Student Spotlight: Afaf Al-Raisi

 

When Afaf Al-Raisi was given the brief for her first assignment with British Academy of Interior Design (BAID), she seized the opportunity to explore a relationship that has been fascinating her for years. She wanted to play with the connection between exteriors and interiors and so, she decided to bring the outside in. The module was Hospitality Design, and the brief was to create an interior design concept for a niche market while also including technology and sustainability. Afaf immediately embraced the challenge and dived into a concept for a chic boutique hotel. 

Reception area design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

Reception area, Afaf Al-Raisi.

 

 Afaf is a top-up degree student at BAID and with a degree in architectural engineering and a master’s degree in sustainable architecture, she had plenty of insight, for the outside. She has however, always been interested in Interiors and had pondered the impact a design can have on a person. People spend a huge amount of their time inside buildings so clearly the interior must have an effect. 

Reception area design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

Reception area, Afaf Al-Raisi.

 

The brief involved a brand-new approach for Afaf. Her background in architecture meant her architectural designs had incorporated a broader public appeal, but this project involved appealing to a select few with shared interests. In essence, it was for one client. 

 

Graffiti

Although the brief was to create a design concept for a niche market, it was also open and without restriction. Afaf is a fan of graffiti art and as she explored the relationship between exteriors and interiors. She decided she was going to take outdoor art and bring it inside. 

Niche Market Analysis by Afaf Al-Raisi.

Niche Market Analysis by Afaf Al-Raisi.

 

She began by finding the most appropriate location. Infamous graffiti artist Banksy recently became a household name when a piece of his work was sold at the illustrious Sotheby’s Auction House only for it to partially self-destruct as soon as the gavel was hammered. It sold for £860,000. Banksy hails from Bristol in England and the location needed to reflect and attract the intended clientele. Banksy was just one reason to choose this vibrant city. Bristol is full of young artists and home of the Upfest street art festival plus, the city aims to be carbon neutral by 2030. Bristol was perfect.

 

Research

Afaf’s next step was to explore graffiti as an interior design style. There are many versions of street art, and much can be done to decorate walls, but she wanted to take it to a new level and create a new abstract from something so familiar. Afaf began researching different design styles and found that the Post Modernism and the Memphis group movement would inspire her next move.

Restaurant Design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

Restaurant Design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

 

The hotel is to house artists and creative professionals, so Afaf began to think about their needs and behaviours. She considered how artists may have an impulse to create or a need to use some sort of visual aid in a meeting or conversation, with this in mind, Afaf created adaptable spaces throughout the hotel. 

The reception would include a ‘creative cave’ or drawing area where guests can meet and exchange ideas. One wall is covered in graffiti, and another is filled with screens where guest’s work can be displayed in real time. The idea is for artists to share a creative hub while enjoying the contrasting walls. Graffiti has had a bad reputation and often blurs the lines between vandalism and art, but Afaf had fun with this juxtaposition and filled the reception walls. Other walls display internationally recognised artists, and the hotel will also include a small gallery for local artists. She even included a huge 3D version of the graffiti rat trope. The entire ethos of the hotel is to inspire creatives to collaborate and even share their work while spreading awareness of contemporary art.   

Restaurant Design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

Restaurant Design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

 

The rooms are all themed based on social movements through graffiti and are fitted with electronic capabilities. The beds are essentially murphy beds on hydraulics and can be lifted to create a working space in the room. 

The restaurant’s theme is transparency with all produce locally sourced and on display. The spaces to eat are both communal as well as private and the food is both fast and slow food. 

 Bedroom Design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

 Bedroom Design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

 

The Creative Self

Although the brief gave Afaf the freedom to go wild with her ideas, she also needed to remain within the boundaries of accessibility and building standards. These small restrictions proved to help her with her creativity and problem solving. The most interesting and powerful takeaway for Afaf was learning about her creative self. Through the creative freedom of running with an idea and taking it to the end, she met herself as a creative in a brand-new way.

 ¬†Bedroom Design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

Bedroom Design by Afaf Al-Raisi.

 

The top-up degree Interior Design course has now opened a new type of focus for her; a macro view of how she would approach a single client. Afaf has always loved and respected the impact an interior design can have on mental and emotional health and now she feels she has a new control over that. 

No matter how accomplished you are, you can always learn new things about your creative self.

 

Read more about interior design.

If you wish to start a career in Interior Design, we have the right course for you.

 

 

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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