Through a journey of discovery into the crafts and materials of Bilad Al-Sham, this showcase offers a different understanding of craft, in which tradition is seen as a sum of the available resources and materials from which we can craft possible futures.
At the level of Omar Bin Al-Khattab Street, Rihla fi Al-Hiraf features crafts from across Jordan; from its northern region to its eastern Badiya, and down to the southern Jordan valley.
The journey starts with the collective craft practices and live-installation of Syrian and Jordanian artisans in Turquoise Mountain's wehda, and moves to the northern region of Azraq and Umm EI-Jimal, featuring basalt stone and desert cosmetics, as well as soaps from Zarqa and textiles from Ajloun in lrth Collective.
Produced in collaboration with Petra National Trust, Siq offers a spatial experience focused on our perception of a journey rather than the final destination.
Following a display of ceramics, clay, and paper recycling produced by the Iraq Al-Amir's Women's Co-Op, the journey ends in the south with the natural dyes extracted by the women of Ghor Al-Safi at Safi Crafts.
The Crafts District for Amman Design Week 2019
Commissioned by Amman Design Week
Curation, design, and construction by Arini
Site construction manager : Esam Aljabi
Kabariti Village includes:
The Crafts District
ح ر ف
ِح ْر َف ة / إِ ْح تَ َر َف / َح َّر َف
The Arabic word Hirfa (ِح ْرَفة ) is derived from the root h-r-f and means occupation, trade, handicraft. It is also shown to relate to labor as a source of livelihood sustained through practice, habit, and repetition (إِ ْحتَ َر َف); with connotations of processes of change and alteration (حَرَّفَ).
We move away from the notion of craft and tradition as authentic, singular and frozen to the notion of craft as alive and evolving, ever-changing forms of labor producing objects and transforming oneself. Through a journey of discovery of crafts and materials of the Levant, we aim to a different understanding of craftsmanship, hereby tradition is a sum of resources and materials gathered to craft possible futures.
By combining maps and storytelling with walking and performance, we feature artisan and training workshops, installations in-the-making and shops where products are sold.
Material journeys are showcased through techniques of transformation from natural to composite states and from raw materials to crafted forms.
Visitors, artisans, and designers are taken on a journey through the multiple, dynamic and ever-changing crafts of Jordan’s Badia and Ghor region to the versatility of Levantine materials, as well as, their alteration with digital fabrication and computational design.
Stitches in Space
Design by Ruba Asi
Stitches in Space is a blown-up play experience for children inspired by the fiber arts that also highlights Amman's 60 year old rattan furniture craft. The installation, which is comprised of four stitching screens and equipped with jute ropes and giant wooden needles is a polemic against the “watching” culture brought about by the pervasiveness of digital screens in the psyche of the modern child.
Reciprocal Frame Tensegrity Pavilion
Design by Yazeed Balqar
A reciprocal frame is a self-supporting structure made of three or more beams arranged in a closed circuit. This pavilion takes reciprocal frames a step further by adding tensegrity to the structure, which is a combination of strut weight and cable tension.
Nīla served as a prelude to the journey of discovery in innovative craftsmanship at this year’s Crafts District.
The installation canopy was made by women in Ghor El Safi (Safi Crafts) using traditional techniques in cultivating indigo and creating dyes, which are then transferred to modern applications in design.
100 Gabion Baskets made from wire mesh were filled with limestone to construct the stage for "the Crafts District" exhibition during Amman Design Week 2019.
The installation was designed as a module, leaving room for growth depending on the crowds. Multiple levels are created to open more room for interaction.
The limestone gravel was inspired by the landscape done on the site.
Sīk is an abstraction of a journey that resembles a block, slowly taking shape from a more intact center. As the passerby approaches the installation, Sīk reveals a path into its parts, emphasizing the role of the journey in altering our perception of the object.
The clay coins used to create this spatial experience were produced as part of a continued collaboration between Petra National Trust and Cambridge Highschool
In this commission by Petra National Trust, Arini challenged the traditional use of clay, a fundamental craft in the inherited cultural and artistic heritage of the Petra community, which PNT foregrounds in their youth-empowerment programs across that region.
The challenge was to present the material of clay in new innovative ways for the visitors to explore as part of their Journey Through Crafts ‘Rihlā fil Hiraf’, along the lines of the 2019 Crafts District’s curatorial vision that highlights the evolution and transformation of seemingly frozen notions of craftsmanship.
The final result mirrored the experience of walking through the Siq of Petra, in which one would find themselves slowed down by the sand underneath as they become immersed in the atmospheric quietness and the intimate path through the clay coins.
Set within the winding pathway between Al Hussein Cultural Center and Greater Amman Municipality MADAFA pavilion was developed for Amman Design Week 2016 to enhance the surrounding landscape and envisioned for being a spot of exposition.
The pavilion is a modern interpretation of the Madafa, a traditional Jordanian space that is built to entertain, host and feed the guests during their visits. The rich narrative of the Madafa inevitably encouraged users to explore parallels with contemporary architecture as it was created as place of gathering through hosting a series of cultural events and live music.
In all its parts, MADAFA encompassed a multi-layered sensorial experience, a welcoming place to rest, a place that allowed visitors to indulge in exclusively designed food, specialty dishes and gourmet snacks developed with food professionals and served in distinctive tray prototypes.
Encompassed within the MADAFA, three shipping containers were repurposed within the promenade to host a set of local restaurants and cafes. Standing free with all their sides visible, the containers are an integral part of a steel grid modular enclosure. Creating a presence in the pathway that changes as you move around it and through it, the pavilion became a scene set against the backdrop of Amman’s mountains
The grid modular system enclosure was built using weathered steel tubes and joints. The solution was implemented to showcase the beautiful backdrop which is the complex and layered mountains of Amman. The modular system also permitted the pavilion to be permeable while creating a definition for the space. The structure was made of 7 tons of steel, 1,020 steel cubes and 21,000 washers and screws. The pavilion was built in 6 days due to the special nature of the location.
Lightning and shadow played major part in the experiencing of MADAFA. At night visitors moved throughout the space as it fades into darkness due to the washed lighting effect which illuminated the lower surfaces. During the day, visitors enjoyed the dramatic and transformative play of shadows as the sun rendered different architectural patterns throughout the day.
Arini's approach to successful activism in design and urban development projects has enabled more than 30 economically vulnerable and marginalized youths and workers from different communities and tradespeople dwelling in the Downtown area while constructing MADAFA.
© Rasem Kamal
About the designers
Rasem Kamal, an architect and a Fulbright fellow with a Master's degree in Architecture from the Rice School of Architecture. Kamal is currently working at the Basel studio of Oppenheim Architecture. Prior to that, he worked with several regional and international architectural firms including Symbiosis Designs, SOM and AS.Architecture-Studio in Paris.
Saja Nashashibi, Managing Partner and Principal Architect of Paradigm Design House, a collaboration of talented architects and designers whose main aim is to transform creative potentials brought by design opportunities into reality and the team works with clients through an integrated approach affecting the environment, local economies and community.
About Amman Design Week
Amman Design Week aims to be an annual event that celebrates talent and experimentation with the intent of encouraging the growth and proliferation of the design sector in Jordan, in an environment that stimulates learning and innovation. Supported by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Amman Design Week piloted in September 2016, creating a platform that will bolster Jordan’s design sector and move it toward international recognition and acknowledgment.
© Lucio Bracamontes
©Dubai Design Week Design Abwab Jordan
A Dubai Design Week initiative, Abwab, meaning “doors” in Arabic, is a series of six architectural pavilions that showcase the work of the most exciting designers, studios and curators from six different countries in the Middle East and the near region. Inspired by the imagination that drives childhood play, the Jordan pavilion draws on the swing, or ‘murjeiha’ to evoke memories of its designers’ childhood. With the help of accelormeters and Arduinos, the team introduced interaction design that allows one to generate and activate the present surroundings while challenging gravity. The simple swinging motion converts into a visual and audible translation, the designers said in a release.
With play and imagination in mind, Jordan’s designers are drawing on the swing, or ‘murjeiha’, to represent their collective childhood. Paradoxes form the base their new design of the swing ‘murjeiha’: Imagination versus reality; cradle versus stand still; mental versus physical power; visibility versus invisibility; unfurling versus weaving; and finally, mindfulness versus mindlessness.
Prevalent in Jordan is the release into air, as playtime regularly involves kite-flying and swinging high. Whether the altitudes of Amman’s hilltops inspire the seeking of new heights, or that the country’s natural air being crisp and cool year round asks to be sliced– the untitled swing project summons flight through the memory of Jordanian pastime.
©Dubai Design Week Design
©Dubai Design Week Design
When it was playtime, the game that everybody knew how to play was our very own imagination. Imagination fueled us with the limitless abilities to create new worlds, change our environments and explore alternative realities.
The magnifying and augmentative powers that took simple or mundane things from around us to transform them into objects and situations far more than what they are, it was so easy for us to live alternative realities where we're gymnasts with a little stolen flour from home, enjoy a delicacy made completely out of mud or grabbing a mattress to become our speedy slide down the stairs.
Our brains got used to it, we mastered the art of imagination and it all almost became a constant process of weaving our imaginations however we wished to see further and beyond of what is it that lies in our tangible realities and right before our eyes.
It was bound to happen that for all of us to revert back and tread down our childhood memory lanes. But our questions soon rid themselves of nostalgia and yearning to try and understand what armed us with such power and liberty, whether from hiding and seeking to jumping, swinging and defying gravity? What is this ultimate liberation and also power we had that we wholeheartedly believe we do not own anymore? And the answers came as short bursts justifying that this is life, growth or rather being a grown up.
With this extreme shift that took place as we were growing up, we had to re-accustom ourselves to not be fascinated anymore and our readiness to play and be infatuated were re-adjusted to Þt fast-moving realities and the chase behind making ends meet, so what would jolt us back into the power, liberty and imagination we had before? Our answer started becoming clearer and clearer, and we aimed to try and bring in several experiences, weave them together for anyone experiencing it to enjoy a short, yet sweet, trip into the imaginations we all had as children.
As we set out to look for what is it that brings game & play all powered by imagination the ultimate power and liberty that comes with it, our discourse have, healthily, explored several routes.