In a continuous celebration of the strong relationship between AUD and Herman Miller (HM), Mr. Brian Walker, Herman Miller’s President and CEO, visited AUD today.
Mr. Walker was visiting the UAE for the first time to inaugurate the recently designed HM Regional Design Center. He visited AUD campus to strengthen the ties with the university and address faculty members, students, and the AUD community in a special set-up at the Glass House with a display of the HM heritage line.
Mr. Walker was welcomed by AUD’s Provost Dr. Jihad Nader, the School of Architecture, Art and Design Dean, Dr. Nabyl Chenaf, the Chair of the Interior Design Department, Prof. Albert Fakhoury, and the Director of External Relations, Mrs. Peggy Awad. He was accompanied by Mr. Andy Lock, President of Herman Miller International, Mr. Mike Pearce, Vice President of EMEA, Mr. Rob Keddie, Regional Director of MEA, Mr. Mark Catchlove, Director of Insights - HM International, Mr. Andrew Duncomb, Director of Marketing - HM International, Mr. Alan McDonald, Regional Sales Manager – MEA, and Ms. Lara Neilson, Dealer Market Manager - Southern Africa.
Dr. Nader gave the opening speech by emphasizing the success of the relationship with HM, reminding the audience of the importance of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) AUD signed with HM, and the vast range of mutual benefits coming out of it including but not limited to the vast range of internships and job opportunities HM has offered AUD alumni. The closing note was addressed by Dr. Chenaf who also presented Mr. Walker with a token of appreciation and continuous collaboration.
Mr. Walker’s talk addressed various points including the importance in product design and place making, of understanding what people need to do, Herman Miller’s heritage in human-centered design, an outline of the Living Office’s key elements, changing workplace trends, and the role of designers in today’s world - an important considerations for success. He shared with the audience HM’s mission to ‘inspire designs to help people do great things’, and how every HM design has a story behind it and that they pursue solving problems and not only creating objects. He finally answered student’s questions, during a Q&A session, about his daily motivation, the impact of culture on their executive decisions, and HM’s current challenges.
The MoU, signed on the 15th of April, 2013, consisted of furnishing and equipping the porta cabin behind the School known as the ‘HM Furniture Lab’, providing HM’s partial sponsorship in co-ordination with Connection Seating and H2O Concepts for furnishing AUD’s Faculty Lounge, network support with Architects for conferences and workshops, as well as the establishment of training programs and transfer of knowledge mechanisms for faculty and trainers through organized seminars and training sessions among others.
The Interior Design Program at the American University in Dubai aims at producing a highly qualified career-oriented graduates who are able to integrate art, design, technology and business practice, with the skills and knowledge to produce highly functional and aesthetically appealing interior environments. In addition, the program enforces ethical values in regards to the profession and ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as environmental considerations.