Design Industry’s top figures gather for the Design Innovation Forum at INDEX 2016

INDEX and workspace at INDEX 2016, two of the region’s largest events for interiors and design are now well underway at the Dubai World Trade Centre, with doors open until Thursday 26 May. One of the new additions for this year is the INDEX Design Innovation Forum, a brand new feature created to support the UAE’s vision of remaining a global pioneer in design and creativity.

H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum recently introduced two new initiatives - the Dubai Innovation Hub & Creative Community - to encourage more innovation. In-line with the vision of becoming a world leader in innovation, the Design Innovation Forum took place on Tuesday 24May as part of the INDEX Design Talks.

The Forum provided a platform for the exchange and discussion of ideas amongst the design community, featuring leading designers who shared their thoughts on why innovation plays such a vital role in the future.

Farida Kamber Al Awadhi, President, Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID), opened the Forum followed by a keynote presentation from Matt Judge, Principal, Eight Inc. Visitors to the show enjoyed energetic panel discussions on a range of topics such as ‘Overcoming the Challenge of Continuous Innovation’ where designers discussed topics such as ‘understanding the importance of having an innovation strategy’ and ‘encouraging a culture of trial and error to ensure those with new ideas have the confidence to speak up’.

The second panel of the day looked at ‘Shaping Space for the Human Experience’, in which the panellists discussed their various points of view when it comes to ways of connecting design elements, as well as solutions to contemporary social, economic and cultural determinants and prioritising users’ experiential needs by addressing functional, emotional, behavioural and social concerns in design.

Speaking on the panel, Karim Rashid, Konductor, Karim Rashid Inc. said: “There is an almost universal agreement on what is beautiful and this also applies to design – this is something that all designers should bear in mind. In my experience there is a certain symmetry and aesthetic that tends to appeal to audiences around the world.”

A host of distinguished speakers took to the stage including: Julia Dempster, Managing Director, Interior Motives; Dr. Albert Fakhoury, Chair of Interior Design, AUD; Isabel Pintado, Managing Director, LW Design Group; Pallavi Dean, Design Director, Pallavi Dean Interiors; Indu Varanasi, Design Director, IR Design;  Daousser Chennoufi, Founder & CEO, Drawlink Group; Steven Charlton, Principal Managing Director, Perkins + Will and Laurent Haddad, Senior Design Manager - Building Design Services, RW Armstrong.

Wrapping up the day was a master class in ‘Design Thinking’, led by Herve Collignon, MD and Founder, HOOKS Strategy & Innovation.

The Design Innovation Forum took place as part of the returning and ever-popular Design Talks feature. Highlights from the workspace at INDEX Design Talks – brought to this year’s show by OFIS – included engaging and lively discussions surrouning: Hospitality Design: New Trends and Future; Millennials and Influence in the Workplace, as well as a guest talk from Consultant Ergonomist and Human Factors specialist, Dr. Era Poddar, who considered whether designers were ‘missing out on ergo advantage’.  Each talk offered attendees the chance to claim between 1 and 5 accredited CPD points.

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