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Article

Gordon Campbell

(b Tel Aviv, 1951).

Israeli designer, active in Britain. In 1981 Arad founded, with Caroline Thorman, One Off Ltd, a design studio, workshops and showroom in Covent Garden, London. In 1989, again with Caroline Thorman, he founded Ron Arad Associates, an architecture and design practice in Chalk Farm. In 1994 he established the Ron Arad Studio in Como (Italy). His most famous design is the Rover Chair, which recycled used Rover car seats. He has long had an interest in the use of steel, and the Bookwork bookshelves (...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Alison Manges Nogueira

Monumental, marble paschal Candlestick of the late 12th to early 13th century with reliefs signed by Nicolaus de Angelo and Vassallettus now in S Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome. The imposing column (h. 5.6 m), adorned with six registers of reliefs and surmounted by a fluted candle holder, rests upon a base of sculpted lions, sphinxes, rams and female figures. The upper and lower reliefs bear vegetal and ornamental patterns while the three central registers portray Christ before Caiaphas, the Mocking of Christ, Christ before Pilate, Pilate Washing his Hands, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension. The culminating Easter scenes reflect the paschal candle’s function during the Easter season as a symbol of Christ resurrected, as evoked in an inscription on the base. A second fragmentary inscription refers to the unidentifiable patron’s desire for commemoration. A third inscription identifies Nicolaus de Angelo as the master sculptor and Petrus Vassallettus as playing a secondary role. Both were active in the second half of the 12th to the early 13th century and came from leading families of Roman sculptors: the Vassalletti and Cosmati (Nicolaus’s family). The candlestick is the only work signed by and securely attributed to Nicolaus and the scope of his contribution remains uncertain. A plausible theory attributes the base and first register to Petrus, based upon similarities to works signed by him and ascribed to his family, such as the cloister of S Giovanni in Laterano in Rome and the narthex of S Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome. Nicolaus probably executed the Christological scenes, distinguishable for their more dynamic, expressive figures and decorative chisel work, and appropriate for the master sculptor because of their centrality and significance. Early Christian sarcophagi and Carolingian ivories may have provided models for the figural types. This form of paschal candlestick was probably inspired by Roman columnar monuments carved with triumphal scenes....

Article

Carpet  

Margaret Roberts and Jennifer Wearden

Originally a thick cover for a bed, table etc. From the 16th century the term included knotted carpets from the Middle East; it gradually became exclusively associated with knotted carpets placed on the floor. By the early 18th century other forms of fabric floor covering had assumed the same name. (See also Rug.)

This is considered the quintessential carpet. Woven originally in Asia, such carpets were highly prized and later copied in many parts of Europe. The knots, tied in cut lengths of yarn, the ends of which formed the pile, were inserted during the process of construction, or weaving; they were tied in rows across the warps, each row of knots being separated by one, two, or three picks of weft, laid in as alternate rows of plain weave (see Textile, §II, 1). Hand-knotted carpets can be divided into several categories, according to the knot used; this is, consequently, a means of establishing a carpet’s provenance. There are four types of knot, each type known by several names. The first is the Turkish, Ghiordes, or ...

Article

Chest  

J. W. Taylor

Large box container with a hinged lid. When the lid is domed, or if the chest is reinforced, it can also be known as a coffer. Chests are among the earliest furniture types and commonly served in ancient Egyptian homes as storage for clothing, linen and valuables. The shape and size of these chests often depended on their function. Some types, which could be quite complex, were known during the Old Kingdom (c. 2575–c. 2150 bc) and survived virtually unchanged over the succeeding centuries. The ancient Egyptian chest comprised a rectangular box supported on legs and covered by a lid, which could be flat, gabled, domed or sloping. Cords wound around projecting knobs on the lid and side of the chest held it closed; if necessary, this fastening could be sealed with a lump of mud for greater security. Favoured materials for making chests include native acacia and ...

Article

John Wilton-Ely

Neo-classical style of architectural and interior design; as Egyptomania or Egyptiennerie it reached its peak during the late 18th century and early 19th. Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt (1798) coincided with emerging tastes both for monumental and for richly ornamental forms, enhanced by the literary and associational concerns of Romanticism. Unlike its Greek and Gothic counterparts, the Egyptian Revival never constituted a coherent movement with ethical or social implications. Indeed, since its earliest manifestations occurred in the later Roman Empire, the Revival itself can be seen as one in a series of sporadic waves of European taste in art and design (often linked to archaeological inquiry), acting as an exotic foil to the Classical tradition with which this taste was and remains closely involved (see fig.). On a broader plane of inquiry, the study of Egyptian art and architecture has continued to promote a keen awareness of abstraction in design and a decorative vocabulary of great sophistication. These are among the most enduring contributions of ancient Egypt to Western art and design. ...

Article

Walter Smith

revised by Carla Tilghman

(b Baghdad, Oct 31, 1950; d Miami, FL, Mar 31, 2016).

British architect, designer and teacher, of Iraqi birth. She studied at the Architectural Association, London, from 1972 to 1977 and then joined the Office for Metropolitan Architecture founded by Rem Koolhaas, one of her teachers; there she worked on the Dutch Parliament Building extension (1978), The Hague. In 1979 she opened her own practice in London, designing a flat in Eaton Place that won a gold medal from Architectural Design in 1982. She also began teaching at the Architectural Association (1980–87). During the 1980s she entered several architectural competitions, winning those for the Hong Kong Peak (1983, see fig.), the Kurfürstendamm (1986), Berlin, and for an art and media centre in Düsseldorf (1989). She also designed furniture and interiors (1985) for Bitar, London, and interiors (1990) for the Monsoon Restaurant, Sapporo, Japan. Her work seeks to develop the traditions of Modernism; it is inspired by Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism, but perhaps most profoundly by the Suprematism of Kazimir Malevich: she believed that the possibilities inherent in the work of such figures as Malevich had only begun to be realized. Sometimes described as ‘Neo-Suprematist’ and as resembling spaceships, her designs are typified by fragmented convex geometrical forms that engage and define the space around them, incorporating a Futurist sense of dynamic movement....

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

[Oscar; Oskar]

(b Újszentanna [now Santa Ana, Romania], Feb 2, 1873; d Budapest, Sept 6, 1956).

Hungarian architect and interior designer, active in Germany and Palestine. After studying music in Budapest, he studied architecture at the Technische Hochschule, Karlsruhe, where he obtained his Diploma of Architecture in 1899. In 1900 he settled in Berlin, where he worked first as an interior designer for private clients. Later he specialized in designing theatres and cinemas. In contrast with reform movements, he advocated the strict separation of the stage from the auditorium (the realm of illusion from that of reality), and the traditional arrangement of the auditorium with balconies and intimate boxes. His first major work was the Hebbeltheater (1907–8; with San Micheli Wolkenstein and Albert Weber), Berlin. The almost monolithic severity of the façade and the building’s imposingly dynamic composition are emphasized by the intimate, refined elegance of the interior, a contrast characteristic of his subsequent work. The wall-coverings of silk and wood and the decentralized light-sources combine to create a warm, salon-type interior. Similar designs include the Municipal Theatre (...

Article

Kilim  

[Arab. kilim, klim; Pers. gilim; Turk. kilim]

Flat-woven covering or hanging, usually a weft-faced tapestry-woven rug, produced in the Islamic lands of western Central Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans and North Africa. These non-pile fabrics are often divided into groups known by such terms as jijim (cicim, djidjim, jimjim), zilu (sileh, silé, zilé, sille) and verneh (verné), but these terms may represent various techniques or combinations including tapestry, compound-weaving, brocading and embroidery, or may have limited geographical currency. The divergence between terminology (whether in European or local languages) of the deduced techniques of manufacture (e.g. ‘sumak brocading’) and the observed description of structure (e.g. weft wrapping) has led to widespread confusion in nomenclature. Scholars and dealers have also divided these pieces into such regional groups as Turkish, Caucasian and Persian, and these have been further subdivided by locality or tribe.

Flat-woven fabrics were used for animal trappings (including saddle-bags and covers), sacks, floor coverings, furnishings (including tent fittings, door covers, blankets, and covers for bolsters, pillows and hearth cushions), as well as belts, shawls and funeral shrouds. Most were produced in nomadic or village settings on horizontal or vertical looms. The fabrics range from 2 to 5 m in length and from 1 to 2 m in width. Some are composed of two narrow strips woven in mirror image and sewn together lengthwise. In comparison to pile carpets, which have long been appreciated in the West (...

Article

Morocco  

Article

Gordon Campbell

Ostrich eggs were used as containers in North Africa from the fourth millennium BC, and many decorated examples survive from the Punic civilisation of the first millennium BC. They have been found at Carthage, in Sardinia, Sicily and, especially, in Spain and Ibiza (e.g. Ibiza. Mus. Arqueol.). They were painted with geometric and stylized designs and used as dishes and cups. In the Middle East decorated ostrich eggs have been found in the Royal Cemetery at Ur (2600–2200 bc), in what is now Iraq. In 15th- and 16th-century Europe ostrich eggs were mounted in silver as cups for display, and valued as Kunstkammer curiosities. In sub-Saharan Africa there is a continuous tradition which survives amongst the San (formerly known as ‘Bushmen’) of using ostrich eggshells as water containers, which are sometimes decorated.

D. Conwell: ‘On Ostrich Eggs and Libyans’, Expedition, 29/3 (1987), pp. 25–34 E. Bassani: Réceptacles anciens...

Article

Ottoman  

(furniture and textiles)

In furniture, an ottoman is a low upholstered seat without a back or arms, typically serving also as a box, with the seat hinged to form a lid; it was also called a Turkey sofa. The French term ottomane (or sultane or turquoise) denoted an oval sofa in which one end was raised. In textiles, ottoman was a heavy ribbed fabric made from silk and either cotton or wool....

Article

Sadeli  

Gordon Campbell

Article

[Sa‛id, ‛Isam Sabaḥ al-]

(b Baghdad, Sept 7, 1938; d London, Dec 26, 1988).

Iraqi architect, painter and designer. The grandson of the Iraqi prime minister Nuri el-Said (d 1958), he studied architecture in England at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1958–61), and attended Hammersmith College of Art and Design, London (1962–4). From the early 1960s he incorporated sentences and words in kufic and other scripts into his paintings. He designed the interior of the Central Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre in London (1976–7), and he was consultant to PPA Ltd of Canada for the Abdul Aziz University master plan in Jiddah (1977–8) and to TYPSA Ltd of Spain for the Imam Saud Islamic University master plan in Riyadh (1978–9). In Baghdad he designed the Aloussi Mosque (1982–8) and al-Aboud Mosque (1984). In addition to his paintings in oil and watercolour he worked with such materials as paleocrystal (a transparent material made of polyester resin) and enamel on aluminium. His ...

Article

Mark Allen Svede

(b nr Cēsis, April 28, 1896; d Tbilisi, Georgia, July 14, 1944).

Latvian painter, printmaker, ceramicist, interior designer, tage and film set designer and theorist. He was the foremost ideologue for modernism in Latvia and was one of its greatest innovators. His militant defence of avant-garde principles befitted his experience as a soldier and as one of the artists who, after World War I, was denied a studio by the city officials and staged an armed occupation of the former premises of the Riga Art School. At the end of the war he painted in an Expressionist manner: In Church (1917; Riga, priv. col., see Suta, 1975, p. 19), for example, is an exaltation of Gothic form and primitivist rendering. Unlike his peers Jāzeps Grosvalds and Jēkabs Kazaks, he was extremely interested in Cubism and Constructivism, the theories of which informed his paintings, drawings, prints and occasional architectural projects of the 1920s. At this time he and his wife, the painter ...

Article

Monique Riccardi-Cubitt

French term used to describe artefacts made in Turkey, or in France by Turkish craftsmen, and by derivation the influence on French design of elements from the Byzantine Empire, the Saljuq Islamic period and the Ottoman Empire. Specific motifs, borrowed from the original Turkish carpets, included arabesques or stylized flowers and vegetal scrolls and decorative animal forms—also included within the generic term ‘grotesques’—from the Renaissance onwards. From the Middle Ages inventories and accounts record objects façon de Turquie imported from the East through the Crusades or the Silk route. In the accounts (1316) of Geoffroi de Fleuri, treasurer to King Philippe V of France, ‘11 cloths of Turkey’ were noted, and in 1471 the inventory of the château of Angers records a wooden spoon and a cushion ‘à la façon de Turquie’. In the 16th century Turkish textiles were highly prized, and Turkish craftsmen were employed in Paris to embroider cloth for ladies’ dresses: in ...