This year’s CID Awards submissions are very indicative of what is happening in the marketplace and it is time for us as designers to really push the boundaries and elevate design quality levels.
There are some minimalistic projects, which is nice for the region. I’ve been in Dubai for 10 years now and it can be difficult to help the client understand that minimalism doesn’t mean poorness. Thankfully, I saw a lot of projects that are going in [the minimalist] direction and that is something that is great for the region.
This year we focused on the future in terms of conceptual work and the quality of conceptual thinking and how that is brought to fruition. In terms of our judging, we’ve been focused on looking forward, looking for a new future for the design industry in the Middle East.
The last year has been challenging for all of us and that makes this year’s submissions all the more valuable. The perseverance, integrity, rigour in design and effort in creativity it takes to not only design but deliver projects, and deliver them to a high quality when market pressures are pushing you another way is commendable.
It was tough to select the winners especially in one category because the level of competition in Boutique Design Firm of the Year was extremely high. It was a tough selection. I like to push the level of design to support innovative design and the people who are trying to upgrade themselves and go against the market challenges.
I found the nominations to be very detailed. I was quite excited to see what the region is bringing out and there has been some innovation in design, which was surprising. For me, the hotel category was a difficult one to assess and there are some great projects that came out of that one.
The diversity and impeccable quality of this year’s submissions left me impressed. Each firm went on to adopt a different approach in various categories, something I enjoyed greatly. I think the best designs show an attention to detail and deliver a distinct design identity while considering aspects like space planning.
What really stood out for me was projects that were non-formulaic and artistic, people who were pushing boundaries and taking risks. As a judge every year I see projects that make me go ‘wow’. You see companies that, however famous or well-known they are, they really put the time and energy into their submissions.
I have been captivated by the effective integration of sustainability and design, highlighting an active action and development of the field, aligned with the needs of the market. Furthermore, I noticed a fresh approach with attention to problem-solving ethics and innovative functional design solutions, including the combination of new technologies.