A jacket that turns into a tent; a touchpad that helps the blind communicate on their smartphone; these are just some of the innovative design projects to be featured at the Global Grad Show in Dubai. At the end of October, hundreds of students will travel to the Dubai Design District for the largest-ever exhibition of student-made works from universities all over the world. The Global Grad Show is a free public showcase of 135 design projects made at 50 different schools, representing 30 countries across six continents. Organizers believe the show will serve as "a glimpse into our world as it might be tomorrow.”
The show’s curator, Brendan McGetrick, tells The Creators Project that for him, the projects in the show represent a kind of “collective intelligence, channeled through the various schools and pointed at the pressing issues of our time: how to increase access to education food and shelter; how to encourage enhance and building community; how to reduce waste and generate clean energy.”
During our conversation with McGetrick, he laid out three main thematic sections in the show: the "Design to Empower" section, which focuses on projects that spark new ideas and expand human ability, the "Design to Connect" section, which looks at designs that bring people, places, and ideas together, and the "Design to Sustain" section, a survey of experimental approaches to making most of the planet’s resources. These central concerns drive the show and define its structure; rather than sectioning the projects off in school-specific zones, the projects are organized based on what they do. The projects themselves are sorted under seven universal themes: health, construction, home, work, memory, mobility, and play.
McGetrick says the breadth of diversity amongst these projects is the most exciting part. The different solutions offered in each project reflect the concerns of the country in which they were made. Swedish designer Fredrik Ausinsch's Algae Harvester is a self-sustaining, algae-eating remote control drone that filters water and refuels itself using the consumed algae. The project was originally conceived to help reduce the overabundance of algae in the Baltic Sea. The Bottlelight is a plastic water bottle that works as both a water purifier and as a camping light. When the light is turned on, the UV LEDs kill 99% of the bacteria in the water in a matter of 60 seconds. It was designed in Germany by Christoph Kuppert to help backpackers save space during long trips. Emilia Tapprest’s Lightbound project is a new kind of communication system that allows two people in separate locations to experience one another’s presence through ambient light (which totally reminds us of Stranger Things). Through external remote, simple touch gestures are translated into different light patterns that communicate different messages.
To learn more about the Global Grad Show, head over to the Dubai Design Week website.