Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Studio location: 4 World Trade Center, New York.
Describe what you make: I work across media, creating objects—usually by hand—that run the gamut from functionalist to expressionist, always with an approach that’s at once research-driven and intuitive. For me, context is everything; the narratives embedded in my works are designed to meet the moment.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: My Between Rise and Fall Series.
Describe the problem your work solves: My work doesn’t solve direct problems but it exists to provide perspective.
Describe the project you are working on now: I just finished working on my Between Rise and Fall series, which consists of two lighting sculptures and two wall sculptures with mirrors. With this series, I’ve constructed a hybrid, imagined cityscape, one inspired by distant and recent memories of the two metropolises that have shaped my life: Baghdad, where I was born and raised, and New York, where I moved for school following my family’s immigration to the U.S. as refugees in 2009.
Handcrafted in paper-pulp, the forms evoke vacant buildings, both Baghdadi homes abandoned amid war and the empty skyscrapers—some partially constructed and others complete—of New York’s silenced Financial District during the height of the pandemic. The surfaces’ varying roughness and elasticity reflect my emotional flux as I attempt to give order to these environments. As one walks around my cityscape, light and shadows shift, calling to mind passing clouds or the narrow shafts of light between Manhattan’s dense vertical skyline. For me, these architectural remnants symbolize the seemingly endless human cycle of building, destroying, and rebuilding.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: My Between Rise and Fall series is featured in a group exhibition at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in New York, from Oct. 20 through Jan. 2022. The exhibition, “The New Guard: Stories from the New World” features newly commissioned work from seven rising talents in the United States, co-curated by Anna Carnick, Wava Carpenter, and Ashlee Harrison.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Sparkling water, music, and dance breaks.
What you do when you’re not working: I go to art openings and live music shows, I cook by inventing dishes, and I also dance.
Sources of creative envy: Do Ho Suh, Anish Kapoor, and Neri Oxman.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Instagram.
Concrete or marble? Concrete.
High-rise or townhouse? High-rise.
Remember or forget? Remember and forget.
Aliens or ghosts? Aliens.
Dark or light? Light.