Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Studio location: Barcelona.
Describe what you make: I make ideas that lead to sketches that become illustrations and drawings that describe materials and processes and inform details of collaborations between myself, my assistants, artisans, and industry that most result in something being made.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: Well, I’m still in the process of designing my own career! Having just completed the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard, I feel energized and inspired for the next chapter. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to have the freedom to work between continents on such a variety of projects on my own schedule with extremely interesting people. It’s a gift that I recognize and acknowledge daily with humility and gratitude.
Describe the problem your work solves: I’m not sure I’ve successfully solved any real problems yet, but I think I’m helping steer the conversation in the right direction with the right questions. Who gets to participate in contemporary design and why? How can we engage the other 90 percent of the population or the majority world in communicating by design? And how do we value other ways of making and imagine them in collaboration with industry in the future? These are some of the questions I’m asking lately.
Describe the project you are working on now: We’re currently thinking about a new way of considering outdoor lighting that goes beyond the typical solar-powered portable lantern. As outdoor lifestyles evolve, there’s a need for a different kind of illumination that creates a sense of space not defined by walls but by ambiance or atmosphere. It’s an exciting problem to approach especially within the vocabulary and material constraints of the manufacturer’s historic culture.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: For most of July, I’ll be heading down to the Dominican Republic as design-in-residence with a small group of artisans very experienced in working with a hardy darkly colored bamboo known as black bamboo. We hope to prototype pieces at all scales including accessories, furniture, and even cabanas. Ideally, the fruits of the residency will be launched at the first ever Santo Domingo Design Week, Sept. 23-29, at the Altri Tempi interior design showroom.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: I couldn’t live without my Stabilos! In fact, my studio exists wherever I find my bag of colored pens, markers, and sketchbooks.
What you do when you’re not working: Since I’m often traveling almost half the time, when I’m free, I try to spend as much time as possible with my son Anwar. He’s my most vocal critic and a constant source of inspiration. I count on him to keep it surreal and take me places I’ve never been with his vivid imagination.
Sources of creative envy: Almost anything Hans Wegner blows my mind. His sense of form, proportion, and materiality is awe-inspiring. His Flag Halyard chair, in which I’m seated, is an unbeatable handmade masterpiece!
The distraction you want to eliminate: Words without meaning.
Concrete or marble? Marble.
High-rise or townhouse? Duplex high-rise with roof terrace overlooking Central Park.
Remember or forget? Remember. We can’t imagine our future if we don’t know our past.
Aliens or ghosts? Hopefully, vegan aliens!
Dark or light? In the words of Roy Ayers… My life, my life, my life, my life, in the sunshine. Everybody loves the sunshine!