Interview with designer Sana alabdulwahed (Sa), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design El_masnad Lounge Carpet.

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Interview with Sana alabdulwahed at Monday 30th of May 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
Sa : What amused me to do this project is the observance of people rebel against furniture. I believes by bringing the furniture closer to the ground and emphasizing the armrest, we will achieve one of the most intuitive seating units that is inspired by the Middle Eastern leisure culture.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
Sa : The main focus was to achieve a design that is easily manufactured by women. The weight of it, the size, the structure and the materials are all picked specifically to be handled by women during the making of it to to the shipment.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
Sa : Tow terms, which is about 6-8 months

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
Sa : El-Masnad is a cultural expression where I want to make a social impact on people's contemporary lifestyle by meeting a local aspiration through design and making.

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?
Sa : All of these are an option. Whatever is faster will be my choice.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
Sa : I believe that the furniture that we own have a great impact on our lifestyle. and I wanted to make a statement about the contemporary lifestyle of Arab Gulf region of this time.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
Sa : First, Peter Opsvic wrote a book that was a great inspiration for me. The book and his designs attempts to overcome our stereotypical sitting habits and show how the norms of sitting nicely and still can be broken. Second, The lava sofa for Cor furniture designed by Studio Vertijet received the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany in Silver, in 2009. Also, won red dot award in 2007. They were able to make something playful that appropriate the lively families. Third, the Body Props. By Olivier Peyricot, IDSland. Manufacturer: Edra S.p.A., Italy. This project was developed to introduce new philosophy of comfort where it embraces the floor as a living space.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
Sa : The Arab Gulf Countries.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
Sa : El_Masnad is an Arabic word that means everything you lean on. It used traditionally to describe armrests.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
Sa : I Created ideations through sketches and physical mock-ups in 1⁄4 scale for structural elements and fabric design by using laser cutter. I Prepared production drawings for fabrication. Including: 1⁄4 scale model with dimension for metal tube frame. Digital file for hot wire milling on foam. Generated pattern design in Grasshopper, and produced files for CNC stitching. Produced files for felt cut on CNC machine using Grasshopper, Pepakura, and autoCAD. Rendered the design in five different suggested environments using Photoshop, KeyShot.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
Sa : I worked closely with my master advisors during my research who's skills are at the top of the furniture design realm.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
Sa : Technology has a big role in my design, specially, since the business model is initially intended to be produced and supervised by women. As mentioned in question 12, the structure is carved by a CNC machine to eliminate any requirement of physical handling.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
Sa : Yes, I Conducted a qualitative Research process to understand the demographic, market and fabrication method. Then, I synthesized research findings and articulated insights to inform and inspire design outcome, linking research threads together in frameworks to achieve desired design.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
Sa : One of the most difficult challenges was finding Saudi women willing to participate in taking pictures. The Second challenge was to see the demographic dramatic lifestyle changes as an outsider, which is critical to synthesize the research findings for the design outcome. Lastly, was Understanding the relationship between the designers, makers and consumers.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
Sa : A teacher recommendation.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
Sa : I learn a lot about manufacturing and taking the design idea from the studio to fabrication.