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Wednesday, July 15, 2020


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Tarek Khoury

Tarek Khoury
Ibrik: Invigorating Cultural Heritage Within a Contemporary Context Through Redesign

The ibrik is a traditional Lebanese spouted water vessel with ties to Lebanese cultural heritage. Its production started as early as the Phoenician period in the Mediterranean area. While this object was once common to every household in Lebanon, today the ibrik is rarely used as intended. It either no longer exists or serves merely as decoration. The following project aims to redesign the ibrik through its animated cultural heritage as a craft and as a drinking vessel by embedding it with a contemporary visual dynamism.

This project follows a conceptual framework that diagrams the main factors, concepts and variables that are studied as well as the relationships among them. My background in motion design and digital media play an integral roll in adding a new dimension to product design. Additionally, motion design and digital media are embedded within several design stages of the framework used. Initially a substantial background research of the ibrik’s history and current use is conducted. This includes interviews with craftsmen, historians, and anthropologists knowledgeable about the ibrik in Lebanon. Filmed reenactments of the ibrik being made and used aided to capture, in particular, the movement of the ibrik and the water it contains. Frame-by-frame analysis, the extraction of key frames from the films and the implementation of digital 3D vertex structures facilitated core new forms to work with. Digital 3D vertex structures are then fused and prototyped versions of the ibrik are 3D printed, tested and refined.

Filming throughout the entire process serve as a key form of documentation. Essential aspects of consideration are continuous functionality, ergonomics, aesthetics and interactivity. Finally, multiple versions of the ibrik come to fruition through a designed application. This application blends 3D vertexes automatically generating variations of the ibrik. The result is a succession of altered but recognizable ibriks. Such multiplicity appeals to current inclinations towards in one-of-a-kind objects. These new ibriks are static forms yet their structure is reworked to embed them with visual dynamism. Through rippled, angled and offset concentric alterations these ibriks take contemporary sculptural qualities. Their forms allude to the ibrik’ kinetics in relation to its culturally significant origins and use. In conclusion, the ibrik is only one of many traditional Lebanese objects currently becoming extinct within Lebanese culture. This project is potentially applicable to other traditional Lebanese objects as well as to traditional objects from other countries suffering a similar deculturalisation.