Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, TECOM Group, part of Dubai Holding, the leading global investment group, and Dubai Creative Clusters Authority announced the establishment of Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). Considered a new milestone in the UAE’s efforts towards driving innovation by building regionally developed graduate design talent, plans for the development of DIDI in collaboration with MIT and Parsons were announced today at an event hosted in the Dubai Design District (d3). Attended by the education and design communities, the event outlined Dubai’s innovation agenda and DIDI’s vision to support it by creating a world class design educational institution. The establishment of the DIDI board of directors, chaired by Dubai Holding Chief Executive Officer, Fadel Al Ali was also announced at the event.
Driven by the ambitious goals the UAE has set for its economic and knowledge development, the institute is developing a first-of-its-kind curriculum aimed to empower students to design their own four-year educational journey, culminating in the region’s first Bachelor of Design degree with cross concentrations in Product Design, Strategic Design Management, Media, Visual Art and Fashion Design.
Dubai has been a beacon of innovation and design for the region, with the government creating initiatives to support the progress of the design industry. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, decreed the establishment of the Dubai Design & Fashion Council (DDFC) to support Dubai’s development as the emerging design capital of the world. To foster an active design community for people and businesses, TECOM Group formed d3 in collaboration with the creative industry. The MENA Design Education Outlook study released by DDFC in collaboration with d3 in May 2016, highlighted the need for at least 30,000 design graduates by 2019. The findings of this report led to the establishment of DIDI to support the sustainable growth of the regional design sector.
Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) said: “Dubai is committed to building a sustainable community of creative professionals distinguished by its cultural vitality and international artistic consciousness. With the MENA design sector forecast to grow at six percent a year over the next five years and at least 30,000 more design graduates needed in the region, the moment is right for the UAE to establish its own high quality design school. Under the Dubai Plan 2021, my father His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai commits to develop Dubai as a city of happy, creative and empowered people, and the plans for the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation support this vision. DIDI will contribute to Dubai’s aim to become a global hub of innovation and entrepreneurship by nurturing the next generation of professionals who will bridge creativity and business to develop a commercially viable industry.”
Fadel Al Ali, Chairman of the board, DIDI and CEO of Dubai Holding said: Dubai Holding is constantly working to support Dubai’s strategic development through various initiatives and creative clusters built on a foundation of innovation and creativity. We have been focused on building a knowledge based economy which contributes to Dubai’s economic diversification, through the establishment of innovative clusters and specialized organizations that are capable of building capacities and developing the skills required to enhance various sectors, led by innovation. Today, almost 25 thousand students from across the world are educated at institutes and universities located within our creative clusters. ”
“The establishment of DIDI is a natural next step following the launch of d3, which is now a regional hub for innovation and a preferred destination for the world’s leading fashion designers and artists. Students will be able to benefit from this unique location at the heart of the Creative Community at d3, which will provide them with the inspiration they need to innovate and create,” Al Ali added.
The DIDI campus was designed by Foster + Partners to create a unique learning environment for students to nurture and showcase their innovation and creativity. The space is laid out in a ‘mega’ studio setting, together with world-class facilities, enabling cross-collaboration between design disciplines, bringing students and faculty together in a dynamic environment. The campus is spread over 100,000 square feet in the Creative Community at d3 and will have the capacity to accommodate 550 students.
Commenting on the milestone announcement, Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Chairperson, DDFC and CEO of TECOM Group said, “Developing talented youth and creativity are essential to achieving the goals outlined by His Highness to establish a sustainable economy, and innovation is key to his vision for Dubai to become the smartest city in the world, with creative industries, manufacturing and production sectors capable of competing with some of the most advanced counties across the globe.”
“We constantly work to empower youth to take ownership of the journey towards a sustainable economy and a future led by innovation. DIDI will be a strategically critical platform for providing youth with the tools they need to drive the UAE’s future development. By harnessing the expertise of world-class institutions such as MIT and Parsons and incubating students within the Creative Community at d3, DIDI students have the unique opportunity of getting a practical education from interacting directly with designers within the industry, and benefiting from their experience,” she added.
In the 2016 ranking of the world’s best art and design schools by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), MIT and Parsons were ranked in the top five. MIT is located in Massachusetts, USA; its School of Architecture and Planning is dedicated to addressing and improving the human environment by advancing the frontiers of design, architecture, urbanism, art, and media. Based in New York but active around the world, Parsons offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines.
Hashim Sarkis, Dean, MIT School of Architecture and Planning added, “The announcement of DIDI affirms the growing importance of design as a means to improve the relationship between human beings and their environment, both in the UAE and globally. We could not be more enthusiastic about working with Dubai to nurture design talent and to promote design and design thinking as powerful tools for building a better world.”
Joel Towers, Executive Dean, Parsons School of Design said, “Design plays a key role in today’s global economy, and it’s exciting to see the burgeoning talent of design students in the Middle East. International collaboration strengthens the future of design and leads to creative and innovative ideas. We are pleased to be working with Dubai to develop DIDI as a way to inspire students and cultivate new approaches to design.”
Adopting a teaching model that will be based on balancing academic learning with practical experience, DIDI will allow emerging talent to study across disciplines, with access to practitioners throughout the creative industries of Dubai, honing innovation and creating the designers of the future. Through its policies and practices, DIDI will support excellence in teaching and foster the aesthetic, intellectual, professional, personal and social development of its students, while preparing students for a career in design.
The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) is a private, not-for-profit education institution, established by TECOM Group, part of Dubai Holding, and Dubai Creative Clusters Authority as the main shareholders. DIDI will be accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education, and the total financial investment for the project is estimated to be AED 270 million. The first intake of students at DIDI is planned for Fall 2018.