A Soulful Creator

It is quite impossible to meet someone gentler, kinder and more empathetic than Abdulrahman Al Muftah. A VCUArts graduate and a Qatari entrepreneur who loves to create, young Al Muftah is averse to the name serial-entrepreneur, a name that evokes material and commercial pleasures. He prefers to be known as a designer who cares for the planet with an urge to create products that do not deplete the earth of resources, is mindful of every aspect of creation and of materials used. Slow-sustained growth underlies Al Muftah’s philosophy of creation. By Sindhu Nair

It seems inevitable that Al Muftah created a wellness and beauty product, Allum, that embodies slow beauty. Allum is a visionary skincare brand that was revealed in February 2023. Founded in 2017, the brand is on a mission to deliver plant-based cruelty-free wellness products for the body, mind, and soul. During an intimate retreat held at the serene Zulal Wellness Resort, Allum unveiled its “Slow Beauty” philosophy to a select group of influencers and industry leaders. The retreat offered a unique and immersive experience, allowing guests to fully embrace the brand’s conscious approach to eco-friendly, nature-based self-care for optimal well-being.

After five years of research and development, The Nourishing Elixir, Allum’s inaugural product is now available for everyone via the company’s website. The elixir is clean, vegan, fast-absorbing and rejuvenating with a natural oil formula inspired by the Arabian Peninsula where natural and traditional beauty practices have been passed down for generations. Now that the product is finally off the creation table and at the marketing stage which is now in capable hands, Al Muftah is onto creating and researching new things.

Al Muftah is working on designs for furniture, is involved on ongoing research on clay, a material that fascinated him and made him explore the shores of Qatar to find out more about this natural material. It is to check out on his research work, Wild Clay: An Open Lab that brought us to Heenat Al Salma, another location that seems to reflect all of Al Muftah’s sensibilities and some of ours too.

Al Muftah is one of the first residents of the Heenat Al Salma Creative Residency and the exhibition.

Inspired by the eco-farm, Al Muftah wanted to touch deeper on the sustainable factors of the farm, explore functionality in design as well as work on materials available around the farm. It is through his experimentation with material and function that he chanced upon this material.

“With the help of Dr. Alexandrine Guerin, an archaeologist and wild clay artist, I started exploring the material and its wide possibilities.  I started investigating the potential of clay beyond traditional pottery,” he says as he explains his work with clay, finding it in Qatar, with no river in its topography and hence is a rare find.  “The rock formation in Zikreet had a layer of clay formation in it though the wild clay found  in this region is not very strong. I tried to explore the boundaries of clay, experimenting on various uses for clay. I tried it as a clay mask, as clay crayons for colouring and in agriculture. Through the entire process of experimentation, we published all the results as my journey in the discovery of clay as a material.”

A germination pot for date seeds, are also Al Muftah’s creation from clay as he embarked on his journey with clay. He has taken a step beyond, of exploring date seeds, or dates that are thrown away, to create date leather, all the while, keeping all the methods true to the purpose of the place they are in. He is in trial process experimenting different materials with the dates to make the material stronger.

This is a process ongoing with Al Muftah, his process of creating, of finding new collaborations, experimenting with materials that are abundantly available in the desert climate, finding optimum use through research, and generally keeping the cycle of growth ongoing, slowly and sustainably. A slow sustainable growth, more inwards to reflection and inner happiness than anything else.

Images Courtesy: Aadhil Nadeer and the artist.