Abeer Abu Ras, a Saudi interior designer, plastic artist and researcher, is influenced by the local environment which she reflects through her work. In the following dialogue, the designer talks about the inscriptions that distinguish the art of classical Saudi design, and how to derive from the decorative patterns to the regions of the Kingdom, and the rest of these inscriptions in the contemporary Saudi home?
The decorations are many shapes and patterns in Islamic art; What is the nature of the design motifs with many flowers in the Saudi heritage interior architecture?
The environment and the elements present in it, whether plants or not, have a great impact on the design, and the decorations, colors and elements it contains. Man is influenced by what is around him, whether in nature or as a result of his contact with people from different civilizations. For example, in the traditional Saudi interior architecture, women in the Asir region decorate the roofs of houses with multiple shapes and colors that reflect the nature of the place and the elements present in it by Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, the art that shows adornments that continue women’s creativity in design, choosing colors and merging with each other. In addition, the wooden doors in traditional Saudi architecture differ in patterns of decoration and colors between regions, and they reflect a different identity for each region. The plant motifs of palm leaves and fronds, rosettes of various shapes and sizes, and the inscription motifs also represent some of the patterns repeated in traditional Saudi architecture.
There are also stucco decorations, within the framework of the arts found in traditional architecture, and in interior spaces, such as: Al-Wajar, which is the place for preparing coffee in the councils, and note that some elements of stucco decorations based on Islamic art, and some of these inscriptions are formed in frames bearing decorative units within, single or repeating. In general, traditional architecture is inspired by themes and materials from the environment and the local environment.
How are these decorations divided by Saudi regions?
The decorations vary in the regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; In this context, Al-Qatt Al-Asiri notes, as I said, the art dominated by geometric lines, and the wood roshan in the Hijaz region, which is inspired by multiple patterns and decorations, such as: Islamic geometric motifs, and the doors in the Najd region which in their decoration are affected by elements of the environment, such as: flowers and plants, Show aesthetics through drilling, ironing, coloring and other techniques. It is worth noting that the texture of some decorations is a repetition of the drawings of triangles, squares, lines and overlapping circles to create various aesthetic patterns and inscriptions, in addition to the petals, star shapes, oblique inscriptions and the sharp-angled inscriptions. refractory decoration that occurs within the framework of traditional wood carving, and note that some decorations are executed by nails on the wood. Geometric decorations also appear, with their straight, parallel, circular and zigzag lines, as well as interwoven and overlapping circles, triangles and squares, covering spaces with mastery and skill. It is made of wood and metal…
Textiles, wood carvings and stucco work
What remains of these decorations in the design of the contemporary Saudi home?
Decorative units are still visible in many elements of contemporary homes, such as: fabric, wood carvings and plastering… There are also some traditional products that are still used in homes, such as: carpets, wicker products and sadu (traditional Bedouin weaving) . Some also imitate traditional decorations by adding them to the designs of the Majlis. The stucco reliefs are also painted in the interior design, and are skillfully executed by craftsmen. In addition, the traditional woodwork and elements of the Hejaz region appear, such as windows and others.
How do you reflect the heritage environment in your work?
As an interior designer and visual artist, I see that the most beautiful works of art and design are those that mimic and are influenced by the surrounding environment. At the beginning of my artistic career, my works imitated reality and displayed various traditional elements, such as: jewelry and traditional architectural elements, such as: gates and triangles. Then I began to tend towards abstraction in my work, with the proximity of various environmental elements, such as: the palm tree and its parts and lines. My first solo exhibition was to show a group of paintings of artistic studies of the palm tree as a design element. I also worked on research projects to study the impact of some environmental elements such as: plants on the users of the indoor environment. I am currently investigating the effect of some local natural elements on individuals.