AMMAN – Between the 4th and the 12th of October, Jabal Amman was glamorized by the creative and innovative products of local and international designers. The displayed works were the product of two years of preparation, where Amman Design Week (ADW) worked closely with participants to create marvelous installations and experimental pieces focusing on the possibilities of materials.

One of the most distinctive exhibitions of ADW is the Crafts District which was held at The Kabariti Village in Jabal Amman this year and was curated by Arini.

The district is an integral part of ADW. This year we have seen a more experimental approach to it. This was clearly seen at the Min Ilā exhibition, where visitors were given an insight into the journey of materials from their natural form to their composite states.

Min Ilā features experimental materials, prototypes and end products of different forms, shapes and industries ranging from Fashion Design to Sculpture.

Fish Tail Lamps by Omar Qubain and Hussein Beydoun as seen at Min Ilā, image courtesy of Amman Design Week.

When first walking into the exhibition, we are greeted by Omar Qubain and Hussein Beydoun’s Fish Tail Lamps. The pendant lamp is made from CNC milled out of Swedish pine wood which was hand finished in Jordan. On a table, blocks of wood are showcased, showing the differences between wood treatment techniques and finishes. This gave visitors an idea about how the process makes a difference when it comes to the end product.

Main hall at Min Ilā showing work by Andre Mcheileh, Safieh Hatough, Paola Farran and Fadi Zumot, image courtesy of Arini.

The main hall of the exhibition included a number of products created by multiple participants including Sama El Saket, Paola Farran, Andre Mcheileh and Safieh Hatough who all manipulated clay into their work. The latter three designers were also part of ADW’s Innovation Crafts Lab where designers were invited to experiment with clay and glassblowing techniques. The hall also included Fadi Zumot’s Mojahara, which is an experimental fashion design project made out of different parts of a mattress.

General Image of Material Innovation Lab at Min Ilā, courtesy of Amman Design Week.

The first room of the exhibition showcases the results of a workshop initiated by Amman Design Week in collaboration with the Goethe Institute entitled Textile Innovation Lab I – Material Innovations. The project as a whole was initiated due to designers’ and artists’ growing interest in the industry of textile and material innovation and a need to find sustainable solutions to materials.

The exhibition showcased innovative, sustainable, and alternative materials that can be produced and used in textile application. Participants at this exhibition are Annette Fauvel, Katja Lonzeck, Sama Shahrouri, Christin Mannewitz, Lisa Schreiber and Twelve Degrees Design Studio.

Annette Fauvel shows samples of paper, bioplastic and Kombucha leather materials she has created along with small tags outlining their recipes.

Material Walls by Lisa Schreiber and Katja Lonzeck respectively, courtesy of Arini.

Katja went on a quest to find reasonable solutions for making Kombucha scobies more applicable into textiles, while Lisa Schreiber experimented with dozens of different bioplastic recipes to find one best resulting in a water resistant surface to be applied in fashion design. Twelve Degrees showcased experiments and prototypes that led them to create their Made From Jordan bench which was exhibited at The Hangar exhibition created from palm and olive mill waste.  Sama Shahrouri a sculptress, incorporated the new bioplastic materials into her art making process and showed how the different materials interact differently when cast in one form.

Lena Kassicieh’s Pattern Play, image courtesy of Arini. 

The next room of Min Ilā, included Lena Kassicieh’s pattern design for textile. Alongside Lenas textile work, the exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to create their own patterns on textiles and papers for their own personal use. The stamps used by the visitors were all made from excess wooden blocks with a linoleum cut pasted on its side. Lena here invites audiences to not only consider the possibilities of printmaking, but also the possibilities of tool making. 

Najla’a Abdallah’s furniture at Min Ilā, courtesy of Amman Design Week.

In the same room, we see Najla’a Abdallah‘s Aleia. A furniture piece that offers a new, innovative and contemporary approach to the traditional rocking chair. Najla’a experimented with the posture, user interaction and form of the familiar rocking chair to create a mesmerizing piece of furniture with a base made of plywood and hardwood. Najla’a also had another piece on display called Nisf, which is a minimalist metal stool with an adjustable back support that also works as a handle for the chair.

Sakeb pen at Min Ilā, image courtesy of Arini.

Moving to the last room of Min Ilā we are welcomed by yet another different material and approach to handling it. Sakeb is a project by Raghad Saqfalhait and Marian Dahabreh that aims to introduce new and unexpected forms of Terrazo, described on Wikipedia as “a composite material poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable material, poured with a cementitious binder, polymeric, or a combination of both”.  Thus, exploring the relationship between material, form and function. Sakeb in particular, experimented with the design of monolithic pen design. Therefore when walking into the room one is struck by the beautiful, primitive design of the Terrazo pens.

General image from Min Ilā showing In Doi, Kaarim Design District and Turrabi, courtesy of Arini.

In doi‘s exhibited marble collection was also very hard to miss with its different patterns and fine craftsmanship. The work was meant to highlight the beauty of the marble and granite materials used with their natural colours and textures emerging in different patterns. The beauty of the collection lies in the way the natural textures are transformed with the design, allowing the visitors of the exhibition to envision new ways in which the used materials can be transformed through fine craftsmanship and adequate design.

More nods to the traditional were showcased in Kaarim Design District’s Terrazzo inspired traditional raw rattan weaving and Turrabi’s clay plates decorated with hand-carved tatreez patters.

With beautiful curation and a wonderful atmosphere, the showcased work was highlighted beautifully in Min Ilā. The exhibition was definitely a wonderful addition to the crafts district in Amman Design Week this year and we sure hope to see similar exhibitions in the upcoming editions of the week.

Read more from Lubna Aqel.
Image courtesy indicated in captions.