By Malvika Garia
An eye for creativity and flair for innovation go a long way, and American University of Sharjah student Hinjal Kumar learned just that when she won Urban Commissions 2016, the annual design competition of Dubai Design District (d3) and Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Initiated under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Urban Commissions aims to engage with the creative community, whether students or professionals, in the UAE and promote its diverse industry. For its most recent edition, participants were asked to design a multipurpose public shelter that would serve as a meeting point for d3 while fulfilling functional, social and community roles in Dubai’s most creative area.
No stranger to public acclaim and recognition, Kumar has previously received the Sheikha Manal’s Young Artist Award in the Fine Arts category and in this recent Urban Commissions 2016 competition, she was the only student to be shortlisted among 10 other creative geniuses in the UAE. The fifth-year architecture student from the College of Architecture, Art and Design won the competition with her project, Bike d3, a bike parking station and shelter design that aims to promote a healthy lifestyle as well as provide a chic meeting place to rendezvous with friends.
“Bike d3 is designed with a spiral twist to the slatted bicycle storage system that offers an alternative mode of commuting, while providing shade and an intimate space for its visitors,” Kumar noted. She further explained the idea behind the intricate design as a “concept that has evolved as a result of mapping and indexing public life in Dubai along with doing a cross-comparison with urban metropolises like Paris, New York, Chicago and Copenhagen and associating the usage of bicycles across these cities.”
Although Kumar’s creative abilities served her well, she said she had her fair share of challenges to overcome, such as dealing with contractors and learning the art of effective communication to achieve accuracy in the design work. Furthermore, as the process developed from research, concept, detail design, construction to exhibition, it was also necessary for her to work within the competition budget limitation of AED 50,000. However, it was all worth it in the end, as Kumar said that she was able to take away valuable lessons of production, time and budget from this process, something which will be helpful in her future career prospects. Kumar also encouraged her peers to not wait for projects to come but “to take as many outside opportunities as possible, as it builds experience like being in school never will.”
Malvika Garia is a student at American University of Sharjah.
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