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The upcoming lecture in the Design Talks 2012 series will be given by Huda Smitshuizen AbiFarès, a Lebanese designer with an international background, founder of the Khatt Foundation, Center for Arabic Typography. On Wednesday 9th May from 18.30 the attention will be focussed on the role of Arabic writing and typography in the development of open public spaces in the contemporary urban context in the Middle East, with the presentation and analisys of several projects also promoted by Khatt.
Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès is a Beirut born, American-educated graphic designer, typographer, writer and design consultant on projects of cultural relevance. She studied at Yale and Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives in Amsterdam. She is the founder and director of Khatt Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes design development and research through projects that have proven to be truly innovative. Khatt in Arabic means writing, calligraphy but also means “line”, a line of thinking, a direction. The foundation strives to advance design in the Arab World and the Middle East by building cross-cultural creative networks between East and West. Khatt has promoted important cultural events such as the 1st Kitabat Conference on Arabic Typography (April 2006 in Dubai), the Typographic Matchmaking Project, the Khatt Kufi & Kaffiya Symposium on Arabic Visual Culture and the El Hema Exhibition project (Amsterdam 2007). The goal is to support design research projects that help revive and renovate design and crafts in the Arab World in partnership with local industries and designers.
The foundation has also established an extensive online resource, the Khatt Online Community, collecting information about contemporary design in the Middle East.
The topic of the talk at SPD will focus on the role of writing and the contemporary representation of Arabic lettering in the built environment. The symbolic role of Arabic typography as the connector between city, building, and visual culture will be discussed. Smitshuijzen AbiFarès will investigate and argue the importance that text and typography can play in building an engaged and culturally sustainable open public space in the Middle East and elsewhere. Case studies of public art projects and proposals for new alternative public space that respond to contemporary needs and create places of rest and pleasure will be presented in detail. Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares strongly believes that typography and text can represent a means of creating alternative, engaged and interactive public space. Arabic lettering in particular possess a strong narrative power. Trying to revive a tradition of her ancestors, she will introduce monumental writing and new innovative trends in the use of script in and on buildings.
Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès is also author of Arabic Typography: a comprehensive sourcebook (Saqi Books, London, 2001), Experimental Arabic Type (Saatchi & Saatchi, Dubai, 2002), Typographic Matchmaking (BIS Publishers, Amsterdam 2007), Typographic Matchmaking in The City (Khatt Books, Amsterdam 2011), and a number of articles on multilingual communication and contemporary design in the Middle East. She has worked as a designer for a number of years, in the US, The Netherlands, France, Lebanon and the UAE and has taught at universities in the Middle East.
The following Design Talks event on 23rd May 2011 will put centerstageRafael Koch and Urs Hofer, the Zurich based duo that created the automated online publishing system Rokfor. The conference entitled Generated databased publishing emphasizing design will deal with the interaction between graphics and programming.
Arabic Typography for an Open and Contemporary Public Space.
Huda Smitshiiuzen AbiFarès, Khatt Foundation
Wednesday 9 May 2012, 18.30
Scuola Politecnica di Design SPD
via Ventura 15, Milano
Tel. +39 02 21597590