Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meditative Spaces

In the [Interior Architectural Design 1] course, I gave my students a project to design a meditative space.
The restrictions they had to work with were:
:: The dimension of the interior space was 3X3X3 m cube. The walls are made of concrete.
:: They have to come up with one meditative act that your space will contain… this act should reflect their personality.
:: They have to design the interior of this space including lighting, walls, ceiling and floor finishes, and any furniture used.
:: They have to design their own openings including the entrance to the space.

The reason behind this project is that I wanted students to get the essence of interior spaces which are light and color. And for them to go to the basics I chose meditation function because it is going to the basic and the specific. The main challenge of this project was to employ minimalism as a design approach, which for second year students is still too hard.

I wanted them to work with one specific concept that will tie all their design decisions together and justify them.

And yesterday they had submitted their project after almost 5 weeks of work...

= Ridab Soudani | The Golden Cage
In her project, Ridab chose the act of sitting in a cozy, enclosed way on her self. She chose the metaphor of a woman womb. The idea of rebirth was manifested in her entrance and exit to the space through a narrow tunnel.
She used the idea of layers as well to represent the concept of a protective cage...
One of the layers was tubular skylight that permits daylight into the space.
Ridab was successful in creating an experience within her space with a good start and end... but I think she could've manipulated more the mid of the experience.

= Dalia Musleh
In her project Dalia chose the act of watching the stars as her act of meditation.
She played around the idea of creating a space defined by light. She created a central circle on the floor where she would sit or lay surrounded by a light diffused by green calcite stone. Above her another circle of stars painted by glow-in-the-dark paints to represent the milky way... around this circle is a band of candles lights...
Her main down point is in having a static view instead of changeable views of the sky.

= Ruba Yaghmour | Poetic Wall
In her project, Ruba choose the act of writing poetry as her meditation. Her space consists of two facing walls one with famous quotes she likes and one with her own poetry pinned arbitrarily on the wall... her other two facing walls are a mirror wall with the door hidden in it and a stripped windows to give allow daylight and air.... in the middle of her space is her couch where she sits and writes and above her a chandeler created from crystals to give various reflections on the surfaces of the space.
Her work might seem not very minimalistic in its nature and she could have worked on joining more elements together. Also she could have played more on the concept of poetic architecture... using her text in a 3D way... and playing more with text, light and shadows....

= Mudaffar Moaitah | Hubbly Bubbly
For his meditation, Mudaffar chose smoking hubbly bubbly... An unconventional act but a legitimate one when freedom rules. Mudaffar had a challenge of creating a minimal space but yet incorporate tradition. In some points he did by using a recess in the floor for wood burning. But when it came to his other furniture he had a problem. His central "fire" square should have been reflected more boldly to the ceiling by creating a ceremonial duct for the smoke. Lighting as well was put with no deep consideration of the spirit of the place.

= Shadia Jaber
In her project, Shadia worked on the idea of staring at the outside view. She wanted to approach Japanese architecture but she was very timid in doing that. Her wide window was outlined by a vibrant orange frame to emphasize on it as her focal point. But the rest of the room did not play the same tune. Another interesting feature of her work is the painting with the Japanese script saying "Beauty". But once again this worked only on the visual side with no deeper consideration for its real meaning. Her work could have been developed into a more interesting output.

= Farah Hamdan
In her project, Farah chose the act of reading as her meditative act. Her design is simply a safe design. Visually it has no real faults and to some could be seen appealing. But conceptually it doesn't have the strong impact of stimulating the mind. She had a start in creating zones for the different stages of reading... but she didn't take it to the maximum and turn it into a ceremony. She also didn't play very well on the minimalistic approach. But she had thought of certain details quite well.

= Amina Hassan | Illusion
In her project, Amina wanted to create the sense of floating to induce the mind to relax and meditate. In order to do that she created a mirroring tiles and a glassed ceiling... thus upon entering the space you will see the sky, its reflection and you suspended in between. Her couch was made of glass and white linen. Her only problem was the lack of designing the walls... Her walls don't speak well with this strong approach.

= Sara Khatib
Sara Chose water as her playing medium. But she took another "bold" decision of changing her whole work two days prior the deadline. Her output was relatively poor. She had good ideas of how she wanted the person to feel the presence of water and how it can help her to relax and enter into a meditative state. But as I said she didn't have enough time to develop her [new] ideas into mature design.

Over all the students took a huge step from their previous way of thinking into a minimalistic way of thinking... They could have worked harder on the details in general and on making their designs more mature.
The issue of timidity is obvious and also of commitment.
I hope in their next project we can work on these two things.

Also a point made by one of the Jury members; Ola Sawae was of letting the students think of the exterior with the interior... giving hints on the outer walls of what is happening inside their meditative boxes. I have to say I wanted students to focus more on the inside since this is their first interior design project. However this is a a valid point that I will keep in mind.

:: Originally post on SABE Reconnaissance...

1 comment:

poshlemon said...

Loved this post...

I liked Ruba Yaghmur's work though I felt that it was far from 'minimalism' which was better employed through the works of Ridab Soudani, Shadia Jaber, and Farah Hamdan. But, conceptually, it is very interesting. I, too, would have loved to see it be developed further more with more consideration for the concept.