Kuwaiti graphic designer Mohammad Sharaf serves up powerful pictures based on current events, salted with modern Middle Eastern humor and instantly provocative.
Archive by category Fashion & Design
Eco design from the Middle East comes in surprising packages. Read this section for the best eco fashion and eco design items we find from the Middle East North Africa region.
Tel Aviv’s Nir Meiri recently unveiled Marine Light – a curious lamp shade made entirely of seaweed wrapped around a spindly metal frame. Eaten by coastal people all over the world and prized for its gelatinous and nutritional properties (see bottled algae superfood), and its use is being investigated for seaweed as biofuel, marine algae is harvested [...]
The only thing more abundant than sun in the Middle East and North Africa is sand. Used in the production of Markus Kayser’s 3D printer and to make Algerian building bricks, sand is useful for a host of applications – including lighting.
For the entire month of May, the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) is celebrating Tunisia in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and this weekend it’s souk time – in NYC’s upper east side. From May 8-10, a host of Tunisian crafts and food items will make their big city debut at the Tinker auditorium on [...]
A tiny collective of rural women at the southern tip of the Dead Sea in Safi is creating art that’s omni-sustainable. Since 1999, with catalytic infusions from a remarkable Canadian painter, this Jordanian sisterhood has been crafting unusual “eco” fabric items bespoke to their salty seaside village.
It’s true that a preponderance of Muslim women are shrouded in unflattering chadors and hijabs that hardly permit a crack of light, but American women are turning to more fashionable (and environmentally friendly) ways to achieve the modesty called upon by their Islamic faith. Founded in order to promote a culture of peace and tolerance [...]
Here’s a design that rivals the light bulb in its ingenuity: the Window Socket. The disc-like socket designed by the Korean duo Kyuho Song and Boah Oh has a base of mini solar panels and a suction cup that ensures effective adhesion to virtually any transparent glass surface that is exposed to the sun. The [...]
Inspired by an Indian tradition of serving chai tea in clay cups, Israel’s Adital Ela has designed Terra – an entire line of interiors made out of nothing but foot-stomped earth! A TED fellow with a love of nature and Iraqi roots, Ela told Fastco Design that she was fascinated that once tea is drained in [...]
We love the creative eco design coming out of Tel Aviv. Israel faces nationwide challenges of mismanaged waste and insufficient recycling infrastructure, but from the deserts of Morocco to the streets of Tel Aviv, artists like Yotam Shifroni and Gidi Gilam are seeking solutions through creativity. Around four months ago, Shifroni and Gilam opened Studio Sfog in Tel Aviv. Sfog means “sponge” [...]
If we only listened to mainstream media, we would know Beirut as a city full of bullet holes, terrorists and Syrian refugees – all of which are unfortunate realities in the densely populated capital of Lebanon, which borders both Israel and Syria. But it is also home to some of the world’s most interesting artists, designers, [...]
Israeli street artist Nitzan Mintz writes her poems on the streets of Tel Aviv, using disregarded materials she collects from dumpsters and public spaces. “I use only recycled materials in my art,” she said.
Angelina Jolie funds girls’ schools in Afghanistan with the proceeds of her luxury jewelry line. Hollywood actress and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), Angelina Jolie is building girls-only primary schools throughout the country. One particular school, which opened last November, educates about 300 girls and is located outside Kabul in [...]
“This is not a romance story,” Daniella told me during a recent interview. I met the petite woman at her home on Lamu Island in northern Kenya to speak with her husband, Ali Lamu, whose name is synonymous with a brand of upcycled dhow sails or tangas that are now distributed throughout the world. Daniella [...]
Irish artist David Thomas Smith weaves thousands of Google Maps screen grabs into intricate designs mimicking Persian rugs. Look closer, and these symmetrical compositions reveal global landscapes transformed by mankind. Imagine a carpet made up of aerial satellite images of modern infrastructure: concrete roads and rooftops replacing fiber weft and warp. See this artist’s “rug” [...]
Want to go from one high fashion look to a completely different one without getting undressed? Hussein Chalayan is a high-end transformer clothing designer. Turkish Cypriot Hussein Chalayan’s double-duty dresses are sensual and slightly sustainable: two-in-one haute couture arrives in a single shipment. London-based designer Chalayan unveiled a line of tranformative clothing in the runways of [...]
A new Amman clothing retailer is hitting all the green lights on the fashion runway: Yours & Mine makes sustainability chic, selling locally sourced, recycled garments in a virtual store. I’ve been stylin’ used clothes for decades: it’s old hat in New York City to personalize your wardrobe with key finds from an Army & [...]
Plastic bottle cap picture by Mary Ellen Croteau The caps are synthetic artifacts, plastic products that usually aren’t (and more often, can’t be) recycled. Self-described political artist Mary Ellen Croteau explores absurdities of social norms, exposing the “underlying bias and sexist assumptions on which culture is constructed. So says her website, but her amazing artworks also [...]
Armed with knitting needles, Israelis and Palestinians are knitting for peace! The TikkunTree Project is a community knittivist art project dedicated to advocacy of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. This ambitious community art project is growing a tree, an enormous knitted tree whose fiber leaves and fruits and branches will shelter doves made of yarn: [...]
Laurie recycles a Jordanian political poster into a handbag. Here’s how she does it. Voting is underway for Jordan’s Parliament. I’m not running, but I have this one in the bag! Hundreds of posters are hanging along Amman roadways; a somber assemblage of Middle Eastern manhood, mostly mustachioed. No wonder there’s tension in the lead-up [...]
Four small businesses, starting as street vendors, offer up made-in-Jordan artwork with heart. I’m a gift-giving locavore, preferring artifacts sourced or created wherever I happen to call home. Jordan offers amazing experiences ranging from ancient sites to eco-tours, but if you want a simple souvenir with youth appeal the kingdom falls flat. I stumbled across four [...]
It’s cold in Jordan, and recent extreme weather threw an icy blanket over my neighbors in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and Syria. A thaw is expected tomorrow, but how to stay warm today? Middle Eastern men who follow strict Jewish and Muslim teachings have built-in winter defenses in the form of thick facial hair. I can’t grow a [...]
A few short decades ago, the ladies of Lakiya had a very different life. Their traditional Bedouin clans lived in encampments throughout the Israeli Negev Desert, herding animals. When their families were relocated to government-built towns, the women became aware of how their illiteracy, and their society’s rule against mingling with men who are not [...]
The year in retrospect has been a positive one. Despite civil unrest, dangerous regimes, and appalling environmental crimes and neglect, there are good green things afoot for the Middle East. Today we recap some of our green leaders of 2012, the people of the Middle East and for the Middle East who have made 2012, [...]
It is almost certain that a new green wall installed in Kuwait is the emirate’s very first. The 175 square foot vertical garden was installed in The Avenue Mall’s West Elm store to mark the first time the American furnishings company has opened an international branch. Featuring resilient plants as diverse as Dracaena, White Butterfly, [...]
Holiday shopping can be challenging for an ex-pat in the Middle East, but need it also be horrifying? In Jordan, import duties bloat retail prices. Clay pots and intricate mosaics are too unwieldy to mail, and puppies gestate in less time than it takes for a package to ship back to the States. With [...]
Despite the many stereotypes about residents of Gulf countries, many people prefer creative, sustainable boutiques to shopping in big glitzy malls, though their options are typically fairly limited. Which might explain why Bahrain’s Market 338 has become such a popular destination. Inaugurated by Al Riwaq Art Space, the temporary souq in Manama’s Adliya district started with [...]
Whether your sandy reminiscences are wet or dry, two artists have devised ways to make your memories tangible. My brain inextricably links sand to sea thanks to 25 summers spent on a New Jersey barrier island. Middle East experiences have me now connecting the grainy stuff to locations and memories largely devoid of water, such [...]
What can graphic design do to help tackle environmental degradation? Well, these Iranian designers think a lot. Exploring the nexus where art and nature meet, Iranian designers look at the environmental problems riddling their cities and the innovative ways they can resolve them. Whether it’s reducing the use of cars, discussing the place of graphic [...]
Nobody wants to see rubbish littering the magical Sahara desert, unless of course it belongs to WE MAKE CARPETS. The Dutch collective has been arranging ordinary household objects into dazzling carpets for a few years now, but their most recent installation commissioned by the Taragalte Festival in southern Morocco is among their finest. Made entirely out [...]
Swedish retail company H&M recently announced an upcoming clothes recycling venture, starting in February 2013. The fashion recycling campaign will span 48 nations, including the company’s Israeli franchises. This will make H&M the first chain to execute a global textile-recycling venture. H&M is expected to choose two of its Israeli branches to lead the pilot program.
Concerned to reconnect hands and minds and make a worthwhile environmental impact, a few women from Saudi Arabia are crocheting recycled plastic bags into colorful bean bags and other quality crafts. The founder of Ateeq, which is Arabic for vintage, Diane Rayyan teamed up with crochet master Ishrat Khawja to hold a two day “trocheting” [...]
Greenpeace tapped into some serious people power with their recent “Detox” campaign and the world’s largest fast fashion retailer had no choice but to give in. After nine days of intense public pressure led by the environmental activist group, fashion giant Zara has agreed to phase out the use of toxic chemicals in its supply [...]
When we first wrote about the boutique Dar HI Hotel in Nefta, Tunisia, Ben Ali was still in power, and Tunisia was one of the Middle East and North African region’s most egalitarian Arab countries. So much has changed since the Jasmine Revolution, leaving both the population and their natural environment more vulnerable than ever [...]
Spanish fast fashion company Zara has come under intense fire recently for failing to address a Greenpeace report released last year outlining the textile industry’s deleterious impact on China’s waterways. Called Dirty Laundry, the report unveiled that persistent and bio-accumulative hazardous chemicals with hormone-disrupting properties are released into the same water that residents rely on [...]
Would innovative waste disposal devices make for tidier Jordanians? Year Two in the Hashemite Kingdom, and my honeymoon with Amman is kaput. It’s impossible to keep the romance alive when your beloved is so totally…trashy. At work, shopping for trash receptacles for a new airport terminal, I stumbled across some wacky waste bins that might’ve saved [...]
Just when we thought that urban cycling had reached its zenith, Israeli designer Udi Rimon essentially rendered Tel Aviv’s cars redundant with his design of Tel-O-Porter – a genius bike trailer that connects to the city’s shared Tel-O-Fun bicycles. Made of aluminum tubes and stainless steel mesh, the trailer doubles as a hand held cart and [...]
Izhar Gafni and the same team behind the already world-famous cardboard bicycle have added a few other items to their repertoire, including a cardboard wheelchair. After news of the dirt-cheap cardboard bicycle raced around the globe, an international non-profit organization contacted Israelis Nimrod Elmish and Izhar Gafni of I.G. Cardboard Technologies about developing a cardboard wheelchair [...]
Execute some alchemy and turn random junk and recyclables into a smart toy for your toddler. This takes so little time and attracts such rave reviews you’ll be tempted to make a batch for future gift-giving, school projects, and maybe replace birthday “goody bags” with a toy that will get real use. An Amman school [...]
This is the fourth time that the Biomimicry 3.8 institute is staging their international design competition and this year they are inviting students to submit water management solutions that take inspiration from nature. Biomimicry is not a well known design strategy in the Middle East, though it is possible to learn what camels and scorpions [...]
Mornings are getting darker. Need a pick me up? Tick tock: try an eco clock. Israel daylight savings already sent summertime packing, but the rest of us in the Middle East will be switching in the weeks ahead from Daylight Savings to standard winter time. Blast yourself out of that darkened bedroom with the help of [...]