Design Diary: Meet the UAE's emerging talent

03 Mar 2019

Since 2013, the Tanween professional development programme has provided UAE-based emerging designers, makers and artisans, access to a wide range of resources available in the country to help them explore the wealth of materials, processes and possibilities that can enrich their craft. Led by contemporary design project specialist Helen Voce (UK) and local mentor Kevin Badni, the 2019 cycle of the programme includes architect Abdullah Al Mulla, interior designers Alia Mazrooei and Lana Al Samman and graphic designer Yara Habib. Together, they will embark on a journey of investigation, learning and making, covering the entire arc of developing a product from concept to completion.

Alia Mazrooei

The Emirati interior designer’s lifelong fascination with spaces and shapes inspired her to study Fine Arts and Interior Design at Zayed University. In 2017 she her capstone project — a community bench — was presented at the Global Grad Show. Soon after, Alia was selected by Dubai Design District to be part of UAE Design Stories (Milan, London and Paris 2018). During Dubai Design Week 2018, she presented ‘Thuluth’, a conceptual majlis inspired by desert forms; it commissioned by 1971 Design Space. Her mission during the programme is to ultise the experience to challenge herself to evolve her creative language and grow as a designer, absorbing new thought and approaches.

Key players

Helping mentors Voce and Badni steer this year’s programme is Gareth Neal, who in 2006 established his progressive and innovative London-based design studio, along with UAE-based designer and alumni of Tanween Design Programme 2016, Jumana Taha, and Salem Al Qassimi, the multidisciplinary designer, educator and Director of the Fikra Graphic Design Biennial.

Through a series of laboratory sessions, site visits to the region’s innovative manufacturers and collaborative practice, the mentors will offer participating designers’ critique on design, feedback on manufacturing, help them investigate new business models and ultimately empower them to develop their own sense of individuality as designers.

© Gulf News