Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer May Khoury (MK) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of May Khoury by clicking here.
Interview with May Khoury at Monday 24th of October 2016
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
MK: I was born & grew up in the city of Ramallah, Palestine, surrounded by friends & family, who were proud of their rich heritage & culture. As a result I developed a passion towards our heritage & traditional crafts & started a small collection. I developed an eye for arts & crafts & was offered to be the director of the Jordan Crafts Center. Through working with more than 30 artisans, I started designing, without any design background,& found myself there . After four years namely 1999,I opened my own company , designing furniture, home accessories , clothing & now jewelry as well. Iam a designer with a mission of reviving our Heritage developing it & promoting it nationally & internationally in the concept of Up cycling I cannot think of any other profession that I would want to be, except a designer, although never planned it.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MK: , Badr Adduja; meaning "The Full Moon at Night"is the brand name of my Arts & Crafts center.Inaugurated in 1999 by Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al-Hussein , is a signature of novel crafts charged with traditional authenticity, handmade with my personal ideas of one of piece. Badr Adduja has been cultivating the talents of over 60 artisans & craftspeople insuring them a stability of income while sustaining their craftsmenship skills towards preserving the richness of Arabian Folk and Heritage. Badr Adduja Brand Trends: - Representing heritage pieces in new perspective that tackles our memories. - Utilizing our old handicrafts aesthetically to blend within our modern life style. - Creating new concepts that have a touch & a signature of our tradition. - Email: email@example.com -www.badr-adduja.com.jo -00962795526924
FS: What is "design" for you?
MK: Design is creating a functional art piece, that emphasizes our old heritage pieces, upgrades their values within a new modern perspective,& has a story to tell
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MK: I like to design furniture for homes & public places with a mission to revive & define our heritage, & ladies attire using the same concept of upcycling.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MK: My most favourite design is a single Chair , the back of which is an old Wheat Thresher Wooden Board & the seat ia an upholstered old beduin rug. This creation was displayed in an exhibition sponsored by UNSCO in Milan, & the piece was purchased by the interior designers of Designer Roberto Cavalli.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MK: A coffe table & a sidelamp
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MK: My favourite material is my collection of old crafts(wood, brass, textile, embroidary, straw silver rugs) incorporated with wood & glass.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MK: I feel most creative,whenever I come through a beautiful,old, artistic piece of Heritage that attracts my eye. Immediately I start developing a design around it.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MK: I focus on proportions, practicality, color & function.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MK: Happiness, satisfaction belonging & nostalgia
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MK: Iam mostly thrilled & passionate when I finish designing a piece that gets appreciated by my clients & visitors.
FS: What makes a design successful?
MK: A design is successful if it is unique, functional & has a story behind it.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MK: I consider the originality, the mission, the functionality & the concept
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MK: I personally have a mission & vision behind my work as a designer. It is reviving & defining our heritage, through the creation of art pieces using the concept of up cycling & environment friendly, We participated this year in a seminar & exhibition called Go Green since we follow the concept of upcycling
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MK: I always have new designs in my show room & I advertise about them to my customers & the local society .My last show was taking part in' The Amman Design Week' (2nd-9th September 2016,sponsored by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdallah of Jordan
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MK: My collection of old crafts namely, wood, textile, brass & embroidary are my main inspirations. I have so much passion towards what I do, that I continue doing it & it gives me a lot of satisfaction in my life. It is mainly what keeps me energetic, young & full of life.
FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
MK: I follow three trends when designing: Representing heritage pieces in new perspective that tackles our memories. - Utilizing our old handicrafts aesthetically to blend within our modern life style. - Creating new concepts that have a touch & a signature of our tradition All my creations follow the concept of Up cycling.
FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
MK: I live in Amman, Jordan. Definitely the rich cultural heritage has affected my designs & is emphasized through my creations. A good percentage of Jordanians appreciate my designs,but the western guests & residents are mainly my clients & the comments I get always from them is "This is a museum & not a gallery " & that my gallery & creations should be displayed in the Art & Design capitals of the World
FS: How do you work with companies?
MK: I have designed art pieces of furniture for the suites of a Big 5 Stars hotel in Dubai, as well as the wall pieces for The Suites of The New Fairmont Hotel in Amman Jordan. I also designed & executed all the wall pieces for the 11th & 12th New Renovated Floors of The LandMark Hotel in Amman. Besides that I designed & produced the whole interior of a restaurant that belongs to our family called" VINTAGE". I incorporated old pieces in my designs & displayed a lot of my creations there. The restaurant became a real attraction for its exclusive design & it is the talk of town. with small wall accessories, I suggest a design, do a sample with the cost then agree according to Volume on last price, conditions of payment & time span for delivery.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MK: A good designer is someone who can translate the needs of any client, through artistic functional & practical designs that will add something special & unique & make a statement The choice of a designer by the client should not be according to the degrees received but rather to the originality of the design.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MK: Iam the person who designs everything & since a year I have employed an assistant designer who helps me put together all my ideas & follows up with resourcing of whatever new material we need for our creations. I also have another employee who is talented with his hands & executes for me the last small touches of any creation in house . I should mention that all my designs are commissioned & produced by local artisans in their own workshops with my supervision & material
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MK: 1-A console with a suzanni 2- A coffe table with arabisque design 3-A stool upholstered with an old rug 4-A wall hanging which is a patchwork from 35 old embroidered palestinian dresses 5- A mirror with a stone like frame & old textile.
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
MK: I wake up early, drink my coffe then walk for half an hour. During my daily walk I think of new creations & try to focus on them. By ten oclock I get to my office where I start my day of work meeting artisans & antique dealers as well as following up by phone or visits with all artisans whom I work with. I try to attend as many art & design exhibitions that take place in my home town & outside the country as well as other cultural activities
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MK: Having a mission & a vision behind your design is very important.You have to have the eye, the passion, the perseverance & confidence that you can make it.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MK: Designing art pieces is a pleasure to me & Iam getting lots of appreciation locally & internationally on these designs Iam most disappointed when my designs are not produced exactly to my expectations & have to send them back again & again. Also with the current Economic situation all over the world, Art is an Accessory rather than a necessity & there are lots of ups & downs concerning sale & financial gain.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MK: Golden rule in design is originality , practicality & a Fair Price
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MK: As far as Iam concerned , you have to have the passion,be gifted with an eye for art & design & the rest follows. I personally have not studied design at all & Iam doing a great job, according to my customers & the whole community.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MK: I don't have any tools. I start with the old piece of craft & then I get inspired to continue my design without using any tools myself. Very simple standard tools of carpentry are used by the artisans who produce my designs.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MK: It really doesn't take me much time to design . When I formulate my idea, I immediately call the artisan to explain the concept & the operation starts.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MK: one day-one week
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MK: Have you studied design or is it a passion & interest.
FS: What was your most important job experience?
MK: Furnishing & designing "Vintage Restaurant" was my most important experience . It was the first project for me where I created the concept myself & did it all as well.
FS: Who are some of your clients?
MK: Hotels, embassies, cultural places , interior designers, locals, Foreign communities in Jordan & guests of Jordan.
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MK: Frankly I enjoy all my designs as each of them is unique & one-off.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MK: I would like to go outside Jordan & work internationally as a designer.
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MK: I create my designs by myself with some help & ideas from an assistant designer whom I only employed a year ago, but then I comission certain artisans to produce them with my continuous supervision
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MK: Yes, Iam preparing new creations of furniture & Home Accessories as I will be participating in The First Jordan Home Expo (24-26 November 2016)
FS: How can people contact you?
MK: My contact details are firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com mobile 00962795526924, www.badr-adduja.com.jo
FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MK: Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdallah of Jordan has awarded me for putting Jordan on the map of International Designers & recognized my efforts after receiving Two Silver & one Gold Award from A Design Award & Competition, Como Italy
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