and two CAAD alumni discussed questions around their work specifically, and about the design scene in the UAE in general. Salem Al-Qassimi received his Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Design at AUS and is currently an assistant professor teaching design at AUS. Al Qassimi is the founder of Fikra-a multidisciplinary design studio providing bilingual graphic design solutions in Arabic and English, a service completely unique to this region. Also participating was Ammar Kalo, who received his Bachelor of Architecture from AUS and is currently the Director of CAAD Labs at AUS, where he also teaches classes focused on digital fabrication.
AUS architecture alumni Nada Taryam and Talin Hazbar participated as well. Taryam has extensive project management experience including Bee'ah's headquarters designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Hazbar, a full time architect at RMJM, began her journey with her undergraduate research that revolved around sand solidification processes and continued further after graduation to develop new techniques and push the potential of sand as a medium of constructing structures.
"The panel highlighted the importance of process in each of our work, and on the importance of experimentation and research in design. Also, we spoke about issues of 'identity' in design work and about what makes our work-as designers and makers-unique," Al-Qassimi said.
Also as part of the Dubai Deign Week, AUS faculty Kalo and Faysal Tabbarah displayed installations at the UAE Abwab pavilion, which was curated by Mobius Design Studio, founded by AUS alumni Riem Hassan, Hadeyeh Badri and Hala Al-Ani. A major Dubai Design Week initiative, Abwab is a series of six pavilions built to celebrate and showcase the work of the most exciting designers, studios and curators from six different countries in the MENASA region. The unifying theme of work in these pavilions this year is "Games: The Element of Play in Culture."
Slight Shifts is an installation designed by Kalo in collaboration with Michael Jake Newsum, a designer and robotics specialist from Los Angeles. Slight Shifts directs visitors to take photographs of one another through a virtual window, increasing social interaction through playful photograph sharing.
The interactive sound-making machine Game: Heard is exhibited under the platform of Architecture + Other Things, a collaborative and interdisciplinary platform founded by three AUS CAAD graduates: Nada Taryam; Faysal Tabbarah and Khawla Al Hashimi, the Acting Head of Projects Development at Shurooq. Game: Heard takes its audio-visual prompts from vernacular games such as Al Tartoor and Arabana Hadid. Game: Heard attempts to explore sound as a generator of spatial and social activity within the framework of game-play where participants are invited to take part in manipulating the existing soundscape, allowing for a social game to evolve.
Alumna Talin Hazbar is also exhibiting a light installation at The Beach-JBR, which was commissioned by Dubai Design Week, Meraas Holding as a part of their program for the week. The work is a collaboration with Latifa Saeed, a UAE designer. The project, Earth Hives, is a site-specific installation that highlights local potters.
Dubai Design Week, held in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), was held October 26-31, 2015. Dubai Design Week is owned and managed by the Art Dubai Group, a joint venture company between the Dubai International Financial Centre and Middle East Fairs Ltd.