Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès

TMM3 Andalusia Research Trip and workshop II

A brief report on the second research trip to Granada and Cordoba 26 November — 3 December 2015

The workshop in Andalusia was a good follow up on the Marrakech project launch!

TMM3_Team in Alhambra - Jan de Bruin

1) The designers got to work further on developing their initial ideas, and the inspiration of both the Arabic and Spanish mix and vernacular lettering around gave the new projects new directions and solidified each design team’s design concept.

2) We started with an intense one-day visit to the Alhambra site, guided by the renown historian and specialized professor on the inscriptions and paleography of the Alhambra, Prof. José Miguel Puerta Vílchez. The next two days we continued our explorations of the archeological sites and the Arabic-Spanish visual heritage through guided visits to Cordoba’s renown sites: Madinat Alzahra, Mezquita, and ending with a visit of Cordoba’s archeological museum.

3) After the intense 3 days of sight visits and documenting of the graphic and urban landscape of Andalusia, we were hosted by Casa Àrabe in Cordoba, and offered their beautiful premises as a space to hold our working sessions and expert meetings. The space afforded us the time to reflect and for each team to collaborate closely on their initial typeface designs.

4) The workshop was concluded with a well-attended public symposium, with guest speaker Prof. Prof. José Miguel Puerta Vílchez, who gave an extensive talk on the history of the Arabic script in Spain and its lasting influence on the visual culture in Andalusia, entitled The great Arabic calligraphic legacy of al-Andalus. This was followed by an introduction of the project to the public and then a more detailed presentation of the work in progress.

The workshop was concluded with a better understanding of the Arabic heritage in Spain and a the realization of the tight and lasting aesthetic connectivity between Spain and Moroccan visual culture. The trip not only improved the initial design ideas of each team but helped push them further visually and conceptually. The meeting on a personal level brought all the members of this project closer and improved our sense of a being part of larger family. We left with the promise of our following meeting in May and discussions about the next meeting place and dates were discussed then but finalized a few weeks later.

We would like to thank our guest speaker, our host, and the participating public for making our week in Granada and Cordoba such a pleasurable and productive experience.