BBQ DESIGN | Fours Afifi
Photo credit: Mahdi Naim
Fours Afifi, Morocco’s most recognized stove brand for more than 40 years, is proud to unveil the Skara’B barbecue, a newly-designed product destined for both domestic consumption and international distribution. In collaboration with Casablanca’s Mahdi Naim Design Lab, the new Skara’B combines the company’s reputation for reliable, high-quality products with a sleek, aesthetically-unique design that is destined to dazzle the domestic market.
”The Skara’B is a 180-degree twist in terms of our company’s traditional product line, but one which we intend to deliver to the masses as a 100% Moroccan-made product,” explains Abderrahman Diouri, who’s family acquired Fours Afifi in 1998. “We want to stay current in terms of both domestic and global demands, so we decided to start small with this BBQ design.”
Laying the foundations
In 2017, in order to meet demand from Moroccan ex-pats living in Europe, the company spent 10 months designing a new model of a stove from scratch that would adhere to rigorous GERES certification. By March 2018, the company had sold 2,100 units of the newly designed stove, while meeting international carbon emission requirements and reducing gas consumption by 46%. Investment followed that same year, enabling the company to automate its facilities, double its production capacity, and bolster its staff to employ 60 people.
Given the export obstacles posed by the company’s traditional line of bulky, heavy stoves, as well as a wide array of different international standards and requirements, Fours Afifi focused on developing a smaller product that would leverage its production capacity and harness the talents of its enthusiastic R&D team. With 10-15% growth in the European BBQ market, the company decided to design a unique product that would address that segment, facilitate entry into the export market, and build upon the foundations of a solid brand.
Fours Afifi embarked on another design from scratch, which allowed them to adhere to international market standards. Rather than reinventing the wheel, the company envisioned a simple BBQ that would distinguish itself through its aesthetic design. They turned to Mahdi Naim, an avant-garde Moroccan designer, and new artistic director of Fours Afifi, whose mission is focused on rejuvenation and modernization of the company’s brand identity.
“This is the story of a fateful encounter between a legendary brand, omnipresent in Moroccan homes, and a designer filled with inspiration,” says Mahdi Naim. The Skara’B is the first product conceived as part of that new family dynamic, and it signals a promising future of innovative design and production.”
The collaborative approach led to a symbolic design that pays homage and derives its name from the Skara’B, a form of beetle that serves as an important symbol in ancient Egyptian religion, and which is known for its resistance to heat. Standing one meter high, the small, non-intrusive unit’s sculpted form mimics that of the Scarab. Its hexagonal shape measures 60cms x 60cms, with a stainless-steel base and anti-corrosive wheels. The charcoal-fired barbecue’s cover features an adjustable, stainless-steel valve, enabling varying levels of indirect oxygenation to control the fire level. Built into the base, a cylindrical steel ash-catcher collects burnt charcoal dust and detaches from the unit for quick and easy disposal. The Skara’B is ideal for terraces and a variety of outdoor spaces.
“We wanted to develop a product that would not only be efficient but which would also be aesthetically unique,” explains Mr. Diouri. “We were focused on designing an object that would be discrete, yet attractive when not in use.”
An artistic work in progress
With its wide range of available colors, including red, blue, fuchsia, and yellow, the Skara’B unit serves as a nice complimentary design element for small spaces. Further design features will include an attachable table, as well as a carrying case to simplify traveling to the beach, cottage, or wherever your lifestyle takes you. Fours Afifi hopes to enter the market with a premium product at an attractive price point for all, while proudly showcasing Moroccan innovation and craftsmanship.
“Our goal is to start exporting the Skara’B by Spring 2021, but we are launching it immediately in the domestic market in order to create a buzz,” explains Mr. Diouri. “We have begun working on a distribution network as well, which we hope will facilitate the exporting of our product and our brand to Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia.”
Designer: Mahdi Naim
Photo credits: Mahdi Naim
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