Success in the palm of their hands



Students at the workshop

Design students at Heriot-Watt’s Dubai Campus have swept the board at a design competition which aims to use a traditional building material in the construction of furniture, taking all five places in the finals.

To have all finalists from our University is a great moment for our interior design course.

Bruce Paget

The competition, run by Tasmena, an international not-for-profit organisation engaged in and empowering others to develop place-specific design solutions for sustainable urban living, and ISG, an international construction services company, involved teams joining a three day workshop and challenged to submit a design for an exterior furniture piece using arish (palm fronds) as the primary build material. Traditional buildings made from the leaves of date palms have provided shelter from the extreme climate of the Arabian peninsula for generations. Just as bamboo is central to many forms of Asian vernacular constructions, so is palm leaf in the United Arab Emirates and surrounding countries.

Success for interior design teams

All five finalist teams chosen were two and three person teams from Heriot-Watt Dubai’s second year Interior Design course.

Bruce Paget, Director of Studies Interior Design at Heriot-Watt University’s Dubai Campus, said, “The Student Design Challenge provides young designers with the opportunity to connect and learn through collaborative, interdisciplinary activity, as well as having the chance to add  to their personal portfolio and showcase their work to a wide public audience.

“To have all finalists from our University is a great moment for our interior design course and we have been extremely impressed with the level of dedication and creativity that has been delivered.”