To enable everyone to learn about Islamic geometric design, regardless of where they live, regardless of background or circumstance.
To establish an education and research institute for Islamic geometric design.
For a design tradition to remain relevant, it has to evolve. It has to be able to provide opportunities for creativity to new generations of designers, architects, artists, and schoolchildren. The creative ethos that inspired so many masterpieces in Islamic art and architecture pushed craftsmen and builders to innovate; to make things that hadn’t been made before.
We teach Islamic geometric design in such a way that it creates a foundation for creativity and innovation. “You need to know the rules before you can break them”
Traditional crafts (Islamic geometric design included) are often perceived as being under threat, and the response is to develop methods to preservation. At the School of Islamic Geometric Design, we also believe in preservation but we believe it is only half the journey. The second part of the journey is reinvigoration. It is about creating an educational curriculum that enables the development of this design tradition; that restores the creative ethos that for centuries allowed and enabled craftsmen and artist to be innovative. Without this creative ethos, we wouldn’t have had the beautiful Mamluk minbars in Cairo, the Seljuks stonework compositions in Anatolia, the Marinid madrassas in Fes and Marrakech, the imposing buildings in Sultaniyya in Iran. or the Itimad ud Daula in Agra, India (to name but a few examples).
Academically, Islamic geometric design does not have a natural home. Art historical research is typically more about architecture and patronage but not about the patterns and compositions themselves. Mathematicians are interested in the subject but reduce the art to line drawings, angles and equations.
There is a need for research into, and documentation of, Islamic geometric compositions and patterns that does not see it through the singular prism of art history, mathematics or spirituality.
The School of Islamic Geometric Design aims to document, conduct and support research. Over a period of 14 centuries, hundreds, if not thousands of compositions and patterns have been created by craftsmen across the Islamic world. Many of these have been lost of the sands of time. Many are still around but undocumented and unanalysed.
About Eric Broug
Eric moved from Holland to the UK to study Islamic geometric design. After a year at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, he moved to SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), where he obtained his Masters in the History of Islamic Art and Architecture.
For more information about Eric and his activities: www.broug.com
For the 2015 CIADA conference Singapore, I made below presentation. In it, I have sought to set out the challenges and opportunities for Islamic geometric design education.
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