Hani Asfour is the Dean of Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). Prior to joining DIDI, the MIT and Harvard-trained architect was an Adjunct Faculty member at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, teaching in the departments of Architecture and Foundation Studies. Asfour’s academic experience also includes teaching positions at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Northeastern University, American University of Beirut and American University of Sharjah.
Recently named as one of the regions most influential 50 architects by Middle East Architect magazine, Asfour was the Founding President of the Beirut Creative Cluster, and is an advisor to Beirut Design Week. A frequent public speaker, he has previously presented Design Matters at TedX Beirut, and has served as keynote speaker and mentor for data4chan.ge, whereby visual storytellers come together with human rights organisations that have fascinating original datasets and powerful stories to tell.
He is a Founding Partner of Polypod, an award-winning multidisciplinary collaborative design studio in Beirut, Lebanon, that offers integrated design services in strategy, architecture, interior design, branding, web design and development, graphics, and information design for local and international clients. Polypod was recently awarded Best Community and Cultural Project at the 2017 MEA Awards for its Anwar Sabbah Musallah project.
As a practicing designer with over 20 years of experience, Asfour combines a mix of design expertise with entrepreneurship skills and academic depth, allowing him to combine practical and theoretical approaches in his teaching methods at DIDI. Asfour holds a Master of Architecture with Distinction from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Science in Art and Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Dr. Carlos Alberto Montana-Hoyos is an award-winning designer and academic, with interests in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to design and research expertise in Design for Health, Biomimicry and Sustainability.
Before joining DIDI, he was Associate Professor and Course Convenor of Industrial Design in the University of Canberra, Australia, where he won two institutional and one national teaching awards. He was Assistant Professor in the National University of Singapore until 2010 and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Product Design Engineering in EAFIT University in Colombia since 2001.
Since 2010 he has obtained more than $ 1 Million AUD in grants and was the project director for the curriculum design of the 1st female-only ID program in Saudi Arabia. Scholarly publications include one book, two chapters in books, numerous refereed academic journal and conference papers and professional design publications. He has been Master’s and PhD supervisor, external evaluator, reviewer for design journals, member of advisory boards, invited keynote and guest speaker and jury in international professional and academic design events.
Carlos is a Colombian/Australian who has also lived in Italy, Japan, Singapore and currently the UAE. He was awarded scholarships from the Japanese Government and graduated cum laude from a Masters and a PhD from Kobe Design University in Japan.
As a practitioner, Carlos has worked in-house in the design of packages, electric appliances, furniture, lamps, ceramics, handcrafts, and others. Many of his projects as well as projects by his students have received international design awards, including Braun Prize, Dupont Imagineering, RedDot, and others.
Tchakerian has experience in multiple fields of design, including aerospace, aviation, medicine, humanitarian design, product design, interactive design, and robotics. Acquiring the ability to transform thoughts into tangible solutions his work is nurtured through cross-fertilizations between these various fields, with the goal of improving the interactions between humans and the technology they use, and environments in which they live. As a visionary designer, Raffi’s projects are colorful in nature, touching on every imaginable design field from space to the developing world. Over the past decade, Tchakerian has collaborated with a large number of leading international designers, including the design studio, Architecture and Vision, and space architects, Arturo Vittori and Andreas Vogler.
As an architect and product designer, Mirko’s work has been exhibited internationally, including Vienna, Florence and Beijing. He received his Master degree in Architecture in 2010, at Greg Lynn’s masterclass at the University of Applied Arts of Vienna. Mirko is co-founder and Chief Design Officer at NYXO ltd, an architecture and product design practice working internationally, with designs featuring in the permanent collection at the Cooper Hewitt Natio-nal Design Museum of New York. His work consists in the understanding and management of intricate multidisciplinary scenarios, from material systems to production processes. Mirko is also sensitive to scientific issues and the role that the design thought could play in the bio&nano-tech revolution to renovate the Human Being. One of his obsessions concerns the mutation of the human body (Human Enhancement Design) focusing on the influence and interaction with the products; products as a prosthesis of the human body.
Gionata has worked between Dubai, Venice, and Rotterdam. After a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from IUAV University of Venice, he continued his studies at the Social Design Master at Design Academy Eindhoven, graduating in 2009 and opening his studio. While practicing, he attended the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University, where he was awarded a Ph.D. with a thesis on Multispecies Design.
Winding between collaboration with scientific disciplines, Gionata’s work emerges as a result of participatory and speculative research methods, to breed a territory of experimentation and transdisciplinary synergy. From the active research phase, he derives artifacts and installations that perform as perceptual bridges to generate visions about speculative future scenarios. His scholarly work focuses on expanding and enquiring about applications and implications of studio praxis.
Renata’s career spans across diverse areas related to design and innovation, consistently creating new bridges between creative industries and higher education. She has successfully applied the outcomes of her doctorate research on technological mediation to developing her own innovation methodology that specialized in the design of digital content strategies. In her capacity as both a scholar and entrepreneur, she has helped universities from around the world to re-design their approach to multimedia education in ways that include innovation. She is also an active transdisciplinary researcher, having published 3 books and dozens of peer-reviewed articles on the subject of computational aesthetics. Currently, she is pursuing her second PhD at the University of Melbourne exploring the relationship of Artificial Intelligence to the data semiotics of the self, under the supervision of Dr. Simon Cropper. Her research is part of the Complex Human Data Hub research center, investigating the psychological implications of current innovations in data gathering devices and wearables.
Noorin has worked in the fashion industry for over 17 years, with ten of those spent in the field of sustainable fashion. She started out working for designers such as Jonathan Saunders and Ann Sofie Back and brands including Ted Baker. In 2009, disenchanted by the working methods and lack of sustainability of conventional brands, she was among the first wave of the pioneering ethical fashion movement in Europe. She set up the independent fashion business Outsider which has exhibited and sold her work internationally. Noorin has had a parallel career in academia, lecturing in fashion design and sustainability at several British universities including London College of Fashion and The University for the Creative Arts. Noorin holds a first class BA (Hons) in Fashion Design and an MA with distinction in Fashion Futures. Her current research focusses on evolving the design process for circularity and sustainability.