Multidisciplinary designer Kholoud Sharafi infused Cartier’s creative heritage in a rich collaboration and meeting of visionary minds to create the Women’s Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

She also founded, Tinkah which was born to encourage artists, designers and artisans working towards culturally relevant solutions to build unique expressions and narratives with a multi-functional ethos.

Emirates Woman sat down with Kholoud to find out the story behind the creation of the Women’s Pavilion and more about her impressive career history.

How did it feel when asked to participate in the Women’s Pavilion for Expo 2020 and how did the collaboration come about?

We were very happy and excited to know that Expo2020 would host a pavilion to celebrate women. Being the creators of the brand identity for the Women’s Pavilion is a project that is very close to our hearts as Tinkah is founded by three Emirati women and a majority of our team is led by women. The collaboration came into place when Cartier approached Tinkah after coming across our work in the creative and cultural scene.

Cartier Pavilion

What artistic elements have you infused into the Women’s Pavillion?

The Women’s Pavilion celebrates the seen and the unseen women from yesterday, today and tomorrow, with a common purpose of changing the world. In response to the concept narrative driven by the contrast of seen and unseen, the brand identity explores the high contrast between femininity and impact.

How do your values resonate with the pavilion’s theme – ‘When women thrive, humanity thrives.’?

Women are creators and natural-born leaders. When you give her an environment to thrive without any barriers you give rise to a new perspective and a different way of doing things. A woman who is able to pursue and achieve her dreams without any barriers creates a path for humanity to believe in making the impossible possible. When a woman is determined to go after her dreams, she not only uplifts other women but humanity as a whole. I am proud to be a part of the UAE where women play a vital role and are given equal opportunities in every sector.

The Foundary

You founded the UAE-based multidisciplinary design studio Tinkah which explores traditional crafts in a future-forward way, what inspired you to do so?

When we founded Tinkah, the question that came to our mind was, ‘What is the UAE’s design language?’. For any project that we work on, we seem to infuse an element that gets us one step closer to answering this question. Our design solutions are derived from an understanding of the surrounding culture and narrative.

What are some of the key collaborations that Tinkah has participated in?

We are the brand identity creators and guardians for the UAE’s Year of the Fiftieth. We are excited about many of our recent projects, when the time is right, we will reveal them to the world. Most of what we engage in is building brands to invigorate the cultural scene in the region.


How do you incorporate natural materials with a futuristic spin to create your designs?

We look at material as a sensorial element that adds to the overall user experience when incorporating it into products designed by us. In some cases, they would be the driving force as the key hero aspect to our work and in other cases, they would complement the experience. Our choice of materials is reflective of the story or experience we try to convey. By bringing together two known experiences (the material and the product) in a way that did not exist before, we give way to a futuristic experience by exploring the known and the unknown with our design.

This is ‘The Icon Issue’ – who or what is iconic to you?

The story of the United Arab Emirates is iconic to me.

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Images: Supplied