ABU DHABI // He has a furniture line, an impressive artistic pedigree and a gallery in Dubai. And now Rami Farook has designs on winning the International Young Design Entrepreneur Award as the competition's first Emirati contestant. The British Council, which runs the event, announced yesterday that Mr Farook had been chosen to represent the region. If he wins the 10-day competition in Britain, he will be awarded a grant of £5,000 (Dh31,000) and the chance to develop lucrative business links with designers there.
"I am a UAE national representing my country and I am very excited," he said. "I went to the design festival in the UK in 2007, and in just two years I have gone from being a visitor to a participant - it is a proud moment for me and my whole family." Mr Farook founded Traffic, a concept furniture store and design gallery, and is the man behind the UAE's first national pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
In July, Mr Farook submitted examples of his designs and business concepts to the arts and creativity team from the British Council in Dubai. Last week he was shortlisted alongside five others and presented his work to judges. "I talked about the history of the design industry in the UAE and how as a company Traffic were targeting issues such as the lack of creative content in the region and explained how we were trying to establish ourselves as a design platform," he said.
"The reason I set up Traffic in the first place was because there was a gap in the market for well-designed furniture, and now we have a team of designers working for us." Paul Sellers, country director for the British Council in Dubai and one of the judges, said: "Rami Farook's application was extremely strong, demonstrating a good entrepreneurial track record along with considerable business acumen and in-depth knowledge of the design field."
On September 15, Mr Farook will travel to the UK to begin a 10-day tour of the design industry. Competing against designers from UK, India, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Taiwan, Indonesia and Turkey, he will visit retailers, manufacturers and other institutions and compile a 20-minute presentation. The winner will be decided based on his or her presentation. email@example.com