The Vibe: Khalid Shafar

His furniture fuses techniques and inspiration from all over the world, while his education has included stints at London art school Central St Martins and the Centre for Fine Woodworking in New Zealand. Up-and-coming designer Khalid Shafar talks about his Emirati heritage and the launch of his first collection

I launched my collection at several exhibitions in Dubai and I’ve already been approached by retailers from New Zealand and Beirut to commercialise some of my pieces. In November this year I launched my collection internationally

Most of the inspiration for this current collection has come from my Emirati heritage. Some of this is in the form of dying crafts – for example weaving and embroidery techniques – that I’ve brought into contemporary design objects. Dubai is not just a city obsessed with modern architecture – we also have a rich past

Illusion-Dine, Khalid Shafar
Illusion-Dine – these dining chairs are part of Shafar's latest collection, which debuted at the Dubai Futures event held in Tokyo this autumn

Since childhood I’ve found myself drawn to design. I think you’re born with a connection to something, and for me it was anything related to colour or design or art

I spend about half the year in New Zealand. It allows me to have time on my own to think and design. Dubai is a great source of inspiration, but it is also where my work becomes a reality. There are great opportunities for me to work locally in Dubai while keeping my international presence as a designer from the UAE

The Palm, Khalid Shafar
The Palm – coffee tables feature in Shafar’s new collection

Dubai has done great things with art, and now its design scene is really taking off. I’m so excited about the upcoming Design Days Dubai [a fair dedicated to collectible and limited-edition design]* and though that is still on a small scale, I want to see more of this kind of thing. I am proud to represent Dubai internationally this year for the first time in Tokyo Designers Week in Japan under the Dubai Futures** event

* Design Days Dubai takes place 17-21 March 2012 at Downtown Dubai
** Dubai Futures: The Emirate’s Emerging Art Scene took place at Tokyo Designers Week 2011 from 1-6 November