Muqarnas Design Research

Interconnected Designer/ Filmmaker
Ministeriums für Kultur und Wissenschaft NRW
My Role
Project Time
Persian Aesthetics, Persian Philosophy, Girih Design
Entire project from research to visual language development
2 years
Project Overview
The idea started with a personal issue, including me, wanting to contribute to society and raising questions about women, cultural heritage, and contributions. An artist whose works destabilize heterogeneous toward creating universality.
I wrote three winning grant proposals for the Muqarnas design project granted by Ministeriums für Kultur und Wissenschaft NRW. Having modernized and metamorphosed geometric drawings of Muqarnas, I created three urban sculpture sketches inspired by its structure and a documentary film based on its philosophy.
Muqarnas is a distinctive feature of Islamic architecture. It is a vaulting system composed of replicating units that are arranged in layers such that each supports the other.
Research Goal
Studying Muqarnas' structure, geometry, and ornament was a project goal. The goal of the project has been achieved in two phases: Research Study and Artistic Practice. I studied reference books, took practical courses, and investigated Persian literature and philosophy.
Research Study & Questions
1. What is Muqarnas, and what does it mean? What are its features?
2. How does Muqarnas, as a Visual language, communicate with audiences?
Persian literature and philosophy are valuable resources to grasp Persian aesthetics and its changes over time. Therefore, I allocated a considerable portion of my time studying its pinnacles, such as Ghazalliat of Saadi, Haft Paykar of Nizami Ganjavi, and the Revival of Religious Sciences of Al-Ghazali. Persian literature and philosophy reflect the framework of ideas and beliefs forming a global description through which a culture watches the world, interprets, and interacts.
Artistic Practice & Questions
1. How is its geometric structure designed and built?
2. How do its ornaments as visual elements designed?
Geometric Structure
The geometric structure and ornament of Muqarnas provide a unique visual language, representing its aesthetics connected to its ideology and worldview. In addition, I studied the references to Muqarnas' structure and geometry, including the practical geometry manuals in the tenth century by Abu al-Wafa' Buzjani.
Discovering the design method of Muqarnas is a learning-by-doing process for me. I tried to update it while staying true to Muqarnas aesthetic system. Throughout discovering the design method, playing with its potential and joy, I produced a series of black and white drawings inspired by my poetry as a whisper.
Critical Question
I allocated a considerable portion of my time to focus on this question: How does Muqarnas, as a Visual language communicate with the local or non-local audience?
Deep Dive
I continued to study Iranian Geometry, The Genesis of the Western Ego, Public Art and the Publicity of Art. I came up with the idea that Iranian geometry has a great relationship with the concept of femininity. I, therefore, allocated a considerable portion of my time to studying it in Persian and western Philosophers' thoughts, such as Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi and Friedrich Nietzsche.
The Muqarnas design provides a unique visual language, representing its aesthetics connected to its ideology and worldview. Through discovering its design and communication methods with a local and non-local audience, I produced a documentary film inspired by the diversity and juxtaposition of forms and the concept of pluralism to unity in Muqarnas on intercultural dialogue.
The form and content of Muqharnas' design have yet to be renewed for today's life, reducing its efficiency in contemporary life. It represents only a stunning beauty that belongs to the past and tradition, which we no longer can understand its existential necessity. I believe that the wisdom and intellect behind the Muqarnas, specially Girih (knots) design is still what we need as meaning in our life.
The project's mission is to depict a future in which tradition, modernity, and technology provide an opportunity to approach and recognize different human beings to improve people's quality of life. Remember that respecting diversity in species leads to respecting the environment and protecting nature and, eventually, the earth, our home.
The project's perspective is to create a series of public sculptures influenced by the Muqarnas design method as a symbol of dialog, transformation, and diversity in transforming societies.