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Dubai property developer showcases designs by AUS interior design students
A bespoke installation created by interior design students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) and commissioned by Ellington Properties has been unveiled in the Belgravia II residential building in Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai. The property also features more than 90 photographic works produced by CAAD students.
Now exhibited in the main lobby of Belgravia II, Hamama (meaning Doves in Arabic) was created by student designers Rima Chalha, Mariam Aljuwaied, Sana Fathima and Priyanka Soni, who worked together with Assistant Professor of Interior Design Juan Roldán, who also chairs the Interior Design Steering Committee at CAAD, with the collaboration of Assistant Professor Camilo Cerro.
Selected from three proposals submitted for the project, Hamama was created using heat-molded acrylic formed into dynamic shapes to create a multidimensional impression of a flight of doves in mid-flight and linked together to form a final structure.
The extensive design process began with hand drawings, sketch models, 3D digital modeling, parametric algorithms, and moved into mock-up modeling. Finally, a flexible system was developed out of one unit to work as part of a module of multiple sculptures to create the final dynamic ceiling installation.
Roldán said the extracurricular opportunity gave the young designers the chance to put the design principles and fabrication methods they have learned at CAAD into practice.
"A collaboration with a high-profile company like Ellington is a milestone for our interior design program and an incredible opportunity for our interior design students. These kinds of extra-curricular initiatives allow us to transform our students’ ideas into built artefacts and tangible projects that transcend the limited drawn reality of their designs in studio,” said Roldán.
“This is an essential part of our educational model within the interior design program at the College of Architecture, Art and Design. We design and make. This is one of our mottos and one of our most important commitments as interior design educators,” he said.
“The design commission demonstrated the many stages involved in the completion of a full-scale real project, outside of the conceptual drawings and digital renders of classroom projects. It allowed the students to expand their scope of education by practicing professionalism and teamwork and gave the students a hands-on experience that would be beneficial to them upon graduation. It also established strategic alliances with the best design professionals, suppliers, craftsmen and manufacturers in the region. This resulted in fruitful collaborations that promise a future of many more successful creative projects,” said Roldán.
Second-year interior design student Sana Fathima said this collaboration has given her a head start in the design industry.
“At the time, I had no knowledge of how a project works in the real world and other back-of-house activities surrounding a project. However, by the end of this project, I made connections with suppliers, learned to better convey my ideas and to construct them. As Ellington Properties were interested in providing its users with a space that radiated design, we were encouraged to get as creative as we could and come up with a design that would not only grab the user’s attention but also evoke their imagination, and thus Hamama was born,” she said.
Now a proud AUS graduate, Priyanka Soni said the experience she gained ahead of her graduation prepared her for a successful professional career as an interior designer.
“It was a pleasure to be involved with a client like Ellington just at the cusp of our graduation semester. Having designed conceptually over the past four years, we gained practical insight into the workings of the industry with a real site, clientele and budget,” said Soni.
“Belgravia II’s physical sculpture brief for the residential complex’s lobby was a beautiful landmark for a graduating student’s work to be displayed upon. The eight-month long process exposed us to a holistic Design–Build–Deliver process. Working with a budget for the first time informed our decisions on sourcing materials and hardware from local markets. And exploring a city that we have lived in for years yielded in unexpected discoveries of shops with vendors willing to share their expertise and deal with students,” she said.
The official unveiling of Hamama was held on April 20 and was attended by CAAD Dean Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Ellington Properties on this project, as well as for the ongoing support of Dr. Pallathucheril and Professor George Katodrytis, Head of Department of Architecture at CAAD,” said Roldán.
To learn more about the College of Architecture, Art and Design at American University of Sharjah, visit www.aus.edu/caad.