Design is in Sara Hayat’s DNA. Since the 1870s, her family’s company M. Hayat & Bros. has produced luxury furnishings for everyone from royal households to prominent clients, including John F. Kennedy and his famous White House rocker. So, it comes as no surprise that the need to be creative eventually struck.
Setting aside a career in finance, Colorado-based Hayat set her sights on made-to-order furniture with a debut collection comprising coffee, writing and dining tables, chairs and sofas, and inventive modular seating. Each of the designer’s pieces, which have their genesis in detailed drawings, are handbuilt by her family’s longstanding artisans in Peshawar, Pakistan.
While her materials lean traditional (mahogany, marble, cane, brass inlay, leather and velvet), her forms (geometric, floral, stacked and beveled) are anything but ordinary. Hayat studied joinery and detailing techniques by researching her family’s archival catalogues in addition to referencing some of the world’s greats—Oscar Niemeyer and Pierre Paulin for further inspiration. She also became fascinated with contemporary automobile and fashion styles, making note of what she loved and which aesthetics she responded to emotionally. “Intentional design has the ability to uplift, and I want my furniture to do just that.” And her Tetris-inspired modular sofa provides a plum example. “People should be creative in how they use it,” Hayat explains, noting that the piece can morph from a sleek living room sofa into a fantastical object for play when deconstructed. “These pieces should dazzle, anchor us in the moment and remind us of what we can be.”
As the newly minted furniture designer begins using her own pieces at home, she can’t help but reflect on what her parents instilled in her growing up. “My mother always believed that you should surround yourself with items that make you happy.” A legacy Hayat will surely continue to uphold. sara-hayat.com