Global Grad Show 2016 at Dubai Design Week: Meet the Rising Stars

Now in its second edition, the Global Grad Show that takes place at Dubai Design Week is the biggest graduate show in the world. With 145 groundbreaking works from 50 design schools, it sets the tone of that key question “who do we want to be tomorrow?”, says Creative director of Dubai Design Week Rawan Kashkoush.

Leading schools such as ECAL, MIT or the Royal College of Art are represented, but so are smaller, lesser known ones such as the Higher Institute of Industrial Design of Havana, Cuba, or the VCU Qatar in Doha.

The most exciting part of it is that works are not responding to commercial considerations, meaning the show truly translates what is inspiring the designers of tomorrow, on a personal level. The interesting finding is that these projects all revolve around 3 main themes, all focused on building a better world:

  • Empower, to expand consumers abilities
  • Connect, to help build communities
  • Sustain, to reduce waste and generate energy.

And here are our favourite 5 designs:


The HUB by Rotimi Solola

If consumers can service and repair their kitchen appliances themselves, these appliances can then last forever. This project is about maximising the kitchen with minimal footprint, so all components can be easily disassembled for maintenance, and a large selection of cooking implements can be added to the base unit, to mix, blend and process.

found:FoundedThe Window Socket by found/Founded

A solar plate and suction plate are fitted to this simple plug so it can suck in the light directly from the window to charge phones, tablets or any other electric device. It’s small, fits in the pocket, and can be used anywhere as long as it’s sunny. Genius!

08-IMG_10131ASHA by Peter Alwin

To this day, there is still a 20% child mortality rate in India, especially in rural areas, where 70% of the population actually live. The ASHA blanket aims to help Accredited Social Health Activists in these areas gain credibility amongst families, by  monitoring a baby’s health. The weight, size and temperature of the baby can be directly recorded on the blanket, so it becomes a vital document, tracking its progress.


An  Empathy Bridge by Heeju Kim

This empathy kit bridges the gap between autistic individuals and their environment, by allowing non-autistic people to experience what others see and hear, as well as how they speak. Based on scientific data, a pair of glasses allow you to see the world in the way an autistic person does, with 5 different types of visions; an earring device distorts sounds; and several shapes of lollipops impair your speech. This is a real eye-opener as to what the disease really might feel like, and a project that not only brings awareness to this cause, but also helps develop tolerance towards the diseased.


Twins by Leos Llambias

These adaptable crutches can be fitted with two types of supports, the regular one we already know, or underarm supports, to release the tension on the wrists. They are also magnetic so the bearer can free one hand when they need by simply clicking the crutches together, to reach out for their keys, mobile, or wallet.

Other highlights from the graduate show included a solar powered phone, a door mat that opens the door without touching it by tapping code with your feet, or a foldable containment bed with fun patterns that can be made from bamboo sticks.

Subscribers can read the full report on Dubai Design Week on the Lifestyle & Interiors’ site later this week. Not a subscriber yet? Sign up here.

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