Woodwork: no longer a dying art

Hand-made wooden pieces by Emirati furniture designer Khalid Shafar are currently on show at The Pavilion Downtown

Khalid Shafar
Khalid Shafar
Illusion-Dine chairs
Illusion-Dine chairs
The Palm coat stand
The Palm coat stand
The Crate
The Crate
The Palm table
The Palm table
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Emirati design student Khalid Shafar hadn’t always planned on working with his hands. ‘Marketing was my first career choice. To design furniture was a passion I developed while doing my interior design degree,’ he says. But after undertaking a cabinet making and woodworking course in New Zealand, the functional designer found his calling. ‘I feel as though I have an affinity with timber, even if I do come from a place with more sand than trees,’ he explains. ‘As a medium, it has a reaction from the moment you cut it.’ Shafar describes his latest exhibition, ‘The Inspirationalists’ (which runs at The Pavilion until February 4), as a tribute to his cultural heritage. Here, he takes us through some of his work.

Illusion-Dine chairs
How long did it take you to create these?

The inspiration is an evolving concept from my first Illusion stool created as part of my pilot collection. Yet the colours and materials reflect the progression of the design. The idea was conceptualised early 2011 and the first prototype was made in May.

How did you visualise them being used?
These are dining chairs to be used for a residential dining space. They could also be used for cafés, restaurants and some commercial spaces.

What do the chairs mean to you?
Energy and vibrancy.

The Crate
Tell us about this piece.

Looking at the horizon through the Nelson Port in New Zealand, I knew that one day an object of mine would be inspired by the scene of ships coming in and out of the port.

What is it used for?
The Crate can be used as a side table, corner table or a coffee table, all by sliding one of the three top layers.

What does it mean to you?
Practicality: this object was the star at Tokyo Designers Week 2011, voted by the Japanese audience as being the best fit for a Japanese house. Houses in Japan usually have very small interior spaces.

The Palm coat stand
Tell us about this piece.

This is a very distinctive work for me, as it represents my desert nature at its best.

How long did it take you to create it?

The image of the palm tree with things hanging on its trunk is as old as my childhood days, but the inspiration came late 2010 or early 2011, and the prototyping process started in April 2011.

What is it used for?
It’s a functional coat stand with optional heights and placements for the hangers. You may place a hanger on any side or at any height where you wish to hang an item.

The Palm table
Tell us about this piece.
I dedicate this object to Aisha Eid, a volunteer craftswoman at Dubai Heritage Village. She is my intelligent source to learn more about the history of palm-leaf weaving.

How long did it take you to create it?
This design came as an evolution after the creation of The Palm coat stand, and the use of such craft came after a couple of visits to the Heritage Village in Dubai. All of this took place in early 2011.

What is it used for?
It can serve as a central coffee table for any modern seating area, and as a decorative element in any space.

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