Put where you want, fit where you will: Aya Charife’s concept furniture - GulfToday

Put where you want, fit where you will: Aya Charife’s concept furniture

Aya Charife 1

A view of the inflated furniture.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Aya Charife is a multi-award winning designer and artist, based in the UAE. Also a conceptual interior architect and jewellery designer, she fuses traditional vision with futuristic aspirations, to create works of art. Of Lebanese-Palestinian origin, she would like to engage with dreams, human interaction and bring them to what she calls “abstract reality.” Dwelling, as she does, between the fields of jewellery making, painting and interiors, she would like others too to master multiple disciplines of art. She has been recognised by international media, from Greece to Morocco, Iran to India and from the Middle East to the United Kingdom.

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What is the material you use to make the furniture?

The furniture is inflatable – it is a blow-up ground fixture made of PVC or textile-reinforced urethane plastic or rubber. The deflated furniture is compacted and stored below the floor area. The automated features of furniture allow the space to regain its void whenever needed, without having to relocate or stack the pieces of furniture, causing chaos. The form of furniture selected for this particular concept revives the freedom of choice for furniture’s co-existence with ourselves, turning them into living objects available on request.


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Will foldable furniture be the future of movables in accommodations?

The main idea of the design is to feel the void and have the freedom of furniture movement through what is best described as “inflatable furniture”. The concept of the interior is divided into two sectors, namely, the alternating fixtures and the digital panels. Both fluctuate to suit the mood of the inhabitant, and the change drives constant variation in the space. It limits the necessity of maintaining bulk furniture. I think this is slowly becoming a necessity, due to our active engagement with the speed of everything surrounding our daily routines. 

Does this type of furniture have a relation to Bedouin furniture which were/are made for fast movement? 

The purpose in Bedouin furniture is the ability of pack and travel to another stop, yet not lose the warmth of home. This happens when we have not adapted to the changing nature of what we call home. Thus we drag along this constant variable outdoors. However, my interior concept opposes this need by offering change, while being located in one place. The foldable furniture allows for added volume of space, while alternating digital visuals take you on a journey when needed, without the necessity of travelling.

Aya Charife 2  Aya Charife is a multi-award winning designer.

What are your design inspirations?

Humans engaging with nature and the drive for constant change is the main inspiration. I would also include the world of endless possibilities, as a result of human understanding. Add as well the active search for happiness and the effort to make a better tomorrow.

How does one inflate the furniture?

Contemporary homes already maintain ducting systems for air conditioning, water pipe systems, gas, lighting, etc. However, the idea here is to make objects manifest themselves whenever required by a systematic control of air pressure for inflation and deflation. Colour options are always available for the fixtures.

What are the digitally interactive panels carried by the furniture?

The controls of the panels are situated alongside the installation; the choice of selection is left to the individual and his it is to decide the final ambiance selected for alteration. The fixtures built into the surrounding ceiling, flooring and walls along with digital window curtains, allow the furniture that is inflated to remind oneself of home in a newly selected atmosphere.

Have you demonstrated your ideas publicly? What was the response?

For this concept to be fully accepted, it requires an entire building with the systematic installation of air pressure ducts reaching all facilities that can support digital fluctuation and alteration. Also, a variety of inflatable furniture with a colour selection and desired shapes needs to be widely available. This requires prior availability of the selections; only then the installation of the system can be depended on to operate fully. We will for sure reach this state in the coming future, since we are slowly coming to the radical reallocation of materials for proper consumption and improving the methods of living better.

How will foldable furniture change the living environment?

The concept will give an alternative to the way we live and it will impact our daily routine. The independence that the new furniture provides will lead to a different approach in accommodating visitors or even in how meetings are held, especially when the digital panels are set. The foldable furniture will aid as well with its minimalistic structure. It will create vivid spatial flexibility for comfort.

Is there an increased danger of fire with this type of furniture?

Thankfully, all safety measures are required by law in newly constructed facilities to decrease such risks. It is to be noted that the time to deal with the space is reduced, in a single location. This will facilitate prompt responses to emergencies. It eliminates boundaries set by inflexible objects.

You recently won a Futurism award. Can you give us the details?

I was honoured to have received the Emirati Futurism Award in the product and industrial design category. The Award is sponsored by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Dubai Future Foundation. It aims to present an artist’s or designer’s perception and vision of the future of our beloved Emirates, which is innovatively advancing in several sectors.

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