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Design Avant-Gardes: GUC’s Applied Arts Pre-Masters Exhibition

applied arts guc Pre-Masters Exhibition
Design Avant-Gardes: GUC’s Applied Arts Pre-Masters Exhibition
written by
Salsabil Yasser

Having been to the latest GUC applied arts pre-masters exhibition, we can safely say it rightfully earned a host of complimentary descriptions from all visitors—including us, of course. Whether it was fellow designers carefully analysing the designs or non-designers orienting themselves to the pieces and connecting with them, the exhibitions designers made sure it would be nothing short of imagination-stretching, heart-touching, and wonder-evoking. Talking the exhibition up this much, we ought to give you a quick recap to at least attempt to capture its essence!

About the Exhibition:

The exhibition came to life thanks to the unwavering dedication of the applied arts department in the GUC, along with the pre-masters professors and students. For two semesters, these soon-to-graduate students, whether working individually, in pairs, or in groups, poured their hearts and souls into their visions and ideas, guided by their passionate professors. The result was a one-week exhibition—from May 26th to June 2nd—showcasing the products of some truly exceptional, awe-inspiring minds.

With over 40 projects, the exhibition immersed all visitors in a rich tapestry of themes, contexts, and concepts. From design and font designs to branding projects and product designs, the exhibition had something for everyone to connect with, leaving a lasting impression and the lingering thought of “Wow, I wish I could create something like this; is it too late to start now?”

Mar-iya Project:

Take Mar-iya as one memorable example. One of the highlights of the exhibition, Mar-iya is a group editorial design project led by Dr Dima AlTannir and brought together by 13 graphic design students, including Nourhan Ghabour, Nada Younan, Gamila Amer, ZahiniFez, Miriam Essam, and Menna Harb among others. Mar-iya houses an archive of Arab women in design, where you can peruse over 50 booklets, each paying homage to one Arab woman designer, whether current or ones weve sadly already lost, immortalising their contributions. Besides the booklets, the setup of the project there included 3-layered posters, making them more akin to puzzles, with each layer involving one design by either the students or the women designers they have chosen. Through Mar-iya, the past of Arab women designers is honoured whilst ensuring their place in the future.

Passerby Project:

Passerby was another graphic design project crafted by Kenzy Tourky and supervised by Dr Amparo Baquerizas. An amalgamation of diverse real stories, Passerby is a Leporello book (award-worthy one, might we add) taking visitors through the profound looking glasses of Tourky, where they got to read her interviews with and admire her sketches of passersbyshe personally met on the train.

Tourky explains that this project is unlike any other project she has tackled before; her aim was to create something personal, intimate, and human. The result is a project that takes the sonder trope and amplifies it, reaching parts of our emotions and souls that are inaccessible by other means of communication.


Created by Habiba AlShamy and spearheaded by Dr Silvia Burger, AUDIOAURA interweaves sound, water, and reflections to produce visual harmonies with relaxing sounds to create different moving projections on the ceiling, as AlShamy herself explains.

She explains that these moving projections serve as an alternative to the self-sabotaging scrolling you resort to until the wee hours of the night. However, now, AUDIOAURA does everyone a favour, offering a science-backed and design-led perfect nights sleep! AUDIOAURA, within the product design section, debuted at the GUC exhibition.

RE-PEEL Project:

Another avant-garde project in the exhibition was RE-PEEL. This design project was brought to life by Nour Islam and Shahd Ahmed and supervised by Dr Daniela Amandolese. By harnessing orange peel wastes, RE-PEEL creates eco-friendly tote shopping bags. With spiralling environmental concerns taking over the world, seeking (and creating, in this case) more environmentally conscious alternatives to different products is always a beacon of hope and motivation.

What We Thought of the GUC Exhibition:

Undoubtedly, the GUC exhibition was a testament to the students exceptional skills and education. Each piece and project showcased the breadth of their creativity and depth of understanding, captivating the visitors and leaving the exhibition, especially during the opening and closing nights, brimming with a prevailing sense of deep respect and admiration. Even the most jaded of visitors couldnt help but be drawn into the innovative and impactful world of the GUC applied arts pre-masters exhibition.