2019 Audi Innovation Award inspires record registrations

  • Submission entry for the fourth Audi Innovation Award in the Middle East has closed
  • Over 2,500 people registered to compete for the 2019 theme ‘simplification’
  • 5 new regional design experts have joined the respected panel of judges to decide the winner to be announced at Dubai Design Week, November 2019
Dubai, 25 June 2019 – Submissions entry for the Audi Innovation Award closed on 20th May with a record over 2,500 registrations on the website audiinovationaward.com. Now in its 4th year, the award has grown in popularity with budding designers in the region eager to compete for the prize of $25,000 worth of consultancy and a trip to the Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt Germany. The winner will be announced at Dubai Design Week 11-16 November 2019.

For 2019, the judging panel has also grown with 6 new experts participating to select who will be this years’ Audi Innovation Award winner.

The team of 11 judges, who have the tough task of selecting the winner, are led by Hani Asfour - Dean of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). Asfour is joined by another professor from DIDI, the award-winning designer and educator, Dr. Carlos Montana. As a professional designer Montana has worked with numerous companies designing furniture, lighting, ceramic products, electric appliances, exhibitions, jewellery and graphics, among others.

Mark Stobbs, Director of Programming and Outreach of Dubai Design District is leading the team at d3 to ensure this area is seen as a destination for design and manages all aspects of communications relating to the district. In his role, Mark has developed and overseen international projects which have seen designers from the region promoted on global design stages, so he is an integral and important addition to the judging panel this year.

Cyril Zammit from the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority also joins the team for 2019. During his time at the Art Dubai Group he played a leading role in launching Dubai Design Week and Design Days Dubai, a fair entirely dedicated to collectible and limited edition design and the first of its kind in the Middle East and South Asia.

Another important new member to the distinguished panel is Christian Labonte from Audi AG. As an experienced professional at Audi for more than 20 years, Labonte is currently responsible for design communication and strategic projects. In addition to his full time commitment for Audi, he has been teaching at over seven universities in Europe, most recently with a professorship for Interaction Design. He has also been involved in the “Audi Urban Future Initiative” as curating member of the Insight team. Since 2010, the Audi Urban Future Initiative has been a platform for an international and interdisciplinary dialog about the future of mobility in cities.

Hamza Al-Omari is the fourth new member of the AIA judging team, whose work is exhibited in Dubai, Sharjah, Jordan, Vancouver and London. Al-Omari believes that good design maximizes function with form, encompassing both social and environmental integrity.

Turki Gazzaz completes the new panel of design experts from his base in Saudi Arabia. Together with his brother, Abdulrahman, they founded Bricklab, an interdisciplinary design studio based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Mainly research driven, their studio focuses on the complex networks of community, society, history, economy and politics as they influence the built environment. From sculpture to architectural interventions to furniture, their work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Salone del Mobile, Art Dubai, and Shubbak Festival.

Original judges Amer Aldour, founder of inter-act design and Senior Manager, Architecture, Expo 2020, Mitra Khoubrou from Pink Tank and Aisha Alsager, Managing Director at AGi architects in Kuwait join their new team, together with Audi Managing Director, Carsten Bender to determine the winner of the Audi Innovation Award at Dubai Design Week in November 2019.

The three shortlisted candidates will be given $2,500 to present their concepts at Dubai Design Week (11-16 November) 2019. The overall winning design will include a trophy and a trip to the Audi factory in Ingolstadt, Germany to experience the automotive design journey at the company’s headquarters. In addition, Audi Middle East will award $25,000 worth of consultancy to the winner to cover items such as IP registration, legal counselling and business development. The brand with the Four Rings will also work closely with their partners at Dubai Design Week and the judging panel to provide design advice and mentoring to develop and protect the winning idea.

Previous Winners of the Audi Innovation Award

In 2016, the first winning concept of the Audi Innovation Award was from Jordanian designer Sahar Madanat, who demonstrated the theme ‘Alternative’ by interpreting a seemingly resolved everyday object and redefined it for a new use. The innovative design is a multi-function tableware set enabling one handed users to cut food and navigate between courses while concealing the limitations imposed by their disability. An arrangement catering not only to their physical needs, but also considering the users’ emotions and sense of confidence. The design was a unanimous winner from the panel of judges for the idea that delivers both a diagnosis and a cure for a basic human need. The practical and stylish solution has relevance, not only for the disabled and those recovering from accidents or illness, but also for mothers who are feeding their children.

Jamal Alsharkas from Dubai was the winner of the 2017 award, for his project ‘EZ Move, where he interpreted the theme of ‘Autonomy’ into a self-sustaining, innovative idea that could change lives by offering the freedom to move around cities for those with physical challenges. ‘EZ Move’ addresses a solution for those with mobility challenges, the elderly and the visually impaired by offering freedom of movement, freedom of choice and the dignity of being in control of one’s own destination.

For 2018, the theme was ‘Connections’, which is defined as ‘bringing things together’, or ‘how things relate to one another’. It also reflects technology is increasing ability to provide a means through which preferences and behaviour can be identified. Elias Soueidi from Lebanon won the competition with his design ‘Ruin to Reality’ (R2R), which allows users access to virtual 3d models of ruined historical buildings and landmarks. This access enhances the relationship between people and their immediate surroundings as an interactive experience and the vision is to help people reconnect with their environment and re-establish lost connections with what used to be there.