The Rawāshīn Ornamentation as a Source of Creativity

By Faredah Mohsen Al-Murahhem.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Rawāshīn are projected wooden windows in architecture in Makkah and other major cities in the Hijaz region in Saudi Arabia. Most of these architectural forms no longer exist and have become a part of the heritage of Makkah, in particular. They are uniquely constructed in three sections; each of which contains ornamentation. The disappearance of such an architectural fabric will lead to a great loss of national architectural history and its sources. Consequently, its fading away from society will lead to a lack of knowledge and appreciation amongst future generations. The rich heritage is greatly undervalued.
This paper highlights the value of these wooden windows’ motifs and their role in design. It also aims to inspire designers to regenerate forms from traditional sources and contribute to the knowledge of art and design vocabularies. Interior design could benefit from this rich source in application in mediums, such as wallpaper, fabric design and many more. Reusing traditional ornamentation inspired from the rawāshīn in design could help attract scholars to recognise and ultimately value this heritage before it vanishes. The study and process of rejuvenation could include: understanding and analysing the rawāshīn ornamentation as a valuable source to gain from, preserving the rawāshīn ornamentation as one facet of a holistic concept to educate future generations. Hence, the design process can be employed as a tool to reinvent these traditional motifs in new applications in art and design, and as a means to value local heritage. Reflection of this application will be tested through one of the interior design courses to study previpusly raised issues.

Keywords: Traditional Architecture, Creativity, Preserving Heritage, Rawāshīn, Interior Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.459-474. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.831MB).

Dr. Faredah Mohsen Al-Murahhem

Assistant Professor, Interior Design, Umm al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Faredah Al-Murahhem holds a PhD in Interior Architecture from University of Brighton, UK, Masters of Interior Design from Umm al-Qura University, Makkah: Saudi Arabia, and a Batchelors in Interior Design from King Faisal (Dammam) University, Dammam: Saudi. She has a Diploma in Education from Umm al-Qura University and a Diploma in Research Methodology from University of Brighton. Al-Murahhem is a professional member of selected institutions in Saudi and internationally. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Umm al-qura University and is teaching interior design courses to undergraduate students. Her main interest is studying the rawāshīn from varied and new perspectives: design, structure, construction, inhabitation and orientalism. Her main aim is to raise awareness of traditional architectural forms and to highlight its value in culture.


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