Imagine the chair of the future? Not sure what that would look like? Students at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) are working on it as we speak.

As part of a collaboration with international furniture brand Vitra, the students at region’s new design school are currently participating in a three-week design challenge to rethink and re-imagine the humble chair.

The collaboration titled Kursi tasks DIDI students and faculty by taking inspiration from the lengthy design process that was involved in creating Vitra’s Panton chair and marks the 50th anniversary of its iconic design.

The challenge has already seen experimentation with diverse materials, such as re-purposed and recycled material and a pushing of conceptual barriers with the use of 21st-century technology such as 3D printing and mould-able plastics.

At the end of the six weeks and in an exhibition that coincides with Dubai Design Week, the students will present a showcase of their work that will range from minimalist interpretations to pieces that revolutionise the ordinary act of sitting.

Hani Asfour, Associate Dean of DIDI said that during the challenge students are utilising their design skills as well as taking take inspiration from the past, whilst remaining firmly focused on the future. “This includes considering key design drivers, such as sustainability, user experience and innovation,” he said. “Kursi is an exciting opportunity for DIDI to showcase this thinking. What better way to do this than on the region’s biggest design stage, Dubai Design Week.”

Vitra commented that the challenges today are very similar to those of the past, although the tools might be very different. A spokesperson from the firm said: “Be it Verner Panton in the early 1960s or today’s design students, the challenges and innovation required to bring a product to market require patience, dedication and learnings. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the iconic Panton chair is an inspirational design story for generations past and future and we hope to inspire DIDI students with the Kursi design challenge.”

The Kursi exhibition will be held throughout Dubai Design Week, further information can be found here.