Lebanese student Afifeh Abou Chaar graduated from the MA Interior and Spatial Design in 2016. Afifeh tells us about working at Dar Al Handasah interior designers and offers some valuable advice to current students.
What have you been up to since you graduated?
I’ve been working as an interior designer at Dar Al Handasah in Lebanon. It’s one of the leading architecture and engineering companies in the region.
Tell us about your practice, how has it developed since graduating?
I did the MA Interior and Spatial Design at Chelsea and my project went along the lines of product design. I haven’t practiced product design much, however the MA has helped me visualise space.
During my MA, I explored the concept of the artist’s laboratory as a place where artists can experiment, invent and discover new design techniques related to both artistic and scientific disciplines. Accordingly, I went into creating design experiments and creating the most appropriate structures (product design structures) to recreate these experiments in a more constrained environment where the artist can be in control of the outcome. I tried through these structures to bridge the gap between art and science, where the artist becomes a scientist.
What are you currently working on?
At Dar Al Handasah we are working on the interior design facilities and lounges of Dubai airport. I’ve worked on elevations, choosing materials and on reflective ceiling plans, flooring plans, partition plans as well as doing a mood board and coming up with concepts.
What have been your greatest achievements since graduating from Chelsea?
I was always interested in space and I always regretted not doing architecture. So this MA allowed me to explore this side to design that I always was intrigued by. Since I come from a graphic design background, my greatest achievement was my shift to interior design in my career.
What are your future plans?
I would like to develop on product design and have my own business as a designer
Tell us about your time at Chelsea, what do you miss? What did you enjoy the most?
I miss working by hand and in the workshop, I miss my friends and my teachers as they were a great guidance and gave good, constructive criticism that helped me advance and evolve my work. Working in the workshops allowed me to get a new perspective on other students work from different BA and MA’s that also helped broaden my designs.
What is the most important thing you learned on the course?
It is ok to have the same concept as someone else because we each have our own way of designing it and completing it. We each have different visions of the same concept which leads to having new and various approaches.
What advice would you give to our students who are about to graduate?
To enjoy their MA and the whole experience of it. But success takes time and a lot of dedication so not to stress about work after they graduate. They might take a paths they don’t necessarily see themselves in but it will all help them eventually. Life is a learning experience and doesn’t end with graduating so to embrace each opportunity that comes their way and make the most of it and learn from it.
See more work by Afifeh
Read more about MA Interior and Spatial Design
Explore last year’s MA Interior and Spatial Design Postgraduate Summer Show
All images supplied by Afifeh Abou Chaar.