Making a Mangour display half II

published on July 3, 2020

My name is Ahmed Sami Angawi

I'm originally from Mecca and I live in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

I'm a product designer and maker I like to make stuff with my hands

Since the beginning I was always
been interacting with craftmen

and always been looking to work with them

I felt I wanted to go to the essence of making

so that's why the route of craftsmen came along

I've been doing this craft and teaching it back home in the old city

There is a way to document and analyze
and then innovate

and that's been the process of my making of things

is just to document them the way they are,

analyse them geometrically

and the way it's making and then develop ways to

innovate within tradition in the order of balance

once you understand the structure of any craft

you can, you know,you can innovate

Those screens are assembled together without using nail or glue

so the cuts have to be very precise

otherwise you will not have this joint perfectly coming
in together

Everything had to be finished with the chisel,

everything had to be cut with the hand in the end

When we are working we always have to find a way to perfect each cut

So we as a group, each one of us focused on a specific cut

and by time you perfect it

That's the craftsman, he is a maker who makes things,
a beautiful object

but after you do it, after a while

he become crafted at it

he become a craftsman

and that needs time

that needs time and repetition

and to be always conscious and aware of what you do

so in a way what we did it as a group, each one of us was focused in a specific cut

and he's naturally perfecting it because

he's doing it day after day after day

We started working with makers here

in London and I really wanted to involve

them in the project because it first of

all is a great pleasure to work with

such talents and to have this kind of

exchange of knowledge that he used to

happen in Mecca from the craftsmen from

different part of the world

So we had people from Germany, people from Korea,

people from Iraq, people from London of

course, and it was a nice diverse group

That each one of us had a certain way

of doing things and a technique and

profession, that we learned from one

another so it's a wonderful experience

for us; making those screens

Mecca is always considered as the heart
of the Islamic civilization

and I really wanted to work with this concept

meaning that the idea of inhale and exhale

Mecca has inhaled from cultures around the world

and also exhaled its own

Culture is always based in this diversity you can see it in our architecture,

you can see it in our food, you can see it even our
own genetic blood

you know there's a lot of diversity in there

and we take pride in that

We celebrate the diversity and unity that we have

I saw the two windows opposing one another in the tradition gallery

I immediately thought of a dialog between those two

it has to be something that relates to what I'm talking about Mecca being the heart

and I'm also walking into any museum or any gallery

you always look at the objects and art pieces with your mind and heart,

with your mind you can see how the craft was made,

what techniques were used

what's the material

With the heart, if you're passionate about the culture,

you completely connect with it

So we have this idea of dialogue between the heart and mind

and in many different cultures so I thought of each time the person visit

can say he can always reflect on this idea

Each one of those screens has openings and those openings

we either call them units or I prefer to call them letters

It's the same idea with letters when you

compose letters together to come up with words

and you compose words together come up with sentences

and for me it all falls within the grammar of Islamic architecture

it's all part of the element

If I start calling them letters and then composing and made sure

that each one of those units have a

different, I wanted to show you the view

that we have so much variation, you know,

this is only just a few and there's some

of them are hybrid, meaning that two units

together develop this new interesting shape

and I saw that also part of the tradition that the craft

used to make it with that kind of concept

so I felt very comfortable to to go in that direction

since it also has been documented
have been shown in old houses

and again move move with it and develop
many different variations

I come up with so many variations because I was very excited

At the same time I wanted to have the ideal screens there

Something representing my country,

my culture, and also for the viewers to see

that this is how you used to be and this

is what the different variations of it

Nowadays we only look at appearance and

how things looks rather than the process

how they develop and if it follows an ethics of making

So I wanted to merge between design, craft and technology

and find a way that they can work together

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