Celebrating Design at Studio 7
Studio 7 located within Msheireb District is a beautiful space that cleverly curates products that glorify unity and celebrate workmanship within the diverse Arab World.
Msheireb District is now synonymous with anything that spells design. Walk into M7, the incubation centre set up to support local entrepreneurs within the fashion, design, and technology industries, and this intent becomes even more evident. And then tread on till you glimpse the ray of sunshine, quite literally, the yellow new store, Studio 7 that shines bright and grabs one’s attention from the moment you step into it.
Studio 7 is an open, sunlight streaming-in, expanse of space peppered with design products curated by Asma Derouiche. The interiors of Studio 7 is designed by Marco Bruno, the principal architect of a Korean-based Italian firm with a branch in Qatar, MOTOElastico, in close collaboration with Asma, a VCUArts Qatar graduate. The entire concept is based on Asma’s graduate thesis project at VCUarts Qatar where she contemplated played around and researched authentic handicrafts of Qatar that carried influences from other Arab countries.
Studio 7 is a concept store that is an extension of this innovative thought process and is a celebration of designs locally and regionally, in the expanse of fashion, culture, furniture, or artefacts.
“It brings together those designers who celebrate their culture either through material or through traditional making process which puts the focus on the uniqueness of their designs and processes. We curate a rotating collection and currently, we have designs from Qatar, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, and soon from Kuwait as well,” says Asma.
“Tariq Al Jaidah is the founder and the person who entrusted this space to me, from M7 to curate,” she says.
What is striking about the space is the flexibility of its setting, keeping with the transience and impermanence of the times we are in. The open space also puts the focus completely on the designs on display.
Marco Bruno, who is the partner at MOTOElastico, and is also Asma’s professor at VCUArts Qatar, understood Asma’s brief for the setting and brought it to realisation within the constraints of budget and time.
“The goal was to achieve maximum space flexibility in order to be able to move the display around the store, customising the heights and the arrangement of the furniture. The curtain defines areas with different levels of privacy: a few open inlets used to highlight special collections and more private spaces like the changing room and the office,” explains Marco.
“Studio 7 is a fluid experience where everything is effortlessly floating: it is a space without borders that celebrates the diverse similarities within the Arab design community,” he says.
While the shifting yellow tent-like cloth moves on hinges and rails hanging from exposed concrete roofs to open up or close spaces as the need be, it’s the products that take centre stage and become the décor at Studio 7. Bright and colourful designs of benches and metal furniture from Local Industries, a Palestinian-based design network take centre stage at Studio 7.
Local Industries’ aims to reassert the value of local Palestinian labour without freezing it in a traditional and obsolete role. This design company is the vision of two architect brothers Elias and Yousef Anastas. Another local start-up and completely locally produced design on display is that of Jilid, that crafts premium handcrafted leather goods. The online business, which was launched in July 2020, offers a variety of leather products – journal covers, wallets, cardholders, passport covers, bookmarks, all made by hand, stitched by hand, and finished here in Qatar.
Lebanese designer Rana Salam’s home decor products light up spaces within Studio 7 with its signature style inspired by Middle East’s popular culture.
“She takes her visual cues from billboards, vintage film posters and signs of consumerism and translates them into visually creative products,” explains Asma.
Another culturally relevant product is Chich-bich, which means Backgammon in Tunisian a collection set of 3 board games: Chess, Backgammon, and Checkers. The product is by Hella El Khiari and Thomas Egoumenides who created flaÿou, a multidisciplinary, integrative design studio based in Tunis.
Products from the final year thesis of students of VCUArts Qatar on display at Studio 7 also throws light on the immense creativity nestling within Qatar.
Asma has planned many creative sessions with the exceptionally talented designers whose work are being exhibited and she plans to hold focus Pop up shows for fashion designers with fashion shows and talks lined up when the lockdown is completely lifted. As designers from around the Arab world congregate in this energy-filled space, Studio 7’s role and intent as a design hub and Asma’s dream to bring the Arab design world together under one umbrella will bear fruition.
Studio 7 is now open and is situated within M7. You can arrange a private tour by direct messaging the studio on Instagram @studio7.qa.
Images Courtesy Studio 7.