Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation
Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) offers a unique design education, in the form of a four-year Bachelor of Design Degree (BDes). The first of its kind in the region, DIDI’s curriculum has been crafted in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Parsons School of Design, and offers a unique program, firmly embedded in design-thinking and creative problem-solving. Opening its doors in Fall 2018, DIDI is a private, not-for-profit Institute of Design.
Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation believes that the future of design education is experimental, transformative, disruptive and cross-disciplinary. We intend to become the school of choice for the next generation of change-makers who will conceive and create sustainable design solutions for today’s problems for the benefit of tomorrow’s society.
DIDI prepares students to effectively respond to a rapidly changing world with transferable skills that are cross-disciplinary and problem solving by design. We will equip the next generation of change makers to use design as a tool to create positive change. Our students will learn visual literacy and technological capabilities to craft, form and create a sustainable future. DIDI will support emerging design talent across the region through an open source and collaborative approach that values cooperation and partnership. We are invested in integrated curricular innovation and technological experimentation.
Bachelor Of Design
The ground-breaking (BDes) program offers students a unique opportunity to participate in cross disciplinary coursework across all four years of the degree. Based on the studio concept of learning by doing, the coursework focuses on visual literacy and technological fluency. Students are given the freedom to design their own degree by choosing their cross disciplinary program, by combining a choice of two concentrations from a total of four: Product Design, Strategic Design Management, Multimedia Design and Fashion Design. Students work across two disciplines the entirety of their educational journey, culminating with their final thesis.
The degree program is based on visualization, creative problem solving, design-thinking, and fabrication with sustainability and cross disciplinary work embedded throughout. Project based methodology through core studio classes are firmly grounded in design and problem solving, and the concept that we can design a better future – design as a means of change, not just to create the next aesthetically pleasing object. Students learn how to ideate, iterate and conceive, to analyze, represent and communicate, as well as to form, craft and create empathic and sustainable solutions to today’s problems.
The first-year design foundation experience is based on visualization, problem solving, design-thinking, fabrication, and sustainable design concepts. Coursework is designed to be transformative and disruptive, and offers students an introduction to skill building from traditional and crafted to high tech and cutting edge. Students are encouraged to experiment, as a means of discovering their own unique creative voice, aesthetic and philosophical approach to design.
Second and third year students work across their two chosen disciplines through studio, workshop and lecture based coursework. They continue to develop their skill sets with a deep dive into innovative and technological solutions. Students gain a cultural and philosophical understanding of the role of design in society through conceptual and practice based study. Students also gain real-world experience through a design internship in the summer of year three. General Education courses augment major area courses, and are intended to complement student’s creative studies through intellectual and theoretical development.
The final year at DIDI is dominated by thesis prep and thesis, where students experience modular coursework designed to support individual development of their thesis proposal. Intellectual enquiry from contextual, technical, material and process based perspectives is developed alongside a systems based approach to design, and the communication of a personal identity.
For the final thesis, students conceptualize, contextualize and realize their individual routes of enquiry. Demonstrating their capacity for rigorous, creative investigation and conceptual development, students have the option of going in a theoretical or systems based route or an applied one. The complete DIDI Bachelor of Design curriculum can be explored at www.didi.ac.ae.
Sass Brown | Founding Dean
Sass Brown is the Founding Dean of Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). Prior to joining DIDI, Brown was the Interim Dean for the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) School of Art and Design in New York, and was Acting Associate Dean, and the Resident Director of FIT’s campus in Florence, Italy. As a fashion designer with a background in sustainable design, Brown has been an advisor for Sustainia100, the annual Danish sustainable solutions guide that honors developments in sustainability across a multitude of industries. She was also an Associate Design Researcher on The Textile Toolbox, the web platform for the MISTRA Future Fashion consortium that advises on the integration of sustainability into mainstream fashion.
As a researcher, writer and educator, Brown’s area of expertise is ethical fashion in all its forms; from slow design and heritage craft skills to recycling, reuse and alternative business models. She has published papers and spoken around the world on the topic of sustainable fashion and served as a sustainable design advisor to women’s cooperatives, educational institutions, governmental agencies, NGO’s and small and medium sized enterprises around the world. She has also authored two books on sustainable fashion: Eco Fashion and Refashioned. Brown holds a Master’s in Global Fashion Management from FIT, a Bachelor in Fashion Design from Ravensbourne College of Art and Design, UK, and is a PhD candidate at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
Hani Asfour | Associate Dean
Hani Asfour is the Associate Dean of Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). Prior to joining DIDI, the MIT and Harvard-trained architect was an Adjunct Faculty member at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, teaching in the departments of Architecture and Foundation Studies. Asfour’s academic experience also includes teaching positions at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Northeastern University, American University of Beirut and American University of Sharjah.
Asfour was the Founding President of the Beirut Creative Cluster, and is an advisor to Beirut Design Week. A frequent public speaker, he has previously presented Design Matters at TedX Beirut, and has served as keynote speaker and mentor for data4chan.ge, whereby visual storytellers come together with human rights organisations that have fascinating original datasets and powerful stories to tell.
He is a Founding Partner of Polypod, an award-winning multidisciplinary collaborative design studio in Beirut, Lebanon, that offers integrated design services in strategy, architecture, interior design, branding, web design and development, graphics, and information design for local and international clients. As a practicing designer with over 20 years of experience, Asfour combines a mix of design expertise with entrepreneurship skills and academic depth, allowing him to combine practical and theoretical approaches in his teaching methods at DIDI. Asfour holds a Master of Architecture with Distinction from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Science in Art and Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Located in the vibrant creative community of the Dubai Design District, DIDI is uniquely positioned to collaborate across the creative industries, from the emerging design space, through to some of the most renowned brands in the world. With a mission to support the growth of the creative industries, DIDI is an open source, community-based Institution committed to integrating design and design-thinking across the region.
The DIDI campus, designed by award-winning architects Foster + Partners, has been conceptualized to encourage creative collaboration, with giant open-plan mega studios on each of the five floors. With the capacity to accommodate 500 students, each student has their own dedicated desk space in which to create. There are numerous breakout spaces for collaboration and teamwork, as well as pin-up space for critiques, jury’s and presentations. The 86,000 square foot campus was designed to maximize daylight with flexible and connected working spaces. The central library incorporates workstations, co-working space and comfortable lounge seating. The FabLab is located alongside the campus, and built to the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms specifications.
No other institution offers such an immersive design education, where students are surrounded by a diverse range of design professionals and innovators. The location in the heart of the creative community provides access to internship and networking opportunities that will give students the best possible start to their career.
Life in Dubai
Students living in Dubai will have an enviable access to an incredible calendar of design events that include Dubai Design Week, Dubai Design Days Fashion Forward, and Abwab. The futuristic city of Dubai boasts golden beaches, the deserts, and a growing arts and street culture scene, set against the breath-taking Dubai skyline. Futuristic, multicultural and safe, Dubai is a city of innovation that welcomes tomorrow’s change makers.