Design Ras Al Khor (DRAK) co-founder Khalid Shafar on uniting Dubai's creatives
Khalid Shafar is one of the co-founders of Design Ras Al Khor (DRAK) - a collective initiative established by four UAE-based designers aimed at drawing attention to the Ras Al Khor Industrial Area and its creative potential.
Working with fashion designer Khulood Thani, jewellery creator Nadine Kanso and architect Tarik Zaharna, product designer Khalid is part of the team striving for DRAK to become a progressive design movement encouraging research, innovation, and material exploration within Ras Al Khor.
The group formed last year ahead of Dubai Design Week 2015. They return to the festival this year, hosting a series of exhibitions and discussions. Working alongside their host venue partner – Lever Building Materials & MIRAGE, deep inside the Ras Al Khor Industrial Area, DRAK's central exhibition explores the design topic of ‘Celebrating Wood’, presenting four main design projects all by upcoming international and locally-based designers: Tulip Hazbar, Hind Bin Demaithan (Commissioned by 1971 Design Space), Hala Kaiksow and Lina Younes.
Alongside those four main projects, DRAK16 will host its inaugural ‘International Projects Selection’, which will be a collective showcase of international projects. They include the multi award-winning ‘Aleni’ seat by David Trubridge - which will be presented by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) - and Surfaces Sonores, by Pierre Charrie - presented by Eyes on Talents.
The initiative is also collaborating with Ghaf Kitchen to offer six unique pop-up culinary experiences for a limited number of guests. Each event will offer its own unique five- course menu to as many as 44 diners. The group will also be hosting international speakers and designers in a conversation and panel discussion focused on industry design topics and trends, taking place at the Intersect by Lexus at the Dubai International Financial Centre on October 27.
Co-founder Khalid - a graduate of both the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, and the Centre for Fine Woodworking in Nelson, New Zealand - said: "We are very excited to be returning to Ras Al Khor with our second edition of DRAK. We are dedicated to transforming this part of Dubai into a creative district that will inspire and nurture future generations of creative talent.
"We appreciate that this is a slow process, but together with our official partners, we are adamant that we are already on the right track. We are working with four very interesting designers this year and are planning a series of interesting talks and events to support the DRAK initiative."
Ahead of Dubai Design Week 2016, Khalid took the time out to meet with INDEX Design Series to discuss the thinking behind DRAK and talk about the initiative's successful first year.