Interview with designer Sahar Madanat Haddad (SM), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Vanilla Lounge Chair.

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Interview with Sahar Madanat Haddad at Thursday 26th of May 2011: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
SM : Generational Gaps. This chair was designed to symbolize the contradictions between our generation and our parents’ and grandparents’, whereby even though these differences seem to tear us apart at times, our heritage and history always seem to tie us back together.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
SM : The objective is to manufacture this lounge chair locally; reducing it's carbon footprint as well as to encourage local suppliers. Therefore, All materials and manufacturing process are quite simple and do not require sophisticated machinery. Furthermore, provide an opportunity for handicraftsmen to participate in even modern furniture production and expanding their scope of work to stay competitive. This is achieved by sourcing the decorative brass sheet metal component to them.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
SM : At the moment I am studying production options as i have received great feedback and many requests. However, whether I take on this process myself or through another company is a possible option. One way or another I plan to see this lounge chair realized!

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
SM : The concept has been lingering on my desk since 2008. But it was finally revived, modified and finalized in 2010; a process that took several months.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
SM : It was pursuit of an inspiration.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
SM : Not yet, but soon! The design is not being used by any company just yet. As mentioned earlier, all options for production are being carefully considered at the moment until the best fit can be found. It's important to find the right match when handing over your work; therefore all options are being studied before proceeding to production.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
SM : Vanilla Lounge chair is targeted towards everyone who enjoys luxurious, stylish yet comfortable lounging experiences, design collectors, and fits great as statement furniture in homes, executive offices, lounges and lobbies.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
SM : Vanilla was chosen from a selection of names because it emphasizes the purity of white; the space in moments of reflection in our thoughts, which were a source of inspiration for this design. Yet the brilliant, smooth and silky white color of vanilla we are so familiar is not without its own contradictions, it comes from a very dark and woody brown bean!

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
SM : The clever balance made between modern comforts and beautiful handmade decorative components casting beautiful shadows.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
SM : Certainly. I thoroughly researched the ergonomics of seating, seat height, width, cushioning and the lower back support curvatures. In addition, I looked at best practices and incorporated the most comfortable features including tilt mechanisms and where they can be found and their suppliers. Furthermore, I researched bent woods and manufacturing techniques, visited factories and met with local carpenters. I found at least 4 qualified local suppliers willing to help build this chair. Keeping in mind that one of my main goals is having greener furniture and encouraging local suppliers to work on projects that allow them to think outside the box.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
SM : The most difficult part of this project was to design a lounge chair that can be produced in very minimal industrial processes, without affecting the aesthetic quality of the chair.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
SM : Thank you for the opportunity to share my work.