‘I have always been fascinated by the idea of being able to see and realise the beauty in what is supposed to be of no use; the ability to reimagine it in a new form and embrace its imperfections,” says Miaser Al Habori, founder of Khashab Design. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Al Habori, who holds a degree in architectural engineering and a master’s in social entrepreneurship, started designing and upcycling objects for her own home in 2013. But her “obsession with rustic and aged wood” has since evolved into a bona fide business.
“My background and experience in architectural design enabled me to materialise design ideas into detailed sketches and build them from scratch. I spent time experimenting with tools and different designs, sourcing old salvaged wood, finding carpenters and building a little workshop in my own kitchen. I began developing my unique style in upcycling and repurposing that is inspired by the Middle East’s heritage and art,” she explains.
This manifests itself in countless ways: in the black-and-white 50s collection, with traditional geometric designs worked into book shelves and tray tables; the Doan collection, which is inspired by the rock formations and distinctive cubic architecture of Wadi Doan in Yemen and combines solid blocks of wood to create rustic-looking tables; Knots, in which three pieces of interlocking wood become chunky light fixtures; or Safari, in which vibrant pictures of animals are painted onto planks of wood.
There’s also the best-selling Sea Shades collection, which “is inspired by the natural colours of the sea, such as the light and deep blues, the turquoise, and the sandy tones of beige and brown. Its design aims to bring a piece of the sea to our homes through its constant motion and rotation, which is translated via Islamic pattern art, where elements are combined, duplicated, intersected and arranged around a focal geometrical centre,” Al Hobari says.
Khashab Design products are currently available via Biddi.com and are displayed in the gallery of the Al Serkal Cultural Foundation in Bur Dubai’s Al Fahidi district. But clients can also contact the company directly to request custom-designed creations.
Al Habori is always on the lookout for interesting pieces of wood that can be reworked into one-of-a-kind furniture. But a particularly special find was a set of old telephone poles found at Al Jadaf Port, which are believed to have originated in Africa. Al Habori collected cut-offs from these well-travelled pieces of wood and transformed them into the Log collection, a line of shelves steeped in character.
Al Habori mostly sources her wood from old pallets, shipping crates and boxes. “Construction [sites] produce a lot of waste that includes wood waste, so we try to source what can be salvaged from landfill organisers. We also collect the waste cut-offs from the Dubai-based wooden flooring company Nordic Homeworx.”
While the focus for now is wood, Al Habori has been experimenting with metal, and also hopes to introduce marble into the mix. And there are two other projects currently in the pipeline.
“The first is focused on developing a new collection that is inspired by what makes Dubai one of kind, and what ’Dubaians’ love the most about it, such as its diversity and harmony, its stunning desert and its beautiful beaches, the sea, and its warm sun. We are also working on developing the idea of allowing designers, interior designers and design students – pretty much anybody interested in upcycled furniture designs – to take part by designing with us and selling their creations through Khashab, while keeping their names on the items and of course profiting from the sales.”
But these products may be the tip of the iceberg, because they’re manifestations of Al Habori’s greater interest in the idea of environmental sustainability.
“I have always been passionate and interested in learning about environmental sustainability, and applying it through designs that can serve in developing a sustainable lifestyle – starting from products, buildings and even cities,” she says.
Source: art & life