Design Through the Decades: Designers from Dubai’s Eminent Firms are Ready for Surge 2023 and How!

Surge returned with their signature Designers’ Workshop last month. Leading up to the anticipated Surge 2023 Gala, this workshop was a precursor where designers were familiarised with the theme and given feedback for their interpretations. As contestants’ competitive spirit accrued good-humoured jibes and tongue-in-cheek remarks at each other, mentors reviewed concepts and directions. In fewer words, the heat is rising and Surge is back on.

Over half of the human body is made up of water. Water is a basic necessity to life. Knowledge about water is plenty, but awareness about its availability is scarce. Surge For Water is an organisation dedicated to providing clean drinking water to the repressed communities in the world. For the 10th consecutive year now, Surge has helmed a design competition that culminates into a Gala and Award Ceremony at the end of the year.

Each year multiple design studios in the Middle East compete with each other for the winning titles. Notably, nobody has returned home unrewarded to date. Contributing to change and creative exposure regardless can hardly be called losses. 

The Surge Designer Workshop 2023

For this edition of the Designers’ Workshop, Jenny Stallings, Volunteer – Middle East, Surge spearheaded the presentation at the Bureau Co-working Space designed by Designsmith. The concurrent theme ‘Design Through the Ages’ requires participants to usurp inspiration from the 1920s, 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s and tie their creative musings to Surge’s ethos and mission. The final piece must also inculcate 60% sustainable materials and methods, making environmental impact pivotal for the win. 

“This year’s concept highlights our decade of being in ‘Design. Dine. Make a difference.’ here in Dubai. With that in mind, we are presenting ‘Design through the Decades’ that aptly celebrates the milestone while providing a dynamic theme”, Jenny made known. The multi-decade theme is a boon. Designers can decide to imbibe the stringent line work and solid colours of Art Deco, leverage sleek Modernist features, or keep it trendy with Minimalist nuances. The possibilities are endless. 

Intent & Partnerships of the Surge ‘Design. Dine. Make a Difference’ Competition

Since its inception, the Surge ‘Design. Dine. Make a difference.’ Competition has aimed to do more than challenge designers. The connotation is to prompt introspection and discovery. These creative professionals are usually constrained within briefs and budgets, leaving them barely any resources to get creative with sustainability. Through its requirements (more details here), the competition seeks to unfurl original ideas and innovation. 

Headline Sponsors for this yearAcoulite, Sedus and Light Linkare of the same mind. “It’s a pleasure to be here once again with Surge as we look at the Designer Workshop halfway through the year and await the big ‘Design. Dine. Make a difference.’ in December. We look forward to celebrating the difference we can make together”, says Steve Jardine, General Manager of Acoulite Environmental Solutions. “I know the A&D community looks forward to it, too. For years, Acoulite has been an integral part of the Surge journey. It’s part of our DNA, and we find it inspirational that we can make such a difference to communities in dire need of clean water, sanitation and hygiene.”

Joelle Nader, Managing Director, Sedus Stoll also expresses the honour on the company’s behalf. She mentions,”Sedus is glad to support Surge for the fourth consecutive year. The work that Surge for Water is doing, and the support that they are willing to devote to the vulnerable communities is truly impressive and close to our heart. And as I always say, Sedus and Surge share the same mission. We care about the environment, the people, their well-being and their health.”

The beaming smiles of mentors Mriganka Travasso, Chadi El Tabbah and Robert Bankes signalled an enthused start to the race. Though tight-lipped, it was evident that they couldn’t wait to see the final results, and honestly, so can’t we.


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