Design & Crafts – International design platform ADORNO presents the digital exhibition ‘Here and there: a Palestinian Collection’ bringing together the works of Palestinian designers as well as the collaborative and diverse world of the territory contemporary design scene. “It’s the first time that a Palestinian design collection is shown together, that I know of.” Says curator, designer and architect and founder of Hollow Forms studio Dima Srouji.
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Here and there: a Palestinian Collection features the work of architects, researchers, fashion designers, and artists both in Palestine and in the Palestinian diaspora who are intersecting physically and virtually due to a flourishing and coalescing Palestinian global and contemporary design scene despite the pandemic.
Palestine is in lockdown, still, Dima Srouji says such condition is quite normal. “We’re used to lockdowns/curfews given the apartheid regime we live under here. We’re also very creative with the limitations we phase.” How will be Palestine after COVID-19? “It might not look very different than occupied Palestine. We will continue to have travel restrictions/checkpoints etc. This is something that the Palestinian design scene is heavily affected by. The virus has just been a dent into what has already affected us so far.”
Srouji believes that a contribution to post COVID-19 Palestine would be a more virtually connected territory that might go beyond physical borders. “I’m curating this collection as an excuse to connect Palestinians in the diaspora with Palestinians in Palestine.” Beside that the curator notes that it is also important not fetishize designers from Palestine simply because they are Palestinian. “We want to take a seat at the table in the global design scene for being good designers.”
Dubai-based Faissal El-Malak’s Spool vase features contemporary motifs inspired by the narrative and talismanic qualities of traditional Palestinian embroidery. “The designs are interpreted in ceramics where the embroidery motifs are used for their binding qualities to attach the layers of earth to each other draping shapes from a larger volume,” says El-Malak.
Hollow Forms’ Alienation glassware collection takes inspiration from the idea of strange objects in contemporary culture and the Palestinian landscape but is also inspired by my return to Palestine after 15 years of alienation. “Playful forms are designed using a 3D architecture software that was used to communicate the design with the glassblowers.”
Moïo Studio, the Berlin-based ceramic art atelier of French-Palestinian artist Maia Beyrouti, has created the Modern Ancestors collection, a series of handmade sculptural vessels all featuring an ultramarine blue lava glaze, which, surprisingly, reveals small spots of gold where the glaze breaks to reveal the clay body underneath. “The collection embodies a desire to hold space for something old that might resurface and be remembered – not only on the personal plane, but also on the ancestral and collective one”.
Made in Jerusalem by Palestinian artist and ceramicist Inas Halabi, the Marbled Palestine collection is inspired by traditional ways of working with clay. The maker mixed and wedged 4 to 5 different types of earthenware, recycled from her studio. “The designs are similar in their earth-like colors, but no piece is like another.”
Local Industries has created a range of seats that blend the traditional with the contemporary. The Mike series comprises stackable lounge chairs, a sofa, a dining chair, and a stool, all made of tubular steel rods. The Khalil chair is inspired by the utilitarian stool found throughout the Arab world. The Holahob powder coated chair is reduced to two offset circles and a leather drape in between. It comes flat packed and explores ways of rendering design accessible in simple and economical ways.
All photos: courtesy of ADORNO.