On the first day of the Abu Dhabi Art fair last week, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (Admaf) unveiled a new award to encourage students of design.
The Admaf Design Award is an annual competition for students and recent graduates. For the inaugural edition, applicants were asked to conceptualise and design the Admaf Pavilion at Abu Dhabi Art inspired by the renowned product and interior designer Philippe Starck.
The entries came from senior undergraduates and recent graduates of interior design, architecture and engineering from Zayed University, Higher Colleges of Technology and University of Sharjah.
The winners were Hanan Al Kaf and Lamya Al Shamsi, final-year interior design students from University of Sharjah’s College of Fine Art and Design, whose designs were turned into the clean and modern booth. “We were positively shocked when we found out we had won,” says the 22-year-old Al Kaf. “We gained a lot of exposure.”
This was the first time the two had participated in a design competition. “When we won, it gave me confidence,” Al Kaf continues. “Seeing what our designs could be turned into was one thing, never mind the people we got to meet and getting our names out there. Hopefully it will give us an advantage in the professional world.”
Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, the founder of Admaf, says that the new award was to inspire “the country’s future innovators” and to show commitment to “the growth and development of the UAE’s visual arts industry.” She says this award marks a new stage of creativity within the young generation.
“The award demonstrates that we have a young generation who can think beyond the obvious and who are willing to take chances.”
The integration of this award into the education system is vital for the balance of the arts education, concludes Al Khamis-Kanoo. “Liberal arts education, literature, music, fine art, applied art, design, it is all equally as important as science and technology. One can’t function without the other.”