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Exclusive interview: Khalid Shafar

Exclusive interview: Khalid Shafar

Emirati design talent

Text: Holly Williams


Image: Buro 24/7 Middle East

Emirati design talent Khalid Shafar holds an impressive academic resume, a business graduate from the American University of Dubai, Shafar also studied Fine Arts in Interior Design followed by Furniture & Objects Design at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, UK and the Centre for Fine Woodworking in Nelson, New Zealand.

For the young Emirati, every object "tells a tale", which explains why he branded his unique pieces with the name 'Telltale Designs', which have been featured in many international publications including Wallpaper*, GQ Japan, L’Officiel International, Surface China, Lifestyle Journal Hong Kong, ELLE Décor Japan, ELLE Décor India, ELITE Russia, Modern Weekly China, The New Zealand Herald, Abitare, Designboom and Design Milk to name a few.

As the designer displays his latest range at Downtown Design this weekend, Buro 24/7 ME Editor-in-Chief Holly Williams sits down with the creative talent to find out more...

Khalid Shafar

Buro 24/7 | How did you get involved with Downtown Design?

Khalid Shafar | I was approached by Institut Francais in UAE earlier this year to join the designers of the international travelling exhibition Nouvelle Vague Volume 2 for its Dubai edition, with a new mini collection to reflect the objective of showcasing the cultural exchange between France and UAE.

Buro 24/7 | Why does Dubai need a design fair?

Khalid Shafar | Like other big cities aiming to position themselves as a design hub, Dubai needs to have different platforms for design where opportunities between international and local players in the field can be exchanged. Such design fairs also help to promote local talents and export local design to the international scene.

Buro 24/7 | What is your new collection called?

Khalid Shafar | My new collection in Downtown Design is part of my 2014 collection which was launched last Saturday Oct 26th at an exhibition called ‘DECO HAUS’.

Buro 24/7 | What is your new collection inspired by?

Khalid Shafar | It’s a reflection of a deep study for two universal design movements: Art Deco & BAUHAUS. Despite the fact that both movements happened almost during the same period, each has different character. In my collection I wanted to reflect these differences and contrast between both movements through the shapes and materials use in the base and top of each piece. I have also used my local heritage to interpret those movements through my use of Camel leather in all parts and the shape of Octagon – which for me represents a key pattern in our Arabic and Islamic design. 

Buro 24/7 | How long does each piece take to create, from idea to final product?

Khalid Shafar | It depends how deep the study or research is and the time required to conduct such research. It takes a concept few months sometimes to transform to a product and from there more products within the same line are born.

Buro 24/7 | What provides you with the most satisfaction from your work?

Khalid Shafar | When people can see the unique side of my creations and appreciate my interpretation to my design concepts - it’s very rewarding to see people respecting and appreciating objects designed and made locally and that’s just making me keep moving forward.

Buro 24/7 | Who's work do you recommend we check out?

Khalid Shafar | From the International scene, without a doubt my design idols are the Campana Brothers and from the region, I do recommend you to check out my friend and industry peer Moroccan product designer Younes Duret.

Buro 24/7 | What do you wish you had created?

Khalid Shafar | An object for children, but it’s not too late yet.

Buro 24/7 | What advice would you give to budding designers?

Khalid Shafar | Patience and dedication to design. Never be fully satisfied with your work because this will ensure you are always aiming for perfection and allow you to improve and progress.

Khalid Shafar

Khalid Shafar

Khalid Shafar

Khalid Shafar

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