A Puppy for a Cause!

Kudos to furniture giant Herman Miller for their Best in Show – Creativity for a Cause campaign last year, which saw top design firms in the UAE collaborating with the brand for a spot of friendly, puppy fun.

Whenever we see mega corporations give back, it warms our colourful Love That Design heart. Designers Woods Bagot, AAID, Wilson Associates and Gensler, along with non-profit organisation, Team Angel Wolf, were tasked with redesigning the classic Magis Puppy for Herman Miller’s Creativity for a Cause campaign.

Initially adopted from the US, the campaign was brought to the UAE for the very first time by Herman Miller Middle East. The process and objective was fairly straightforward – all entrants were to be provided by a Magis Puppy by Herman Miller, and asked to redesign and decorate it in their own unique design style – basically get as creative as possible with no limitations. The finished Puppy would be donated to the Al Noor School for Special Needs and Sanad Village, the World’s Largest Rehabilitation Centre for People of Determination.

The History of the Magis Puppy

This beloved plastic dog sculpture, originally designed in 2005 by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio for furniture manufacturer Magis’s children’s line, is an abstract plastic dog created in rotational-moulded polyethylene. It’s cheerful design and multi-space use (suitable for both indoors and outdoors) make it an ideal offering for any kids’ area.

The base colour, white, was a perfect canvas for designers to unleash their creativity. There were some guidelines provided, however, on the underlying theme to be followed, as dictated by Herman Miller. The design was to echo both Herman Miller and the design firm’s ethos around diversity, equity and inclusiveness, and make a difference in the lives of this very unique audience. Most importantly, to put a smile on their face.

Wilson Associates designed a henna painted puppy incorporating regional flair. AAID created Abby Angus in Dubai, by using materials they had on hand, the same way a child can build whole worlds from everyday objects around them.Gensler designed an amazing caricature of little hand drawn unique puppies, all of which had a special handicapable quality. Woods Bagot used children’s doodles to create a puppy that sparked instant joy. And Team Angel Wolf brought the Yin and Yang, the balance that people of determination needed from this campaign.

Team Angel Wolf was the only non designer entrant. Nick Watson and his son Rio were especially selected as they understand only too well the needs of the audience. Rio is a Person of Determination, with a rare chromosome disorder called ‘Denovo Syndrome’. As a family, they compete in sporting events, and always include Rio, which led them to create the non-profit foundation, Team Angel Wolf, that is all about inclusive impactivity for the community.

“We took a hard look at how we’re putting our beliefs about diversity, equity and inclusion into practice, and while it is a small step in this direction for us here in the region, we look to further collaborate and work with these amazing people moving forward”

Stacy Stewart, Regional Director, Herman Miller

The Puppy(s) and Their Forever Homes

Sanad Village is the region’s largest centre dedicated to the treatment and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other related conditions. This 30,000 square metre facility located within The Sustainable City, Dubai, is equipped with multiple indoor and outdoor facilities for education, vocational training, exercise, arts and crafts, sensory experiences, therapy and research. The centre places great emphasis on simulated real-life scenarios that help with the transition towards independence. It is dedicated to building a strong and lasting foundation for a productive life by optimising the potential of each child. Sanad Village offers a holistic, comprehensive and integrated approach towards ASD providing pathways into society for individuals and a support system that focuses on the whole family.

“In a world that fights for equal rights for all, we must not forget People of Determination,” says Faris Saeed, Chairman at Sanad Village. “We believe that by raising awareness through training and education, combined with a fully rounded, holistic treatment approach, we can encourage inclusivity that will support and pave the way for People of Determination to transition towards independence. Receiving a Magis Puppy alongside other great initiatives serves as a kind reminder that we are not alone on our journey.”

Established in 1981, the Al Noor Rehabilitation and Welfare Association for People of Determination has been providing quality professional training to Determined Ones in Dubai for nearly four decades. The association follows a holistic program that addresses development through trans-disciplinary assessment and an intervention approach, all delivered to ISO-certified standards. In addition to teaching, the level of development is also enhanced with physical, occupational, speech and language therapy, and psychological services, sports and music. Al Noor prides itself on an exceptionally effective work placement unit that trains its students with a capability for open employment, integrating them into mainstream society post education.

“We hope that this united vision of diversity and inclusion that Al Noor shares with Herman Miller, will lead to an enduring partnership and help enhance the quality of lives of people of determination,” says Ranjini Ramnath, Director at Al Noor Rehabilitation and Welfare Association for People of Determination.

Herman Miller’s Regional Director, Stacy Stewart adds, “This is the first time we are bringing this campaign to the region, as we believe in the power of diversity and aspire to be an inclusive community at Herman Miller. We took a hard look at how we’re putting our beliefs about diversity, equity and inclusion into practice, and while it is a small step in this direction for us here in the region, we look to further collaborate and work with these amazing people moving forward.”

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