By Karyn Sheridan, interior designer based in our Dubai studio.
The forum was held at the W Hotel and was buzzing in capacity with designers, architects and industry professionals all discussing the latest projects and products to the MENA region. These were some of the key discussions from the day:
- Biophilia in design
The first panel discussion was on Biophilia – meaning an affinity with nature (evident in projects such as our store design for House of Fraser Rushden Lakes, with its living wall of 2,000 plants). Biophilia is a subject that can be sometimes overlooked on projects, and the expert panel discussed how creating a good habitat for people in the workspace can drastically enhance one’s health, fitness, and general well-being.
Some aspects of successful Biophilic design discussed include having six plants for every person, providing access to clean fresh air, and ensuring that each person is within six metres of a natural light source. Access to natural light, plants and trees or even the tones and textures of nature make for a happier and more content environment.
- The changing face of design education
There was an interesting panel discussion between a number of industry professionals and academic representatives on how best to train new generations of designers. Design is transitioning at a rapid pace, and understandably colleges and universities are striving to adapt the skillset of young designers in preparation for the ever-evolving workplace.
It was agreed by all sides that there should more industry participation for students from the beginning of their courses, such as attending workshops, site visits and supplier meetings. This will give new designers a stronger foundation in the skills they need to work in the sector.
- 3D printing in design and architecture
There was a passionate debate on this hot topic amongst the room, on whether the technology is forcing more responsibility onto the designer to cover all details of a project including the implementation, rather than ownership being on the contractor? The room, which was was full of people from both professions, was quite divided and there were strong opinions on each side. Only time will tell the verdict!
Another point discussed was the false hope that 3D printing means houses can be “built in a day” – the preconception that 3D printing is a fast option and therefore involves less prior design work, which is not necessarily the case.
A very informative morning was had by all, and we look forward to attending the next forum. We can all agree constant knowledge and discussion is how we do our best work – and that we should plant lots of plants!