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POP UP by Khalid Shafar

Thermally-modified American hard maple with thermally-modified American red oak detailing.

From the launch of the first space shuttle and the release of the first IBM computers to the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the Cold War, the ‘80s offered hope to humanity to once again achieve the impossible and for people to chase their wildest dreams.

The energy and passion expressed in their supercharged aesthetics still reflect the 1980s in the current decade. Neon linear lights, ad-boards, the energy in the era's synth wave music, catchy pop colours in the fashion industry and the retro cyber-techno theme all served to inspire the design of the POP UP smart outdoor bench to portray the ‘80s energy and to convey the optimism and strength that we need to overcome the current COVID-19 pandemic with the hope for a brighter and stronger future.

Born in 1980 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and as a business graduate of the American University in Dubai, Khalid worked in marketing and communications for almost seven years. In 2005, Khalid completed a degree in Fine Arts in Interior Design and by the end of 2009 had decided to leave marketing and follow his passion for design. Khalid has studied and specialized in Furniture & Objects design, first at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, UK, then at the Centre for Fine Woodworking in Nelson, New Zealand. In 2011 Khalid opened his own studio in Dubai, followed by a showcase space in 2012; both in Ras Al Khor Industrial area.

Khalid’s approach to design encompasses his personal expression of form, movement, emotion, and in particular, ‘the tale’ of objects.

Among his notable international collaborations, Khalid has worked with LASVIT, Tai Ping, Campana Brothers, Moissonnier, COS, Kartell, and the American Hardwood Export Council on special projects and limited edition releases. He also collaborated recently with Le Mobilier National et les manufactures nationales des Gobelins, de Beauvais et de la Savonnerie on a site specific Art installation for Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum.


The 0.15 cubic metres of thermally-modified hard maple and the 0.016 cubic metres of thermally-modified red oak used to make Khalid's bench would be replaced in the US hardwood forest through natural growth in just 0.7 seconds. For the lifetime of the piece, the red oak and the hard maple in the POP UP bench will keep just under 98 kg of CO2 equivalent out of the atmosphere.


How to use

This is an interactive smart seating that you can interact with by connecting to the wifi network 'POP UP SMART SEATING', scan the QR code next to your seat, and then interact using the web application to text & display on the screen, listen to music, change the light colours & mood, play games, and take a short quiz.


Photography by Natelee Cocks