(Excerpt) Interview with Rita Abou Arraj : Frank Scott: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?. Rita Abou Arraj : The idea was born out of frustration of the ever growing need of Kitchen tools and the ever shrinking Kitchen spaces, and personal spaces in general, within the modern urban living units.
The principle is to make use of dead space within the Kitchen in order to extend the array of used utensils, in a simple, customizable, functional and aesthetic way, which will result in a more practical and also more attractive Kitchen space.
The inspiration behind the ingredients of this project in particular resides within the amalgam of 3 unpretentious and common things:
First: ceramic tiles on old kitchen walls;
Second: the fold-able colanders of the kitchen designers "joseph and joseph";
Third: magnetized notebooks on fridges.
.Frank Scott: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?. Rita Abou Arraj : As an interior architect, I deal everyday with space related problems, and find myself increasingly in need of saving space to accommodate the living necessities. In this urbanization time, space has become a rarity, a value to save, a luxury.
I aimed to bring full functionality to small kitchens, Save volume where I can and maintain traditional functions, such as cupboards for more eccentric appliances. And I reached my target by attaching the basics of kitchen ware on the wall, while offering the user the possibility of customization, in use and appearance, in order to showcase a certain personality in opposite to the current, almost identical, mass marketed small kitchen spaces.
.Frank Scott: What are your future plans for this award winning design?. Rita Abou Arraj : This system has many advantages:
- It’s easy to install.
- It can be fixed on most surfaces, old as well as new.
- It’s highly modular.
- It can adapt to any style and taste.
-It has the potential to expand to many other uses, and offer many independent lines of production within the same principle, such as electrical outlets, lighting, appliances, etc.
With those attributes this project can easily evolve, it can be adapted to optimize space in garages or working spaces, the possibilities are infinite. There is always an empty wall that can use some colors and functions.
Aesthetically speaking we’ve only scratched the surface of its potential. The tiles can come in any shape, (circles, triangles, etc) as well as any texture or pattern imaginable (wooden, metallic, rubber, etc).
.Frank Scott: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?. Rita Abou Arraj : Due to the multiplicity of the many component of this project, it took near 3 months to incorporate them properly to the system. .Frank Scott: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?. Rita Abou Arraj : Not quite an inspiration but rather gluttony.
The beginning of this project has a personal incentive, my mother being a great cook, had an enormous kitchen, with the whole assortment of utensils, cake pans, colanders, strainers, pots....the whole deal. When she had to move to a smaller house the new kitchen wouldn't fit all of her precious wares.
Still the best cook, she mourns her wide array of pans, and the design of her many cake molds.
Being the passionate object designer that I am, the eccentric interior architect, and a very hungry daughter, I solved my mother’s predicament.
.Frank Scott: 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?. Rita Abou Arraj : I plan to lease or sell the jig-saw system design. .Frank Scott: What made you design this particular type of work?. Rita Abou Arraj : I am passionate about the process of creating and problem solving, and further to realizing how this issue is affecting more and more modern and future shrinking kitchen spaces, and after facing it personally, I decided to tackle it. .Frank Scott: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?. Rita Abou Arraj : It’s a specific kitchen ware: the fold-able colanders of the kitchen designers "joseph and joseph" .Frank Scott: Who is the target customer for his design?. Rita Abou Arraj : This design can be installed on any urban kitchen (old or new) for it necessity; and any other kitchen for its aesthetic. So basically anyone with a Kitchen space, whether for its use for smaller kitchen or its appearance and customizability for any kitchen size. .Frank Scott: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?. Rita Abou Arraj : There is no resembling or similar concept I’m aware of.
Magnetic tiles aren’t a novelty, same goes for the space saving kitchen ware. However, the potential resulting from joining both characteristics in a complete space saving, design oriented, system, is the new thing I bring to the table, or to the wall, to be more precise .
.Frank Scott: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?. Rita Abou Arraj : Jig-saw, as per Google’s definition, is “a puzzle consisting of a picture printed on cardboard or wood and cut into various pieces of different shapes that have to be fitted together.”
During the development process, this customizable design struck me as funny and playful, reminding me of sliding tiles’ games and tile reordering grids, thus the puzzle “clein d’oeil “ .
.Frank Scott: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?. Rita Abou Arraj : A sketchpad, few pencils, a graphic tablet, multiple design software, a coffee machine and many mugs. .Frank Scott: What is the most unique aspect of your design?. Rita Abou Arraj : Jig-saw combines perfectly function and aesthetics and deals with emerging issues that haven’t been tackled yet in the most essential, and indispensable space in our living spaces. .Frank Scott: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?. Rita Abou Arraj : I relied on research and local manufacturers for occasional technical inquiries. .Frank Scott: What is the role of technology in this particular design?. Rita Abou Arraj : One of the solid features of this project is the simplicity of both the installation technique and the day to day easy use.
Simple magnets, stainless steel sheets and tiling elements can be easily installed and maintained within any home and for any use.
However, with the expansion in Production lines within the jig-saw concept, Technology can be incorporated within the individual tiles, as smart objects or equivalent, following the need of the future Kitchen user.
.Frank Scott: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?. Rita Abou Arraj : Every serious project relies on a solid research combined with full comprehension of all its components as it gets more complex during development.
This particular research was long and fastidious. Every element of the kitchen needed to be studied, and assimilated. A long study on magnet properties and specifications needed to be conducted simultaneously with material research and properties and all molding techniques involving resins, plastics and polymers.
On the other hand, the universal tendency of reducing living spaces accompanying the increase of populations worldwide, and the reoccurrence of this issue within almost all my Interior design projects, needs no statistical data in order to perceive the magnitude of the current and the upcoming space occupation problem.
.Frank Scott: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?. Rita Abou Arraj : The challenge in this particular project was to incorporate the kitchen elements to the tile format. Some ceded easily like the tray, but others were more difficult to incorporate. .Frank Scott: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?. Rita Abou Arraj : The international design competitions are gaining in popularity and attention with each edition, especially in this “smart era”, as audiences are becoming more interested in the innovation and the sol.[ End of Excerpt: Read complete interview with Rita Abou Arraj on Jig-Saw Multifunctional Kitchen Tiles at design-interviews.com ]