Khalid Shafar inspired by Dubai to create design objects

Emirati designer Khalid Shafar was inspired by childhood memories of UAE and New Zealand to create design objects, currently on exhibition at The Pavilion, Downtown Dubai.

Shafar defines what he creates as “contemporary and quirky interior design objects with stories to tell.” The debut exhibition in Gallery 1 at The Pavilion will be on display till March 8, 2012.

“The inspirations for some [of the objects] came from my childhood memories, where for others came from my living between UAE and New Zealand. The collection is divided into two design directions: Cultural & Sporty/Edgy,” said Shafar.

According to him, one of the well received lines is The Palm, including a coat stand, coffee tables and stools, the latter of which are called Little Palm. All were inspired by the Palm tree in the shape and materials.

“I used woven palm leaves to decorate part of their surfaces. Exposing my cultural elements in the craft or a material was an important aspect in this collection. In this line the inspiration and materials were strongly linked to my culture and heritage,” said Shafar.

He does not see using his culture as inspiration being a permanent aspect in all his future releases, but added: “I strongly believe it’s an important aspect for me to expose my culture in my lines and future collections somehow in many creative ways. Some of these are dying crafts that I believe with my designs I hope to prevent.”

He pointed out as an example his ‘T’ Chandelier inspired from the simple tools used to make the Talli embroidery in the UAE.

The 2012 collection also included some extensions of earlier launched lines like Illusion, mainly inspired by the vibes and buzz of a city life, and in particular, living in the city of Dubai. “It’s an expressive design that expresses the motions and speed in a design form,” he added.

Another extension of a line was the Arabi table lamp that was inspired by the old lantern called ‘Fanar’. This evolved design came after the launch of the Arabi space divider in March 2011 at the Tasmeem design conference in Doha, Qatar. This line was designed and made by experimenting with the Black Egaal worn by Arab men as a material of making.

“A good description of my 2012 objects is to say they are a fusion of east and west. They are the outcome of a cultural exchange between my living in UAE and New Zealand. Each place has its own light, space, cultural history, and mood.

“The influence can be in the tale, material, or the design of the object. I believe my lifestyle, the surrounding, the city I grew up in, and my life memories are always a rich source of inspirations. Yet a designer is always sensitive to the beauty of things around him and for me I find inspiration in many things around being architecture, crafts, art, and people.”

All objects on show are prototypes.  Shafar said design collectors are more than welcome to step forward and invest in or collect his prototypes, although he agreed not all objects will have the same level of success. “Already some of these objects are in production now as per some private and commercial orders,” he added

“I always believe that we can excel in what we do best. For me, designing furniture and objects is the best I can do and it was the best by which I could translate and save my emotions in a long lasting form,” added Shafar.

Shafar has a busy year coming up. He is currently serving as a juror, carrying out the final selection for the design/art objects that will go on show and sale at the DXB Store during Art Dubai in March, with shortlists to be announced by Feb 6.

“In addition to a couple of proposals I’m currently preparing for some commercial clients, I will be exhibiting a new lighting object between March 18-21 during Design Days Dubai as part of Carwan Gallery exhibition called ‘Design and New perspectives in Middle Eastern Crafts’.

“I’ve been invited to exhibit and lecture at Outdoor Lifestyle Hangzhou exhibition in China this March 21- 24,” he said.

He is already working on his 2013 collection and is in the process of developing his own signature fabric pattern that might see the light of day along with his 2013 releases.

“With all this in my plate, I will definitely be in Milan this April between 17-22 to attend the Milan Furniture Fair. What else till the end of year? I don’t know yet, but I am very confident it will be a good year,” he added.

Images courtesy of The Pavilion Downtown and the designer

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