A not-to-be-missed exhibition of 145 transformative projects from 50 universities in 30 countries


Global Grad Show opens, offering unparalleled insight into the world as it might be tomorrow

  • The largest meeting of design graduates to ever take place
  • Held during Dubai Design Week, October 24-29 at Dubai Design District (d3), free for all the attend
  • Design innovations promoting the good for humanity highlight the show
  • Supports Dubai’s vision of becoming an innovation hub
Apibox by Arthur Monnereau
Apibox by Arthur Monnereau

Dubai, UAE: Global Grad Show, the largest exhibition of graduate design and innovation from universities around the world, is back with a five-fold increase in participation since its first edition and, for the first time, schools from the region.

Like Dubai Design Week itself, the show is owned and managed by the Art Dubai Group, an entity that plays a key role in Dubai’s journey towards becoming a leading destination for arts and culture through producing the region’s most successful fairs and festivals as well running extensive year-round education, commissioning and thought-leadership programing.

In its second year, Global Grad Show presents ground-breaking works designed to offer solutions to some of the world’s pressing problems and ultimately transform the future. Some 145 projects from 50 universities in 30 countries are participating; with the next generation of design innovators from Middle East and North African institutions this year selected to show their work alongside those from world leading educational institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), The Royal College of Art (UK), and National University of Singapore (Singapore).

At Global Grad Show the projects are not sectioned off in school-specific zones, but are instead organised into three relevant themes – EmpowerConnect, and Sustain. The projects in the Empower section provide new ways to spark ideas and expand abilities. The Connection section encourages exchange of ideas and as well as building communities. Sustain is a survey of innovative approaches to reducing waste and generating energy.

The projects are selected not only for their aesthetics, but for the ideas behind them and their potential effects. The show includes high tech and low tech projects, the expensive and low cost, mechanical, manual and virtual. But they are united by a shared desire to apply design and technology to expand the possibilities of daily life, with one of the highlights of the diverse designs being their focus on humanity. 

From a jacket that transforms into a tent capable of providing shelter for four adults, inhabitable roofscapes that provide privacy to refugees in camps, products that help reduce wasting water, collapsible hydroponic farms, to a kitchen for one-armed users and an intravenous pole customisation kit designed to change how child patients relates to medical treatment, the projects demonstrate new ways of thinking and potential to create lasting impact on the world.

Brendan McGetrick, curator of Global Grad Show explains: “Design exhibitions often fixate on style alone – a lamp or chair, for instance, that looks beautiful (or simply unusual) but doesn’t provide a fundamentally different benefit from any other lamp or chair. In the case of Global Grad Show, many of the exhibits are attempting to apply design to open up new possibilities or to meet currently unmet needs. In choosing the works to include, I made sure that each contains within it a new idea and thus an insight into life now and in the future. And, of course, focusing less on style means that we can open up opportunities for people everywhere.

Brendan adds: “Global Grad Show provides a platform for graduate innovators to introduce their brilliant thought-provoking designs to a wider audience. Dubai, as a global hub with a forward-thinking vision provides the perfect environment. We encourage leaders and decision-makers to come to d3 and see the myriad of possibilities for new ways of thinking to transform lives.”  

Global Grad Show is held at d3 and plays a key role in Dubai’s transformation into an innovation-led economy. Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief Operating Officer of d3 commented: “Building on the success of last year’s Global Grad Show, d3 is once again thrilled to welcome a wealth of rising international talent. As we witness the growth of the design industry and rise in creative talent in the region, it is important to have a global outlook so that our regional design students and business partners can seek inspiration from each other. Initiatives such as the Global Grad Show directly underpin d3’s objective of supporting education across the region, whilst inspiring a collaborative approach to creativity.”

Global Grad Show is part of the Dubai Design Week; located at d3, building 6, 24-29 October 2016. Alongside the exhibition, which is free to attend for the public, will be a Creativity Forum, an open knowledge exchange composed of workshops, panel discussions and lectures where young designers can meet future advisors, collaborators, and partners.

Examples of projects exhibited in the 2016 Global Grad Show:

  • Algae Harvester – An algae-eating drone that cleans the water and powers itself with biofuel produced by the collected algae, designed by Fredrik Ausinsch at Umeå Institute of Design, in Sweden.
  • Bottlelight – A combination water purifier and camping light, designed by Christoph Kuppert and Helena Wendtat at University of Wuppertal in Germany.
  • Exacto – A social networking application that identifies and maps accessible spaces for people with physical handicaps, designed by Patricia Landeta at National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico.
  • Favo – A motion-operated shower system designed for communities that lack running water by Núria Molina and Anastasia Melnikova at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
  • Flat World – A set of maps designed to reveal that arbitrary nature of political borders, designed by Yosra Gamal at German University in Cairo in Egypt.
  • Growframe – A system of collapsible hydroponic farms that can grow food in empty shipping containers returning to China, designed by Philippe Hohlfeld at Royal College of Art in the UK.
  • Hilla – A night light system helping the elderly and the visually impaired to move about their homes safely, designed by Tilda Jyräsalo, Lara Jasim, and Jaakko Raami at Aalto University, in Finland.
  • Micro Wind Turbine – A miniature wind turbine that can charge mobile devices in harsh conditions with minimal light, designed Nils Ferber at ECAL in Switzerland.
  • Oneware – A sink extension that makes food preparation and dish washing easier for users with only one hand, designed by Loren Lim and Tian Hwee at National University of Singapore, in Singapore.
  • Oud/Kanun – A device designed to make complex traditional music more accessible, intuitive, and widely appreciated, designed by Nesma Khodier at VCUQatar in Qatar.
  • Shelters for Extended Families a system of inhabitable roofscapes designed for the Jerash refugee camp in Jordan as a means of providing communal spaces without compromising currently existing private and service spaces by Dina Samara of American University of Sharjah in the UAE.
  • Synchrony – A touch-based music therapy platform designed for Autistic children, designed by Kenneth Tay at ArtCenter College of Design in the USA.
  • TippyTalk – An app that allows a person with a verbal disability to communicate by translating pictures into text messages, designed by Robert Laffan at Limerick Institute of Technology in Ireland.
  • Ziggy – A personal hand-operated washing device, based on an accordion, designed by Mohololo Nkoana at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa.

The 50 participating schools are:

Aalto University (Helsinki, Finland) 

American University in Dubai (Dubai, UAE)

American University of Sharjah (Sharjah, UAE)

Anhui University of Technology (Ma’anshan, Anhui, China)

Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, USA) 

Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, New Zealand)

Cambridge University (Cambridge, UK)

Centro (Mexico City, Mexico) 

Design Academy Eindhoven (Eindhoven, Netherlands)

ECAL (Renens, Switzerland)

École de design Nantes Atlantique (Nantes, France)

École Supérieure d’Art et Design de Saint-Étienne (Saint-Étienne, France)

Eindhoven University of Technology (Eindhoven, Netherlands)

Emily Carr University of Art + Design (Vancouver, Canada)

FH Joanneum (Graz, Austria)

German University in Cairo (Cairo, Egypt)

Higher Institute of Industrial Design (Havana, Cuba)

Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hung Hom, Hong Kong)

Ibero-American University (Mexico City, Mexico) 

Istituto Europeo di Design (Milan, Italy)

KAIST (Daejeon, Republic of Korea)

KMD: Graduate School of Media Design, Keio  (Tokyo, Japan)

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia)

Limerick Institute of Technology (Limerick, Republic of Ireland)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, USA) 

Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey) 

National Autonomous University of Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico)

National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taipei, Taiwan)

National University of Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)

Northeastern University  (Boston, USA) 

NYU Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (Lima, Peru)

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Pratt Institute (New York, USA)

Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, USA)

Royal College of Art (London, United Kingdom)

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Melbourne, Victoria)

Samsung Art and Design Institute (Seoul, Korea)

Santa Catarina State University (Florianópolis, Brazil)

Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology  (Bangalore, India)

Tshwane University of Technology (Pretoria, South Africa)

Tsinghua University (Beijing, China)

Umeå Institute of Design (Umeå, Sweden)

University of the Arts Bremen (Bremen, Germany)

University of Design Schwäbisch Gmünd (Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany)

University of Guadalajara (Guadalajara, Mexico)

University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, USA)

University of Wuppertal (Wuppertal, Germany)

UPC BarcelonaTECH (Barcelona, Spain)

VCU Qatar (Ar-Rayyan, Qatar)


Brendan McGetrick is an independent writer, editor, and designer. His work has appeared in publications in over twenty countries, including Wired, Art Review, Domus, and Vogue Nippon. His projects include the books Content (Taschen), Urban China: Work In Progress (Timezone 8), and Who is Architecture? (Domus/Timezone 8). In 2011, he curated Unnamed Design, a component of the 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale, in collaboration with Ai Weiwei. The exhibition received over 200,000 visitors and was named the year’s best contemporary design exhibition by the New York Times. In 2014, he co-curated Fair Enough in the Russian pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, for which he received a jury prize. In 2015, he established Global Grad Show, an annual exhibition of graduate projects from design schools around the world, held each October as part of Dubai Design Week. From 2002-2006, he was head writer at Rem Koolhaas’s research studio AMO.


Dubai Design Week is one of the world’s newest and most ambitious international design events, conceived to shine a spotlight on Dubai as a leading design hub, and share the UAE’s thriving design scene with the world at large.

Dubai Design Week was established in 2015 in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), and is held under the dedicated patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, a strategic partner of the event. Dubai Design Week is also sponsored by Audi, Huawei and Swarovski.

In Dubai’s collaborative spirit, and as a reflection of the city’s global outlook, its design week is both regional and international in scope, encompasses public and private spheres, culture, education and entertainment, and spans multiple disciplines, ranging from graphic and product design to architecture and industrial design. Panels, keynote speeches, panel discussions, public performances and educational workshops all contribute to the greater discussion of what design means for the region and the world.

In 2015, 23,000 visitors from around the world gathered in the city to discover the work and ideas of over 150 designers drawn from around the region and internationally. The success of the inaugural edition cemented the future of Dubai Design Week as an annual event.

Coinciding with Downtown Design, the region’s leading, quality-driven design trade fair, Dubai Design Week also includes a number of unique headline initiatives, such as Abwab, the Global Grad Show, Destination and Iconic City.

From 24 to 29 October 2016, over 150 events will be staged in a citywide 6-day celebration of design that will enthrall Dubai with design, engaging the local community and visitors alike.


Dubai Design District, (d3), one of the TECOM Group’s communities, is a destination dedicated to design. The chosen home for the region’s growing collective of creatives, artists and designers, d3, has fast become the hub for inspiration and innovation. Created to answer the growing need from the industry, d3 provides businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals from across the design value chain with a thriving community where they can collaborate, create and inspire.

Known for its versatility d3 has become a popular events space, attracting international crowds to cultural exhibitions such as Dubai Design Week, Fashion Forward, Sole DXB and Meet d3, which have simultaneously driven footfall to d3’s distinguished repertoire of design-focused outlets, art galleries and eateries.

With this year’s launch of lifestyle boutiques, art galleries and culinary concepts in its core 11 buildings, the Design Quarter, d3 is very much alive. Taking a novel approach, d3 has selected a mix of original homegrown and international concepts to form a creative community of new retail outlets, restaurants and innovative pop-up events that invite visitors to enjoy a more authentic shopping and dining experience.

d3 is constantly evolving. To cater to its growing number of residents, d3 will feature a one million square foot Creative Community which is currently under construction, and will act as the site’s cultural epicenter, inspiring emerging designers and artists. Another key goal for d3 is to continually surpass the expectations of its visitors, and so d3 will also boast a bustling 1.8km Waterfront development running alongside the Dubai Creek, with international and design-led hotels, boutique retail concept stores and an outdoor events space, as well as a host of hospitality and leisure facilities.

To support its many creative partners, d3 offers individuals and businesses the choice of operating either as a free zone entity or as an on-shore business, each with its own merits.


The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in order to drive the growth of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. The Authority has grown to play a major role in the realisation of the Dubai Plan 2021, to highlight Dubai as a thriving capital for creative industries and further embed the Emirate’s credentials as a city of happy, creative and empowered people.

As part of its mandate, Dubai Culture has several initiatives that are focused on strengthening both the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, including Dubai Art Season – the city’s premier umbrella arts initiative which kicks off with Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and encompasses Art Week including Art Dubai, Design Days Dubai, and SIKKA Art Fair, Middle East Film & Comic Con, SIKKA Art Fair – an annual event aimed at promoting Emirati and local artists in the UAE and the wider GCC region, Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre – an annual festival that fosters the art of theatre in the UAE and that is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016, and Dubai Next – a dynamic platform that aims to showcase the Emirate’s cultural ethos and its vibrant creative scene on the global stage.

The Authority’s other key initiatives include Creatopia – the nation’s first government empowered virtual community that guides and nurtures the creative culture of the nation and provides a platform of information and opportunities that lead to exposure and personal growth.

Dubai Culture also plays a leading role in support of the UAE National Strategy for Reading 2026, in particular by undertaking a major refurbishment of all Dubai Public Libraries branches to transform them into state-of-art cultural and artistic hubs. Across all of its branches, Dubai Public Library also provides children and young adults with a range of educational and entertaining activities that encourage the use of its facilities. The ‘Our Summer is Filled with Culture & Arts Programme’ is a Dubai Public Library initiative which complements the UAE National Reading Strategy, with its activities open to all age groups, and which revolve around four key themes: happiness, reading, family and the future.

The Authority also manages more than 17 heritage sites across the Emirate, and is a key government stakeholder in the development of the Dubai Historical District. As the custodian Authority of Dubai’s museum sector, Dubai Culture will officially launch Etihad Museum in December 2016. The museum will provide a platform to encourage cultural exchange and to connect Emirati youth with their culture and history. As part of the Authority’s mandate to support Dubai’s vision of becoming the focal point of diverse cultural exchange (regionally & globally), all of its museums will provide a catalyst to preserve Emirati Heritage.


The Audi Group, with its brands Audi, Ducati and Lamborghini, is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the premium segment. It is present in more than 100 markets worldwide and produces at 16 locations in twelve countries. In the second half of 2016, the production of the Audi Q5 will start in San José Chiapa (Mexico). 100 percent subsidiaries of AUDI AG include quattro GmbH (Neckarsulm), Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. (Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy) and Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. (Bologna, Italy).

In 2015, the Audi Group delivered to customers approximately 1.8 million automobiles of the Audi brand, 3,245 sports cars of the Lamborghini brand and about 54,800 motorcycles of the Ducati brand. In the 2015 financial year, AUDI AG achieved total revenue of €58.4 billion and an operating profit of €4.8 billion. At present, approximately 85,000 people work for the company all over the world, about 60,000 of them in Germany. Audi focuses on new products and sustainable technologies for the future of mobility.

AUDI AG’s commitment to the region was confirmed through the foundation of its fully owned subsidiary in 2005. The current Middle East model range comprises the Audi  A3 & S3 Sedan/Sportback and RS 3 Sportback, A4 and RS 4 Avant, the A5 Coupe, Sportback, Cabriolet and RS 5 Coupe and Cabriolet, the A6, S6, RS 6 performance, A7, S7, RS 7 & RS 7 performance, A8, A8 L, S8 & S8 plus, the Audi Q3, Q5 & SQ5, Q7 and the Audi TT Coupe/Roadster and TTS Coupe, the Audi R8 Coupe as well as the R8 Coupe V10 plus.


Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) is one of Huawei’s three business groups, providing a range of products including mobile phones, mobile broadband (MBB) devices and home devices. Huawei’s products and services are available in more than 170 countries, and are used by a third of the world’s population, ranking third in the world in mobile phone shipments in 2016.

As a leading technology company, Huawei invests a significant amount of its annual sales revenue to research and development efforts, and has established 16 research centers around the world. Among these facilities is the Huawei Aesthetics Research Center in Paris, where French luxury brands work with Huawei’s engineers to align technology with future fashion trends. Huawei’s newest R&D center is the Max Berek Innovation Lab in Wetzler, Germany, where Huawei and Leica are jointly researching technologies to improve mobile device camera and image quality. Huawei also has more than 10 open labs in China, Europe and other locations, where it works with more than 600 partners. 

In 2016, Huawei ranked 72 on the Interbrand’s 2016 Best Global Brands report. The company has seen continuously risen on Interbrand’s list after it became the first mainland Chinese brand to be recognized as a ‘Best Global Brand’ in 2014. 

Huawei CBG shares its vision with people who pursue their dreams, people who are visionary challengers, people who are proactive with a strong belief in striving to achieve their goals. Huawei is dedicated to bringing the latest technology to consumers and creating extraordinary experiences for people everywhere.


Swarovski delivers a diverse portfolio of unmatched quality, craftsmanship, and creativity that goes beyond the manufacturing of crystal. Founded in 1895 in Austria, Swarovski designs, manufactures, and markets high-quality crystals, genuine gemstones and created stones, and finished products such as jewelry, accessories, and lighting. In addition, Swarovski Crystal Worlds was established as a unique venue dedicated to showcasing artistic interpretations of crystal. Swarovski Entertainment collaborates with established industry partners and exceptional talent to produce international feature films, while the Swarovski Foundation supports creativity and culture, promotes wellbeing, and conserves natural resources. Now run by the fifth generation of family members, Swarovski Crystal Business has a global reach with approximately 2,480 stores in around 170 countries, more than 24,000 employees, and revenue of about 2.33 billion euros in 2013. Together with its sister companies Swarovski Optik (optical devices) and Tyrolit (abrasives), Swarovski Crystal Business forms the Swarovski Group. In 2013, the Group generated revenue of about 3.02 billion euros and employed more than 30,000 people.