Gulf Craft, one of the world’s leading boat and yacht manufacturers, and the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), which offers the region’s first multidisciplinary bachelor’s degree in design, have successfully concluded their collaboration for the second consecutive semester. This semester focused on exploring new possibilities in design using sustainable materials and saw the participation of five talented second-year students, tying real-world experience into the students’ education.
Throughout the semester, Gulf Craft and DIDI provided an exceptional platform for these students to explore the exciting realm of new materials and their applications in yacht design. The collaboration aimed to foster innovation, sustainability, and creative thinking among the next generation of designers, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the luxury marine industry, which aligns with Gulf Craft’s #LegacyInMotion campaign, announced earlier this year at Dubai International Boat Show.
Under the guidance of experienced professionals, the five participating students immersed themselves in the study of sustainable materials and their potential impact on yacht design. Through extensive research, hands-on experimentation, and collaborative discussions, they gained valuable insights into the practical implementation of sustainable materials in the manufacturing processes. The programme complements the students’ curriculum at DIDI, which promotes sustainable, human-centric, and future-ready design.
The students' remarkable designs and prototypes showcased their ability to combine functionality and sustainability and emphasised practical applications of DIDI’s innovative approach to design thinking. Their innovative concepts addressed key challenges in the industry, such as reducing environmental footprint and utilising eco-friendly materials without compromising on luxury and performance.
At the conclusion of the semester, the students presented their projects to Gulf Craft’s senior management, including Abeer AlShaali, Deputy Managing Director and Hussein Alshaali, Concept Design Department Head, who were impressed with the creativity and quality of their work. The final projects showcased new and innovative ways to incorporate sustainable materials into the yacht building process, demonstrating the potential of sustainable design to transform the industry.
Abeer AlShaali, Deputy Managing Director, Gulf Craft said: “We are thrilled with the outcomes of this semester's collaboration with DIDI. The students' passion, creativity, and commitment to sustainable design have been truly inspiring. Gulf Craft believes in nurturing young talent and embracing sustainable practices, and this partnership has provided an ideal platform for both.
“At Gulf Craft, we are committed to driving innovation in the marine industry, and we know that working with the talented designers of the future is essential to achieving that goal. This semester's students have shown that sustainable design is not only possible but can be beautiful and practical as well. We look forward to seeing these designs come to life in the future.”
Hussein Alshaali, Concept Design Department Head, Gulf Craft said: “I am truly inspired by the remarkable work accomplished by the students. Their innovative ideas and dedication reflect the immense potential of local talent in shaping the future of the yacht industry. By collaborating with these bright minds, we not only foster creativity and expertise but also drive forward the boundaries of yacht design and engineering.”
Hani Asfour, Dean of DIDI, said: “Cross-sector partnerships like DIDI’s with Gulf Craft are vital for the world to answer the call for sustainability impactfully. By bridging business and academia, we’re able to systematically embed the values of future-focused and human-centric design into the product development process, while preserving the company’s brand, KPIs and overarching objectives. For our students, it turns theory into practice and gives them a chance to work with and learn from industry experts. It’s rewarding to see how DIDI’s rich design curriculum can be applied in real-world environments and enable innovation for collective growth."
Professor Elmar Schüller, Strategic Design Management, DIDI said: “We are thrilled to have had another successful collaboration with Gulf Craft this semester. At DIDI, we are always looking for ways to provide our students with unique opportunities that will help them grow and develop as designers, and our collaboration with Gulf Craft is a prime example of this. It allows our students to work with industry leaders and gain practical, hands-on experience that they will be able to apply in their future careers and as they build a resilient, sustainable world.”
Gulf Craft, established in 1982 in the UAE, is one of the world’s only fully integrated shipyards, delivering every aspect of boat and yacht building from R&D, design, and production in-house; as such it is internationally recognised as an industry leader in the use of innovative technology. Through its expertise, Gulf Craft aims to introduce the next generation of innovators to the marine industry, encouraging them to consider an exciting career in the region’s rapidly expanding yachting and boat building sector.
With a world-class curriculum designed in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Parsons School of Design, DIDI offers the first multidisciplinary design programme of its kind in the region. The university’s Bachelor of Design (BDes) course incorporates four disciplines: Product Design, Multimedia Design, Fashion Design, and Strategic Design Management.
This cross-concentration path allows students to seamlessly blur the boundaries between traditional fields of design, encouraging them to solve complex problems creatively and innovate with people and the planet at the core.