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AUS students contribute to design of educational spaces at Al Eslah School Museum, Sharjah
Interior design students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) recently participated in an intensive one-week design competition and workshop with Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) that saw them designing bespoke furniture for Al Eslah School Museum in the Heart of Sharjah.
The winning designs for stackable chairs, multifunctional storage units and modular furniture will be showcased in an exhibition at the museum. The competition was a joint initiative between Sharjah Museums Authority and AUS as part of their commitment to provide students with opportunities to actively engage in Sharjah’s rich programs in culture and heritage preservation and promotion. Jury members from SMA included Alyah Ali Amiri, Alya Rashid Burhaima Alzaabi, Haifa Hamed Al Hammadi, Hazelle Anne Page, Aisha Ibrahim Al Mazam and Noura Ali Alloghani.
Al Eslah School was the first formal educational institute in Sharjah, set up in 1935 and attended by prominent Emirati students including His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and Founder and President of AUS.
The students were mentored by CAAD faculty Tania Ursomarzo, Camilo Cerro and Juan Roldán. Ursomarzo, who coordinated the design charette and competition, said this was an opportunity for the students’ work to have a positive impact on the local community.
“It was a privilege for our students to contribute to Al Eslah Museum, which is on the list of candidates to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The body of work students were able to produce within one week was very impressive and at an exceptionally high standard,” said Ursomarzo.
Senior students Ramsha Mashood and Ume Abiha Zaidi worked together to create their reconfigurable furniture design, which allows for endless possible arrangements. The various pieces can be connected to create a larger workspace for group work, and are light enough to be carried, allowing for classes to shift outside on cooler days.
Zaidi said the experience has built her confidence in using the skills she has gained at AUS, and the quality of work that she can produce in a short time.
“Winning the competition has made me more confident as a designer in terms of designing for a client and working within the requirements they have set,” said Zaidi.
Zaidi’s co-designer, Mashood, said this competition stretched her creatively and motivated her to seek other challenging opportunities as she looks ahead to graduation.
“This was a great start to my future career as it pushed me to be accepting of new challenges outside of my university studio projects,” she said.
Also selected was the modular furniture design created by third-year students Wagd Mohammed Rabie and Malaika Shrini.
“This was the first time I ever got to actually interact and work for a real client, so it was a bit nerve wracking. However, the experience has helped me build confidence and a skill set that I can use in the workforce,” said Rabie.
Second-year students Noor Radi, Mariam Alzarooni, Masbooba Mansoor were also recognized for their stackable table and chair design.
Interior design students at CAAD begin with a year of foundational design studies before moving on to more advanced studio courses that see them collaborating with industry professionals, engineers, architects and design teams on real-world projects. AUS graduates of the Bachelor of Interior Design are among some of the region’s top talent, garnering multiple awards and accolades for their contributions in the field. For more information about the program, visit www.aus.edu/caad.