Interior Design
Islamic cultural elements

I am Asem Obeidat, a PhD candidate at Texas Tech University in the area of Environmental Design.

My dissertation is about elements (tangible and intangible) of the Islamic culture to be used in the interior environment of the nursing homes for Muslim people with Alzheimer's disease. What might these elements include?

Thank you for your help, for personal contact please send to:
Please use Islamic Culture in the "subject window" when you send e-mails.
Asem Obeidat
Islamic cultural elements

I sent you an email so that you can read it about this matter.
Tayyebeh Zare Jammab
Islamic cultural elements
Which culture? Indonesian, Moroccan, Arabian...? Are you trying to identify common cultural elements?
Shiraz Allibhai
Islamic cultural elements
Dear Asem,

The four basic components of Islamic design are: calligraphy, vegetal patterns, geometric patterns and figural representation. The most fundamental element of Islamic art is calligraphy, it's meant to transmit a text in a decorative form (Koran). An entire word can give the impression of random brushstrokes, or a single letter can develop into a decorative knot. Calligraphy is often combined with other basic components of Islamic art.

Vegetal patterns employed alone or in combination with the other major types of ornament adorn a vast number of buildings, manuscripts, objects, and textiles. Unlike calligraphy, vegetal patterns and the motifs were drawn from traditions of Byzantine culture in the eastern Mediterranean and Sasanian Iran. Later, with the Mongol invasion, numerous Chinese motifs and patterns were adopted. In the 16th and 17th century these patterns spread trough Europe, Turkey and India, absorbing and incorporating new versions- naturalistic-looking flowers or blossoms. (The present days of Ottomans, Safavids and Mughal empires).

Geometric ornamentation had reached a pinnacle in the Islamic world, but sources for the shapes and patterns already existed in late antiquity among the Greeks, Romans, and Sasanians. The four basic shapes, or "repeat units," from which the more complicated patterns are constructed are: circles, and interlaced circles; squares or four-sided polygons; the star pattern, derived from squares and triangles inscribed in a circle; and multisided polygons.

Figural representation (or representation of living beings) in Islam has a resistance in religious art and architecture, but in the secular sphere such representation have flourished in nearly all Islamic cultures. (Muslims believe that the creation of living forms is unique to God only).
Figural motifs are found on the surface decoration of objects, or architecture, as part of the woven or applied patterns of textiles, and, most rarely, in sculptural form.
The Islamic civilizations were very skillful at applied arts. They invented process by which gold and silver could be inlaid on cheaper metals (damascening, after the city of Damascus). The swordsmiths of Toledo made the best swords and rapiers in the world. North Africa and Spain were famous for tooled leatherwork, and Persia was well known for its beautiful carpets. Many fine dress materials were devised by Moslem weavers, and still retain their original names (damask and muslin, for example).

Also, for several centuries Islamic civilization was the most advanced in the world. Arabic system of numbers was superior to Roman. Moslems were interested in astronomy and alchemy. Their doctors were famous for their discoveries. Moslems developed an architecture of their own. They incorporated domes and arches (horse-shoe arch). Both bricks and stone were utilized in construction and ornamentation. Glazed tile revetments, carved stucco, and painting were used for decoration inside and out.

I hope all this gave you an insight of how to apply Islamic design in your project. Good luck!

Jasna Varcakovic
Islamic cultural elements
screen-printing [lenin]
Sher Saddozai
Islamic cultural elements
look at this one 6'tall side wall mount !
Sher Saddozai
Islamic cultural elements
heres a multani tile obaid!

the glaze is the commision's preference ......both for floor and furniture
Sher Saddozai
Islamic cultural elements
Screen Printed articles..trays Tablecloths monotony that inflates with tea sets and Crocker!
Sher Saddozai
Islamic cultural elements
This are parts of concluding notes
of a Final Year Interior Design Thesis at School of Interior Design, CEPT University Ahmedabad India, by a student Ms Farzeen Contractor.

If find anything of interest in this contact me (I was her thesis Guide) I will connect you to the concern student.

"The Islamic character deeply ingrained in their beliefs and practices. It is further supported by the quality of built form and the Interior space characterization. The people staying in pol houses perhaps have deeper exposure and so greater attachment to the Islamic lifestyle. The entire neighbourhood emulates from each other the Islamic lifestyle for being a good person -'citizen'. The deep rooted ancestral sense of belonging to the community has also increased their adherence to traditions.

The locality of the pol is perhaps as old as the city itself but the age of the houses (mostly 150/200 years old or recent) show that these were perhaps created in later part of Maratha invasions and early part of British rule. The earlier phase signifying insecurity from invaders and law-less ness and the later phase comparatively a secured way of life and good urban services management (water supply, electricity, drainage, etc.). Yet all through the neighbourhood belonging ness has survived. Some left the neighbourhood for suburbs The suburban houses in bunglows format show the influence of the British. Yet the strong Islamic lifestyle has never been completely abandoned. The Diwan Bunglow follows Indian way of life and affirms to local climate and building technologies.
The pol houses have more integrated items of furniture, etc., in comparison to the overtly attached items bunglows. The furniture in the pol houses, though has foreign classical influences, has much of Islamic characterization. Whereas the bunglow has substantial classical furniture but with moderate Islamic characterization.

New furniture items are more evident in the pol houses as these houses are currently lived in houses, as compared to the bunglow which is an ancestral heritage home, though well maintained but lived in only occasionally. The new pieces of furniture have less intense Islamic character in comparison to that made by original generation of the house. In spite of the current generation's interest and respect in preserving the original pieces of furniture, new items of furniture are bland in character.
This is perhaps due to: the changing in lifestyle of the present generation, the average economic condition has not allowed the current owners to be 'frivolous' in spending, or perhaps the current owners consider their stay here a transient facility. The new items of furniture is not culture specific. These elements can be a part of any religion community. With the change of generation, the Islamic character had not enter into the depth of the built form but has remained superfluous addition.

Items of old furniture are matter of pride and well appreciated for style, craftsmanship and as statement of religion-cultural heritage. But interestingly, no one has ever mentioned who, when and by whom these items of furniture were made.

The origins of the styles are ambiguous. The styles were available to the either the client or the carpenter, or both. A house owner could have seen such furniture furnishings in residences of socially higher ups, or in catalogues and perhaps in furniture workshop show rooms. The Carpenter was hired mostly for exquisite skills (technical abilities) and exclusive knowledge and experience about such stylish furniture. Such a crafts person was perhaps asked to copy a replica, or execute an item from a catalogue or magazine.

The items of furniture individually or as a combination do not represent any distinctive class of regional style or period. These items have parts
and components that are individually comparable to many different styles but well mixed through good craftsmanship. However all items of furniture show some degree of restraint as well as refinements. The restraint was to avoid all decorative motifs, shapes that do not confirm to Islam, and the refinements included the use of distinctive Islamic design characters (non human motifs, arabic characters, pointed arch etc.)

The furniture thus has strong local character (Indian, Gujarati, Ahmedabadi), and craftsmanship with Islamic confirmation. These are the features that are appreciated by the current owners and these are the same features that make it difficult to regenerate in a changed scenario."
Gautam Shah
Islamic cultural elements
I find it stunning that the influence of other cultural styles on Islamic art is ubiquitiously discussed, but rarely, if ever, the reverse. As an example, the following is a quote from publicity relating to an exhibition of Islamic art in Australia in 2007:

Nasser David Khalili owns one of the world's largest private collections of Islamic art. Over the years the Iranian-born property developer has amassed more than 20,000 works. Some of the finest and rarest have gone on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.
The 350 pieces include colorful ceramics, lustre-painted glass and finely woven textiles from the 7th century to the early 20th century.
The display is about showcasing the imagination and influence that Muslim artists have had through the ages.

Islamic art exhibit at the Art Gallery of New South Walesin Sydney 21 June 2007
Organizers say in the catalogue that "the very word Islam casts both light and shadow over the contemporary world."
They insist there has never been a greater need for Islam's true artistic power and heritage to be shown.
Khalili says the art of Islam has helped shape Western culture.
"You see the influence (of) Islamic art in every walk of life," Khalili said. "In actual fact, if you open any design book of any other culture in the West, you cannot escape seeing something Islamic, and this is something that the world is not aware of, and this exhibition is a step toward that direction to tell the world that there is tremendous amount of influence of Islamic culture into the culture of the West."
Laila Anil


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