-The Esquire 100 - Khalid Shafar
“I am an old school designer,” says Shafar when asked about his working process.
“If you tell me to design using computer-based design software, I couldn’t do that. I’d rather sketch things out, or experiment in the workshop where I can produce things with my team to see how we can develop ideas.” It’s a hands-on process that allows the Dubai-born furniture designer to focus of the storytelling element of his work. “Identity is a vital part of my work, in any format,” he explains.
Having exhibited his work across the UAE, Italy and the UK, Shafar has developed into one of the leading home-grown product designers in the UAE. After ditching a promising marketing career, he jumped into the deep-end of design, by enrolling at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design in London, before opening his own studio in Dubai in 2012.
Known for his simple yet avant-garde designs, the success of his handmade pieces have led him to collaborate with notable international names including Brazilian duo the Campana Brothers on an installation for Abu Dhabi Art; the historical French cabinetmaker Moissonnier; carpet industry leader Tai Ping, and with the design brand Kartell on special limited-edition releases.
Despite a growing profile, the element of regional identity still plays a central part in his brand, taking inspiration from the local palm weaving process, and using materials including camel leather from tanneries based in the UAE.