Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Brief 16 : Femfresh : Colour and Pattern

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Brief 16 : Femfresh : Developing applied patterns

Applying patterns

Monday, 24 February 2014

Brief 16 : Femfresh : Developing colour pallets

Colour Pallet

Brief 16 : Femfresh : Developing Patterns

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Brief 16 : Femfresh : Islamic geometric floral patterns

Geometric flower patterns in Islamic art

Brief 16 : FemFresh : Islamic geometric patterns

Islamic Geometric Patterns

Below are some Islamic geometric patterns that I came across in my research. These aren't based on flowers however I love how graphical they all are. The bold lines and geometric patterns can be found in many forms today ranging from fashion on the high street to products.

The Evolution of Style in Islamic art


‘One would enquire in vain for the masters who brought this system to its flowering or those who later opened up new ways for its development. This art is totally anonymous and it would contradict the artist’s noblest charge, which was the liberation of the spirit from the transitoriness of worldly ties.’

From ‘The Arabesque’ by Ernst Kuhnel

Consistency and variety

Islamic art has a recognisable aesthetic signature that somehow manages to express itself across an entire range of productions. The ‘language’ of this art, once established, was readily assimilated by each of the different nations and ethnicities that were brought within the Islamic sphere. Assimilated and built upon, because every region, at every period, produced its own versions of this super-national style.

This extraordinary consistency of styles and artistic preferences in the Islamic world clearly derive from a deeper, social consistency. All Muslims hold to the same basic system of belief, all are familiar with the customary religious observations, and all – despite national and ethnic differences and rivalries – felt themselves to be Muslim first and foremost. This strong sense of identity and continuity tended towards a high degree of social, and artistic, conservatism. As a result, many forms and artistic concepts remained unchanged over the centuries - on the other hand, Islamic art has constantly demonstrated its capacity for the creative reinterpretation of accepted forms.

Much of the art of Islam, whether in architecture, ceramics, textiles or books, is the art of decoration – which is to say, of transformation. The aim, however, is never merely to ornament, but rather to transfigure. Essentially, this is a reflection of the Islamic preoccupation with the transitory nature of being. Substantial structures and objects are made to appear less substantial, materials are de-materialised. The vast edifices of mosques are transformed into lightness and pattern; the decorated pages of a Qur’an can become windows onto the infinite. Perhaps most importantly, the Word, expressed in endless calligraphic variations, always conveys the impression that it is more enduring than the objects on which it is inscribed.

Symmetry and geometry

Another familiar characteristic of this art, which must also express something fundamental to the Islamic spirit, is its predilection for orderly, symmetrical arrangements in general and for purely geometrical decorative forms in particular. The influence of both religious and philosophical ideas on this aspect of Islamic art were examined earlier, but the abstract, ideational nature of symmetry and geometry clearly fit with the Islamic taste for idealistic otherworldliness.

From a purely doctrinal viewpoint, geometrical designs, being free of any symbolic meaning (which is the case in Islamic art), could convey a general aura of spirituality without offending religious sensibilities. In addition, the purity and orderliness of patterns and symmetries could evoke a sense of transcendent beauty which, at best, would free and stimulate the intellect (rather than trap it in the illusions of mere representation).

There is a certain disregard for scale in Islamic art that derives from this perception. Similar kinds of patterning, for instance, might be found on a huge tile panel or on a bijou ornament. This is because decorative effects, in an Islamic context, are never mere embellishments, but always refer to other, idealised states of being. In this view, scale is almost irrelevant. For similar reasons Islamic ornemanistes usually opted for a-centric arrangements in patterning, avoiding obvious focal points – a preference that resonates with the Islamic perception of the Absolute as an influence that is not ‘centred’ in a divine manifestation (as in Christianity), but whose presence is an even and pervasive force throughout the Creation. A further analogy can be drawn between the patiently created repeats of the ‘infinite’ pattern (in all its varieties), and the familiar and unvarying customs of Moslem religious observances. In an Islamic context repetition is not tedious; on the contrary, it connects to the world of the spirit.

Whether in a religious setting or not, the work of Muslim artist/craftsmen always manages to convey a certain integrity, even nobility. In fact the distinction between art and craft-work is largely irrelevant in the Islamic world, but even when their works demonstrated surpassing skill and inspiration, the practitioners tended to remain anonymous. This is not surprising; in a culture whose ideal was submission to the will of Allah, it was quite natural to submit creative individuality to a perceived higher notion of beauty.

Geometric patterns have always had a particular appeal to Muslim designers and craftsmen. They convey a certain aura of spirituality, or at least otherworldliness, without relating to any specific doctrine. In an Islamic context they are also quite free of any symbolic meaning. Above all they provide craftsmen with the opportunity to demonstrate his skill and subtlety of workmanship, and often to dazzle and intrigue with its sheer complexity

Brief 16 : Femfresh : Islamic flower patterns

Geometry – The Language of Symmetry in Islamic Art

by Richard Henry

Throughout the ages mystics & theologians have used geometry as a contemplative focus, as it enables the viewer a vision of the underyling order of both the cosmos and the natural world . The cyclical movement of heavenly bodies, which Plato described as the ‘music of the spheres’, finds its Earthly reflection in the natural symmetries found throughout nature and most strikingly within the world of flowers, the proportions of which are governed by simple geometric laws.

The origin of the word ‘cosmos’ is adornment (from which we derive the modern word ‘cosmetics’) and the adornment of sacred buildings with both floral and geometric patterns makes the viewer sensitive to the subtle harmonies uniting the natural world around us with the cosmos.

Biomorphic patterns in Islamic art – Tracing the origin

By Marina Alin

Main biomorphic motifs that were inherited by Islamic art from great pre-Islamic artistic traditions can be roughly divided into three groups: tree of life, islimi and flower rosettes. Tree of life is a depiction of a plant with a clear origin, sometimes with fruits and flowers on branches. Islimi pattern is a wavy line, often called ‘vine’, with stylized leaves often turned to spiral, sometimes with flowers, buds, and fruits. Flower rosette is a depiction of a stylized flower, initially in full blossom.

The origins of biomorphic patterns go back to an era of agricultural worship. Agricultural worship was born in the times of nomad settlement and was based on the idea of fertility. Fertility of nature and soil was widely praised and the emerging crops had become a symbol of life. Apart from sprouts there are other elements representing agricultural symbolism: water, nourishing seeded fields, and sky – the source of water, and sun, warming everything. These three elements of fertility were represented in art by wavy lines and circles. Later wavy lines gave way to islimi patterns decorated with leaves and flowers. Circles as solar signs representing the idea of moving – the sun travels in the sky each day and changes its way during the year – were enriched with radiuses to look like spinning wheels. These spinning wheels later developed to flower rosettes. The tree of life represented the idea of an Earth and Heaven connection and the idea of fertility at the same time.

Below are some examples of some islamic tiles I found during my research.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Brief 3 : Wabi-Sabi : Look Books


Catalogue Autumn/Winter 2014


Identity, Strategy, Editorial and Web design for our very own annual magazine-book.

192 pages of shiny content. A limited edition run of 300 copies. Some of the finest contributors in art, journalism, fashion, and photography. This is P MAGAZINE — edited and curated by Face and photographers Cecy Young and Mariana GarcĂ­a — an annual, aesthetic object-book designed as a collector's edition.

The First Book is a vast collection of words and images, a dialogue between flesh and soul that basks in the glorification of universal female beauty, all of it showcased in a raw, visceral aesthetic.

To let the visual experience speak for itself, we kept the design as simple and unobtrusive as possible, focusing on a careful selection of fonts, margins, layouts, and materials that would only enhance it. We kept a tight lid on the quality of the entire product. Be it the packaging, the added goodies (a poster and a tote-bag), the editorial finesse, or the content itself, we made sure that it would all add up to this, our contribution to beauty.