Design Innovation – Audi Innovation Award

By Shereen Shabnam

Every year I venture into Design Days and head straight to check out the Audi stand and get up close and personal with the new innovations they highlight on their stand. The brand is also behind the ‘Audi Innovation Award’, aimed at regional up and coming designers stimulates design research and highlights innovative ideas that will change the future.

The award acts as a design and technology industry motivator in the GCC and Levant regions for design innovation. On their fifth year of partnership with Design Days Dubai, Audi Middle East launched the competition at Dubai Design Week in October for designers in the Middle East to create innovative design solutions that demonstrate ‘significant positive change’ around the theme ‘Alternative’.

The competition seeks to empower regional designers while archiving annual intellectual progress in the Middle East region. The award acts as a mark of outstanding achievement, celebrating the exchange of ideas and investing in the designers of tomorrow to empower a future family of change makers.

Speaking about the reaction of designers to the competition so far, Cyril Zammit, Fair Director of Design Days Dubai said, ‘We are impressed to see the amount of talented designers who have registered their interest in submitting their ideas for the Audi Innovation Award and with only four weeks to go, we are expecting to see some fantastic creativity in the designs submitted.”

Enrico Atanasio, Brand Director of Audi Middle East commented “The judging panel will meet in January to review all the entries and decide the winning three innovative designers, who will then be invited to make a model of their idea to be shown at Design Days Dubai in March 2017. I have no doubt that it will be a very close competition.”

Audi chose the theme ‘Alternative’ as it has a direct relation Audi’s strategy towards ‘Electrification’ and forward thinking and it celebrates the outstanding achievements Audi is making in this field for alternative energy vehicles. The ‘Alternative’ theme for this year’s Audi Innovation Award aims to stimulate outstanding integration of existing design solutions into new facets of everyday things. As in the case of the automobile, the transformation of the combustion engine into electric is the perfect example of synthesizing accessible knowledge to better suit our current environment and ecosystem.

The Audi Innovation Award invites designers to present innovative solutions that observe and improve upon any of 5 key areas of focus: lifestyle, healthcare, mobility, education and urban public spaces, such as streets, plazas, parks and their furniture.

The ideas submitted may be inspired by nature or from manmade objects and the winning design will best integrate an existing solution to be used in exciting new ways. The submission must be a developed idea that considers application, materiality, durability, target user, and lifespan. All designs must demonstrate an environmental awareness and careful approach to energy use.

Shortlisted candidates will be given $2,500 towards the presentation of their concept model that is to be exhibited at Design Days Dubai in 2017. The prizes to the winning designer of the Audi Innovation Award will include a trophy and a trip to the Audi factory in Ingolstadt, Germany to experience the automotive design journey at their company headquarters. In addition to this, Audi Middle East will award $25,000 worth of consultancy to cover items such as IP registration, legal counselling and business development.

The progressive automotive company works closely with their partners at Design Days Dubai and Dubai Design Week to provide design advice and mentoring to ensure the winning design is protected and given every opportunity for further development.

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