Highlights from the Global Grad Show 2017

By Tasnim Tinawi

The Global Grad Show during Dubai Design Week displayed over 200 innovative projects from 92 participating universities. The 2017 edition presented students’ work that informs the purpose of design under four different categories: innovation, equality, access, and impact. Brendan Mcgetrick, the curator of the exhibition, felt like these categories are imperative to the process of designing for social and environmental causes.

Beyond the diversity of each unique project, all of them mutually aimed to improve sustainability, health, and lifestyle to ultimately help humankind’s future. Along with talks/discussions, the exhibition’s objective revealed the vitality of design to the public and gave a glimpse of the representing design programs/institutions. Some of the featured projects varied from furniture and built structures to social platforms and typefaces.


University: London College of Communication
Designer: Daniel Britton
Category: Empower

Dyslexia is a specialized typeface designed to raise awareness and increases the public’s understanding of a dyslexic’s reading process. The typeface misses a fraction of its letterform obliging the average reader to slow down and engage with the text. Users would reflect a deeper understanding of the reading difficulties that dyslexics face.

This typeface recreates the feeling of reading with Dyslexia for a non Dyslexic person therefore creating empathy and understanding for the problem. Like in any case only once a problem is fully understood can it be solved.


University: POLI.design
Designer: Roberto Naboni
Category: Sustain


Trabecular Tectonics is a generated system of structures inspired by the natural construction of bones. Using advanced processes of computational design and material fabrication, the generated forms result in a flexible scheme of construction to avoid material waste.


University: School of Form
Designer: Ewa Dulcet, Martyna Świerczyńska
Category: Empower

MIKO+ presents a set of jewelry that integrates design with physiotherapy. The brass and mineral acrylic sets provide a substitute to conventional wrist braces. Their stylized forms work for therapeutic purposes like relieving pressure on various parts of the wrist.


University: ECAL/University of Art and Design
Designer: Yasunori Morinaga
Category: Empower

Moove is an ergonomic chair that is designed to incite the limbic system and to promote increased energy and creativity levels.  The chair features a seat division that allows a wider range of movement to the thighs, giving the user more flexibility and a medical alternative to the common static office chair.


University: Zayed University
Designer: Alia Mazrooei
Category: Connect

Shelter Bench is an urban furniture piece intended to be placed in industrial areas. It provides a shelter from the sun and a space to socialize and rest. Industrial and construction workers can spend their break time around the structure instead of sitting along pavements and vehicles.


University: NYU Abu Dhabi
Designer: Utku Unlu, Alexander Mackay, Chris Wheeler, and William Held
Category: Connect

Loga is an app that allows refugees to earn a wage through converting Arabic language documents using smartphones. The app converts those images of text into digitized transcripts and can be later accessed by governments and businesses.


University: CENTRO
Designer: Jesus Alejandro Curi Chavez
Category: Connect

Guma is a collection of objects made from recycled tires. Most of the discarded tires in Mexico are abandoned rather than recycled or reused. The project encourages using these leftover tires in a sustainable manner. Guma reduces the ecological impact of waste rubber by presenting an environmental friendly assortment of objects.


University: Middle East Technical University
Designer: Damla Özekici
Category: Empower

Epilink is a reusable adrenaline auto-injector that may be used in cases of severe allergic reactions. It encourages self-use for emergencies and contains a cartridge system to extend the product’s lifecycle. Epilink also provides a wall-mounted storage for easier access in public spaces.

The Global Grad Show was a highlight event during Dubai Design Week that inspired visitors and designers. Some of the showcased project entries were developed at MENA-based schools and creative industries like the German University in Cairo and Zayed University.

Many more exhibited projects demonstrated forward-thinking innovations for the future of design and technology.

You can visit the homepage of the exhibition for a detailed insight.

A walk through the event

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