Award winning Emirati Product Designer, Khalid Shafar has collaborated with Italian engraving and mirror works atelier Arte Veneziana, to launch his latest interior collection, entitled ‘Forma’ during Dubai Design Week.
A tribute to Emirati culture, Forma is anchored in the tradition of wearing Agaals, the woven rope bands used to secure head covers worn by Emirati men. By deconstructing the Agaals to where they are stripped of their original fashionable function and serve purely as a building material for the collection, Khalid Shafar explores the inter-play between ancient Emirati customs and Italian décor, while engaging in a cultural dialogue that pays tribute to local traditions, decorative art and national identities. The use of Agaals across interiors is unique to Khalid Shafar and a signature material of the Khalid Shafar brand.
Showcasing 14 pieces, Froma offers interior products spanning from mirrors and screens to chandeliers, floor lamps, table lamps, and wall lamps. All pieces have been created using Agaals juxtaposed with glass, mirrored surfaces or natural stone and have been custom engraved by Arte Veneziana, the leading Italian engraver and mirror works atelier of over 40 years, that specializes in handmade techniques, engraving and decorative elements on mirrored surfaces, glass and natural elements.
The collection is a homage to Emirati culture, contrasted with Venetian craftsmanship, that is not only visually stunning, but also offers a bold social statement on respect for different cultures and the fusion of creative techniques, leading to innovative forms of artistic expression.
“The Agaal is a part of our heritage and a universal symbol of Emirati culture – for me it was very important to ensure that this collection transcended being merely decorative objects, and instead became a functional collection and objects of cultural dialogue.
The Froma collection represents the merging of the artistic heritage of two different cultures and if you look closely, you will notice that there are layers of parallels between my inspiration from Emirati heritage and centuries old Venetian traditions of craftsmanship; for example the circular patters created by the placement of the Agaals is reminiscent of traditional Rondels, the colored round discs of glass that are held together by grooved panels of lead, which are typical of traditional Venetian architecture and still prevalent across the windows of buildings across Italy, to this day,” said Khalid Shafar.