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Tashkeel is pleased to announce the latest cohort of designers selected for its Tanween design programme 2022: Ebrahim Assur, Huda Al Aithan, Reema Al Mheiri, Shaza Khalil and design duo Sara Abu Farha and Khaled Shalkha. The Tanween 2022 cohort make the largest Tanween cohort ever.

For the 2022 Tanween programme, the selected six UAE-based designers will explore the theme of sustainability and how design can help address this fundamental challenge. The selected designers are set to collaborate with engineers and scientists over the next eleven months as they research, experiment and ultimately deliver an innovative, functional design outcome with sustainability as a defining element. Their materials of interest include the use of date seeds and date palm fronds, Kombucha fabric and wood to find more sustainable design practices that have commercial relevance and appeal.


Ebrahim Assur:
Ebrahim seeks to return to wood and explore the properties and creative potential of this traditional material within the parameters of sustainable design practice.

Huda Al Aithan: Huda aims to explore the potential of khoos (date palm fronds) not only in sustainable contemporary product design practice but also as a means of skills preservation and economic development for traditional craftswomen, thereby expanding the material’s commercial potential, its meaningful use and integration into contemporary design.

Reema Al Mheiri: Reema intends to explore the integration of biological ecosystems with human-centric spaces. Intrigued by bio-materiality, she aims to challenge her design thinking and problem-solving skills to facilitate the production of feasible, nature-centric designs and extend sustainable solutions to inherent cultural practices. It is her hope to refine this into a functional piece that both extends the frontiers of sustainability-conscious design while attaining commercial-grade quality.

Shaza Khalil: Shaza will continue her research into Kombucha fabric and hopes to collaborate with a scientific practitioner to investigate the fabrication process. Rooting the practice in the UAE, she intends to enhance its qualities so that issues around durability, flexibility and tensile strength can be refined in order for it to be suitable for various applications within the commercial furniture market.

Sara Abu Farha and Khaled Shalkha: Sara Abu Farha and Khaled Shalkha intend to explore the design potential and capability of the date seed. The UAE produces around 750,000 tonnes of dates annually, with date seeds as a byproduct. Locally and globally, dates and date seeds are used as a raw fruit, sweetener, coffee powder, medicinal paste and in cosmetics. But what of its design capabilities? The duo hope to identify a sustainable and low-cost industrial process to convert raw date seed into a design material that retains its mechanical properties, and create an aesthetically appealing and culturally relevant functional product.


Photography by: Reframe Photography Services

The Tanween design programme was initiated in 2013 by Tashkeel and the late Roanne Dods, co-producer of Small is Beautiful. Alumni include Alya Al Eghfeli (UAE), Amer Aldour (UAE), Abdalla AlMulla (UAE), Eman Shafiq (Pakistan), Hala Al Ani (Iraq), Hamza Omari (Jordan), Hatem Hatem (Iraq), Ibbini Studio (UK/Jordan), Khawla Mohammed Al Balooshi (UAE), Lana El Samman (Lebanon/Canada), Latifa Saeed (UAE), Lina Ghalib (Egypt), Lujain Abulfaraj (KSA), Lujaine Rezk (Egypt), Myrtille Ronteix (France), Nada Abu Shaqra (Palestine), Neda Salmanpour (Iran), Nuhayr Zein (Egypt), Rand Abdul Jabbar (Iraq), Renad Hussein (Jordan), Saher Oliver Samman (UK), Salem Al Mansoori (UAE), Studio MUJU (UK/Egypt), Talin Hazbar (Syria), Tasneem Tinawi (Syria), Yara Habib (Lebanon/Canada), Zeinab Al Hashemi (UAE), Zuleika Penniman (USA/Lebanon).


Kevin S. Badni is the Head of the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises, Zayed University. Previously, he was the Head of Art and Design at the American University of Sharjah. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Product Design from Loughborough University and his Master’s in Multimedia Design from De Montfort University in the UK. Before becoming an academic, Badni spent ten years as a professional designer working in the design industry, including managing the UK’s first commercial Virtual Reality centre. His main research area of interest is the personal perceptions of vision; he has had his art exhibited in galleries in the UK, Australia, America, Colombia, Italy and the UAE.

Helen Voce is a supporter of creative people and creative industries. As an independent project manager, event and programme producer in the creative industries she works locally, nationally, internationally and voluntarily from her base in Scotland. She designs, facilitates and produces opportunities, initiatives and spaces in which creative practitioners, microbusinesses and projects can realise their full artistic and business potential. Her professional specialism and personal interest is contemporary craft and design. Amongst other things, Voce is Regions Coordinator at Make Works, Co-Producer of Applied Arts Scotland’s Digital Craft Toolkit for the British Council {Thailand} and a Board Member of Fife Contemporary. Previous roles include business development programme / workshop facilitator and mentor at Emergents, Open Project Fund Assessor at Creative Scotland, Mentor on the British Crafts Council’s Hothouse development programme for emerging makers and Crafts Programme Producer at Cove Park, Scotland’s international artists’ residency centre. A postgraduate of the Royal College of Art / Victoria & Albert Museum’s MA in the History of Design and Material Cultural, 1650 to the present, Voce has previously worked for Cultural Enterprise Office, the British Crafts Council and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

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