This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site or closing this banner you agree to the use of cookies.
Read ourCookies Notice andPrivacy Notice for more information.

DIDI Returns with Project Design Space, The UAE’S Biggest Design Challenge


Project Design Space (PDS), the UAE’s largest design challenge for high-school students, announces its return for a third consecutive year.  Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) has seen 2,000 budding student designers from schools across the Emirates, register to take part in this year’s challenge. Each will have the opportunity to solve ‘real-world’ design problems for real-life clients.

Set to be DIDI’s biggest Project Design Space to date, this year’s challenge has been opened up to students from grades 5-12, giving them the rare opportunity to come up with innovative design solutions for Dubai-based clients.

Off the back of the overwhelming success of last year’s challenge, where 1,200 students from 50 schools competed in the initiative, Project Design Space is excited to have secured four new collaborating organisations – Dubai Holding, Emirates Marine Environmental Group, Landmark Group and The Dubai Mall – all of which will provide real design briefs to participating students.

Throughout the 16-week challenge, each participating school will receive specialized training and program materials. The participating PDS students will be mentored by their school teachers during after-school club meetings to design solutions for the client’s design briefs.  Finalists will then attend a design ‘boot camp’ hosted by DIDI, where they will receive expert feedback and coaching from the University’s faculty and staff.

The goal of DIDI’s PDS is to support the development of design knowledge as an academic discipline, as well as to give students the opportunity to experience the tasks and challenges that come with a career in design. PDS will help to grow the UAE’s passion for design from the grass-roots level and in turn create the innovators of tomorrow.

Mohammad Abdullah, President of DIDI said: “Aiming to nurture and mentor the next generation of designers in the UAE, Project Design Space will seek to provide invaluable experience in solving real world challenges and igniting a passion for design.  Last year’s tremendous response has generated a lot of interest amongst corporates and across the design industry in general, who were keen to join us in this year’s competition. We have chosen an interesting cross-section of collaborators, which we hope will encourage even more design students from all specialisms and areas of interest to enter.”

The real-world PDS design challenges include; designing the retail pop-up store of the future, crafting an omni-channel customer experience, designing a habitat for turtles, and energizing a brand through story-telling.

Nisha Jagtiani, Group Director – Landmark Group said, “The next generation has a very specific and vocal design view that has rapidly changed the world we live in. We are so excited to see entries that come in through project design space and look forward to providing a platform for tomorrow’s designers. This competition will give them some real-world experience as well as push them to innovate and think outside the box. The challenges we have in store for the participants are situations our businesses have dealt with and continue to deal with, and the participants will get a real taste of retail and fashion in the region.”

Following successful application, schools will then work on their ideas and designs before submitting their prototypes to DIDI by 24 February, 2019. Finalists will be invited to a special event on 23 March, 2019 at DIDI’s university campus in Dubai Design District (d3), where teams will pitch design prototypes to their clients and attend an award ceremony.

Ellen Thorne, English Teacher from The English College, which was among last year’s winners, said: “’As a global player in today’s developing innovation and design field, Dubai offers the perfect platform on which to run the Project Design Space project. Students’ creativity, higher order thinking, economic understanding, business development, public speaking and group work skills are improved through participation. The opportunity to be given exposure to large companies and brands is a valuable experience and highly beneficial in the pathway into their future. The challenges faced by participants builds reliance and all students come away having achieved personal achievements, with a widened skill set and an immensely proud feeling from representing their school in such an event.”