Determination, reinforced by an endless pool of creative energy, meets functional design with Pieces by Farah. The emotional designs, visually organic, yet functional at heart, raise the age old saying of ‘less is more’; as interior designer and business owner Farah Al-Humaidhi premiered into the furniture design arena with bespoke designs and understated confidence, she makes her debut with inimitable elegance. Meeting the face behind this exciting brand truly revitalizes the creative mind, as Farah Al-Humaidhi’s design space is energizing yet soothing. As we settled in her little haven she calls her office, filled with design prototypes and rushed production managers, we were amazed at how such a young woman managed between operating her core design and construction firm, and Pieces by Farah.
When envisioning Pieces By Farah, Al-Humaidhi wished to create a functional mix of pieces that allowed the client to customize each piece to their own taste using a variety of color and textural palettes. One might beg to differ with her surprising strategy, as most furniture designers utilize a one-design approach to commercially make an entrance into the market, yet Al-Humaidhi’s admiration and great devotion to detail proves otherwise. After completing her bachelor’s degree in interior art from the American University of Sharjah, she bravely ventured into the market and launched her design and construction firm, giving way for a breadth of experience in understanding her customers and what the market requires. She states, “Although I’ve always worked on my own in terms of managing an interior design and construction firm since 2004, Pieces by Farah, alone, was scary as this reflects my own personal opinion and work rather than working on briefed projects and customers’ tastes.” Al-Humaidhi believes that starting her own furniture line is much more daunting than managing a full-fledged business, a decision she viewed as quite a natural progression upon graduation, she adds, “When I graduated in 2004, the business conditions in Kuwait were easier, as the economy was thriving, construction was booming, therefore my line of work was in demand and customers came frequently and willingly. Interior design is a line of work, which is considered a luxury service requested by many clients, and was wildly demanded at the time. Based on my existing family’s business in property construction, I had solid grounds to start and build my portfolio. I didn’t feel like it was a decision I had to make, it was rather made by nature. Whereas Pieces by Farah was a decision I solely had to make from start to finish.”
“Unveiling one’s true vision is difficult,” Al-Humaidhi believes, as she went on to describe that her journey with Pieces by Farah started by simply sketching out her ideas over a long period of time, “In the back of my head, I always wanted to produce my own line, my mini gallery, a creative outlet for my design reflections which people could equally enjoy as much as I do.” True to her determination, she embarked on this long journey using the smallest of steps, only to arrive as an artist, designer, innovator, and business owner. She humbly comments, “Hey, I was really scared, and the first step was the hardest. I always talked about it but never had the guts to actually do it. I was very scared, from people’s reactions, and the depression that could result from rejection. I didn’t want my pursuit to accomplish my vision to affect my personal life or my other line of business.”
Considering all things said and done, the feedback to Pieces By Farah was, and continues, to grow sensationally. We wished to spend more time in her premises to find out about a well-kept secret recipe for success, and she laughingly states, “It’s not magic, you put a plan for yourself, and baby steps to follow. At one point last year, I noticed I had accumulated a wealth of sketches viable to create a premier collection; I went on to participate with those at an exhibition last year. That alone was based on a plan I had for myself; transforming these sketches into reality was a lengthy process.”
In order for her to arrive at a final debut collection, Al-Humaidhi and her team of expert production assistants had to stretch their imagination and design skills to new levels. Each and every piece was fine-tuned, whereby she would execute at least four prototypes for every design. When examining the Floating Piece, a table featuring hardened lace and sleek wooden edges, Al-Humaidhi’s design might look simplistic, yet the design was technically one of the most challenging ideas she had to work with. Hardening fabric is extremely difficult. The end result, however, with Pieces By Farah, is outstanding. Feminine, yet functional, edgy treated fabric makes for vases, serving plates, lamp shades, bowls, or even stand alone display pieces that are stirringly unique. She states, “I wanted feminine, light, yet functional; if it’s a vase made out of fabric, it needs to be hard, yet flexible and waterproof. Once we were able to fine-tune that technique, the possibilities were endless.” Al-Humaidhi proudly glances at the red lace vase sitting atop her office desk, and continues, “Once we start fine-tuning the process, I am there to monitor the work every step of the way to ensure that the design element remains intact while functionality, budgeting goals, as well as the timeliness of each piece’s production remains feasible.”
A student of design and architecture, the training of prioritizing functionality is ingrained in Al-Humaidhi’s mind with every piece she designs. She adds, “Every line has a purpose, this tool of understanding functionality makes for a piece a customer would like to own.” The Floating Piece, for instance, is very dear to her heart, yet including functionality was equally integral in attaining the desired femininity she wished to portray through its design. Every piece is new, functional, innovative, and dear to the visionary’s heart, “The first time I thought of using fabric and realized my goal with it, the lamp shades and vases followed. The Interlocked Piece, for instance, was a product of many customers voicing their desire to have a coffee table that is visual yet functional. We always see coffee tables that are huge in size, with accompanying nesting pieces. With one piece that is made up of smaller compartments, the Interlocked Piece opens up into sleek nesting pieces.” These are all but only some of the stories Al-Humaidhi has when describing her work, and she believes that the Floating Piece represents her the most, she adds, “The combination of the hard wood with the sensual femininity of the treated fabric, that juxtaposition of emotions, toughness and gentleness, is me. Like me, this is an emotionally charged piece, which reflects my attachment to work in general. My business is my home and my family, I’m attached to everything that happens here.”
Looking for inspiration varies from one artist to the other, and Al-Humaidhi stresses that role models and inspiration vary with the development of any given person according to their personal growth. At a younger age, she was a student of many schools of design, admiring the beauty and individual styles of the works of many. Nowadays, she looks for budding, new designers who design for the sake of creating art rather than chasing after commercial prospects. “Unknown designers are mostly passionately driven. The change of your preference is a reflection of growth. As designers, we are continuously changing in terms of preference. I am purely inspired by the passion behind any kind of design.” This is purely reflected in her collection of different pieces, Al-Humaidhi is neither modern nor simply classical, yet her work is rather a combination of different emotions through the employment of contrasting materials, evoking contrasting emotions.
Balancing between the creative efforts brought forward by Pieces By Farah, and the interior art and construction services, Al-Humaidhi claims is a product of time management and nurturing a team to work together efficiently. Since the start of her business, she believes that without having that work ethic, Pieces By Farah wouldn’t have materialized as a valued, viable addition to her existing company. Utilizing her business sense, she has organized her time so that Pieces By Farah does not interfere with the other services offered at her firm, Al-Humaidhi states, “My collection is seasonal in every sense of the word. Launching two collections every year, I’m able to split my time overseeing each order in terms of its execution, following up with the customer, and ensuring its appropriate delivery. At the same time, this allows me to focus on my company. Whenever I’m free, I design items and leave them on the side, while working on new ideas with my carpenter. I ensure that I am never in a hurry, so that I allow my designs to take their course, fine-tuning and perfecting a final piece.”
What does Al-Humaidhi envision for Pieces by Farah? She replies, “To be honest, I never imagined I would garner this kind of praise for my debut collection. I’m enjoying this phase so much; it was like a dry patch of land, then it became nourished. Before Pieces By Farah, running my business felt heavy on my heart. Yet when I started this new journey, I felt like I had a purpose once again.” Referring to the stringent market conditions presented by the recent economic crisis, Al-Humaidhi sought refuge in her creations, taking those ‘baby steps’ one at a time. Perhaps, Al-Humaidhi’s work would be showcased internationally; she recounts a recent visit to the renowned Maison D’Objet in Paris. “I went to see the possibility of what I can do. Perhaps people will get to know the name and get used to the brand. In Kuwait, my office is my show room for now. In essence, I want to stay true to ‘Pieces By Farah’, and my customers will always be able to order online. Who knows, maybe we’ll resell at certain boutiques, concept stores, furniture stores.”
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Knowing everything happens for a reason, a good one, and when we accept that truly, we can have perfect happiness because nothing can cause sadness anymore.
What is your greatest fear?
Heights and insects.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My temper when I lose it, and my mood swings.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
SHOES and traveling!
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
…يالله بسرعه (Ya Allah Besora: Oh God! Move quickly!)
When were you happiest?
I’m the happiest when I’m fishing. The serenity I get in the middle of the sea is incomparable…I need it sometimes to just get things straight in my head.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I want to have a beautiful singing voice! Or, at least, sing without being shushed.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
My career! My companies are my babies… and my latest Pieces By Farah.
Where would you most like to live?
I would want to live on an island… and run a snorkeling/diving business!
For more information, please visit www.piecesbyfarah.com.