Palestinian architect Dima Srouji launches new range inspired by traditional glassblowing

Palestinian architect Dima Srouji has released a new range of vessels called Hollow Forms, inspired by traditional glassblowing.

Having worked with glassblowers from the West Bank village of Jaba’, the range was revealed at Amman Design Week this past week.

Worried about the waning condition of the craft, Srouji used Hollow Forms to introduce Palestinian glassblowers to contemporary design approaches. According to Dezeen, the craftsmen worked from her 3D renderings to create abstract vessels inspired by the Levant landscape.

“The glass blowing industry in Palestine is one of the most beautiful and technically advanced local traditions,” Srouji said. “The tradition has managed to survive for the last seven centuries; however, due to the fragility of the political context and the fragility of the material itself, the exportation of the products has decreased dramatically in recent years.”

“To revive this tradition, the concept of this project is to experiment with more contemporary forms and collaborate with the craftsmen in the area to produce a provocative exhibition. The goal is to highlight the cultural heritage while maintaining the current global standard of product design.”

Srouji teamed up with Ali and Marwan Twam, who taught her the glassblowing method known as lampworking – an approach that uses a burner torch to soften and sculpt the glass.

The appearance of the finished vessels were also inspired by Srouji’s architecture studies at Yale University under Peter Eisenman and Greg Lynn.

“Like Piranesi’s Campo Marzio, which Tafuri calls ‘the absolute disintegration of formal order’, this experiment looks at what the relationship of these figures are to each other, and they can create a heterogeneous field,” Srouji said.

“I’m poking a little bit at formalism by using inspiration from the Palestinian land, the history of the craft, and the people I’m working with. I try to evoke the spirit of the place while giving the forms some agency. Piranesi produced a virtual Rome outside of its real time and space, and with this inspiration, I visualise Palestine as a series of strange hollow forms — a kind of fantasy.”

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