Katta by Yara Habib
2019. Room Divider.
Aluminum, stainless steel, zinc plated steel, Burma teak veneer on MDF, knotty oak veneer on MDF, Corian, woven
faux suede thread.
200 (W) x 4 (D) x 180 (H) cm (open size).
Limited edition series of 10.
Yara Habib is interested in the concepts of tolerance and community that the UAE’s rich culture and heritage embody. The country is one of the most culturally diverse and tolerant in the world, and proclaimed 2019 as the ‘Year of Tolerance’ to expand the scope and opportunities for communication, openness and dialogue among its diverse and multi-national population who call the UAE home. Tolerance in the UAE traces its roots back to a rich Bedouin tradition, where people would gather in their tents in the desert to discuss, debate and reach consensus on matters important to the social and political life of the community.
These congregational tents would be called 'Bayt Al-Sha’r' (literally the ‘House of Hair’), a reference to the goat hair, which was handwoven using a craft technique called Al Sadu by the women of the community. Used on the tents, it now stands as a symbol of heritage and tradition passed down from one generation to the next. The tent’s interior divider was one of its most salient features, practically dividing the common and private spaces to differentiate between the public space for the community, and the private space for the family. The dividers would be also be decorated using the distinct Al Sadu weaving style and adorned with geometrical patterns and rich colours.
In designing Katta, Yara Habib considers the traditional tent divider as a witness to dialogue and harmony, developing a design that balances respect, culture and openness. The resulting room divider provides “personalised privacy”, the levels of which can be controlled via interactive rotating elements. The screen becomes a reflection of tolerance that respects boundaries, inviting the user to decide how much to reveal or conceal through the different layout combinations that Katta offers. Katta is a screen-divider that holds 400 pieces made of a variety of materials with individually hand-woven wooden panels, inspired by the traditional patterns and crafts of the UAE.
Each individual panel can rotate and pays special attention to the shapes, symmetry and rhythm that is particularly found in Al Sadu; and uses wood, aluminium, Corian and faux suede to bring together all the intricate elements. The complex and arduous process of weaving the threads into each panel is a way for the designer to connect with the history and tradition she is inspired by, evoking the motions of the Bedouin women who would gather to prepare, dye and weave the goat hair for the 'Bayt Al Sha’r'. The harmony of materials and form, each complementing and supporting the other to form the entirety of the product, is an essential design feature of the screen divider that is inspired by the cultural diversity and peaceful coexistence characteristic of the UAE.