© by smart / Design Reza Abedini
smart urban stage is a global online project dealing with the term »FUTURE OF THE CITY«. »We ask pioneers from metropolises around the world to question the urban status quo.« The results are visions, ideas and solutions for sustainable lifestyles, modern social systems and forward-looking developments in the fields of architecture, design and technology. The worldwide event series is exhibiting ideas and solutions of forward thinking future makers. The brand behind this online project is the car manufacturer smart, which hosted special events throughout Europe during the last two years.
Now smart initiated the online project FUTURE OF THE CITY. Within their Q&A series Dutch alternative fashion, arts and lifestyle magazine BLEND was requested to ask Iranian graphic designer Reza Abedini: »In what ways does Western architecture influence Arabic buildings in the future??«
BLEND: »At BLEND magazine we like to shed light on cultural topics from different point of views. The Arab world is still full of mystique and ›One Thousand and One Nights‹-stereotypes, because it’s often analyzed through a Western point of view. With our Western schemas and concepts we try to understand the East. The result? Predictable answers that fit in our own concepts. Therefore it’s far more interesting to look at the rich Arabic design and architectural-tradition from a non-based point of view. Reza Abedini knows the best of both worlds. He was born in the East and now lives in the West so we think he’s the one who can give us more insight about Arabic design.
ABEDINI: »To talk about these influences requires a lot of time and space. But it is important to note that nowadays we all live with Western concepts and systems, and this is a necessity in modern life. Today, most of the endeavors that happen in the world of art and architecture are based on Western methods and approaches, even if their forms may look non-Western. There is a very interesting example in Isfahan, Iran. The Vank Cathedral was built under the influence of the prevailing taste and atmosphere of the Islamic architecture in early 17th century Isfahan. The building is based on the functional requirements of a church, but the form and spaces are totally shaped under the influence of exciting Islamic architecture of the era.
The issue of architecture and traditional art in non-Western cultures is very sophisticated. In these cultures, to draw a line between form and function only leads to a total misunderstanding of their view of art and architecture. Many of the attempts to bridge both cultures were not successful enough. There are a few exotic examples, but they rarely touched the core of the concept. To give you an example: building a mosque in Islamic culture is mostly related to the architect’s beliefs and his attachment to ›truth‹ or ›god‹. In other words, design is not exclusively confined to form, beauty and function, although it does include all of these elements. Therefore, I think the influence of architecture is possible in form and surface, but the concepts and functions in Western architecture are not in accordance with the concept of a mosque.
When you study the historical movements in art and architecture, such as Orientalism, Postmodernism and the more recent Exoticism, they seem superficial. We, both Western and non-Western, need to try to dig beneath the surface, beyond form and function, to understand the foundations of each culture on an equal level. The Western subjective and objective approaches towards other cultures have veiled the true understanding of them.«
FUTURE OF THE CITY Website /