Expatriate domestic workers are employed in many homes in the Middle East, often working for years for the same families, living far from their own family. They come from all over the world. But while they work in towering skyscrapers and grand villas, their rooms remain very small spaces – usually 7ft x 10ft, but sometimes even smaller. These rooms are often furnished with second-hand or third-hand, mismatched, worn or shabby furniture.
Home Box is a furniture and home accessories brand in the Middle East, with stores in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. Although Home Box cannot change the size of the living spaces assigned to domestic workers, with its smart living solutions, Home Box can help transform these spaces, so that people feel at home in the homes where they work.
Inspired by this idea, ‘The Hidden Room Collection’ was created. This is a specially curated collection, designed in conjunction with the Home Box design team, which provides beautifully designed and customized adaptable furniture and home furnishings for small spaces where domestic workers live.
To launch this new line of business, a short film was produced. The film features real workers based in the Middle East, each with their own story. Its premise was inspired by another data point: 329 domestic workers were asked about their favorite place in the homes where they work, and of all the places they talked about, one was not mentioned – their own room. “hidden”. The film, intentionally framed in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, creates the sense of confinement they feel in their constrained and restrictive living space.