Dubai: As registrations to enter the Danube Student Interior Design Awards drew to a close last month, organisers have announced that 280 students have entered the competition from across the GCC.
Launched by building materials company Danube in partnership with the Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID), the competition has Dh85,000 in prize money up for grabs. Final entries are due on May 8 and winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the end of May.
The competition is divided into two categories. The first is the design of a large scale reception lounge for a small, private museum housing a collection of Middle Eastern contemporary art and the second category involves designing a small-scale display case for artwork.
Speaking to Gulf News, Danube chairman and founder Rizwan Sajan explained that the career opportunities for interior design were quite diverse and under-appreciated by the general public and students.
"The reason we created this event is because we deal with a lot of interior products. We want people who are studying interiors to get an exposure of our projects as they will be using these products in the future."
Sajan said Danube also employed interior designers who offer their expertise to customers and oversee showrooms. "I'm employing a lot of interior designers — we have two per showroom — and customers can get free advice." There are 20 interior designers working at the company. He explained that customers liked to get direction when they were buying several items like wallpaper, curtains and furniture for their homes.
"The scope of interior design is much bigger in this [GCC] market if you compare it to other fields like architecture," said Sajan.
Lack of awareness
Unfortunately, there is still not much awareness of interior design, which is why the competition will create exposure, said Sajan.
The competition will also allow students to have contact with other interior design companies that are affiliated with Danube. "We are planning to invite more than 1,000 people from our database of interior design companies so that the students can show their work to important people in the industry from carpentry companies to upholstery."
Like their architecture counterparts, Sajan said, interior designers were also well-paid as a large chunk of the budget for a newly built home goes toward interior design.