Switching careers especially when you are really good at what you do is no easy feat, but for Khalid Shafar moving from being an executive marketing professional to a product designer was answering a long over-due call. Harnessing his passion for design with a degree in furniture and object design in the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and later at the Center for Fine Woodworking in New Zeland, Shafar’s products each tell a unique and riveting tale capturing both east and west, south and north in a sleek inherently modern style that never forgets its roots.

“Objects are not just beautiful or useful. They also tell stories. And when we bring an object into our lives, its tale becomes part of our own personal tale.” Khalid Shafar

His resume, featuring projects, collaborations and accolades, reads as a virtual dream checklist and there is no wonder why, as Shafar’s maintained importance of products that are functional, creative and practical have garnered him attention from all over the world.

Urban Collection by Khalid Shafar

Urban Collection by Khalid Shafar

Oasis Magazine catches up with the talented Emirati designer.

What made you decide to move from being a marketing director to a furniture and product designer?
The move was not a choice. It was always my long-term personal and professional goal to be a designer, but marketing was my first career choice. Academically, I am a combination of both disciplines. I enjoyed obtaining my Business Management degree and my Fine Arts Interior Design degree from the American University in Dubai. To design furniture was a passion I developed more while doing my Interior Design degree and taking a furniture design course. I decided one day I wanted to design a piece that would carry my name always. I don’t regret my corporate life at all. It taught me discipline, management skills, and leadership. It also gave me my financial security to follow my long-term goals and achieve what I want in life. I am enjoying my design journey and I feel I belong to this part of me more.

How has your degree in business helped shape your career now as a designer?
It’s a rare combination to find but I was fortunate to have both my business and design degrees. I believe today’s designers should be shrewd businessmen as well to build and sustain their brands and become profitable. After 8 years in the corporate world within the marketing and communication domain, I am confident that all steps I had taken so far are on the right track towards achieving my long term objective of building a strong reputable Emirati brand with international presence in the world of Design.

You’re a great admirer of art and an avid art collector, how has your love of art influenced your designs?
I always believe that art and design share the same sphere yet I also believe that a designer is different than an artist. Both take inspiration from each other’s area. For me getting closer to art and to start collecting art was a great compensation for me during my corporate days. Art kept me close to colors, designs and images and it helped stimulate my mind. The way I see it is that a designed object is created to serve a purpose or to solve a problem, yet the way this object is designed makes the viewer react emotionally and for me this is the artistic side of the design. I don’t have a direct influence from art yet on any of my pieces I launched but I had used some crafts and handmade parts in my objects that are very artistic in the way they had been made and created.

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