Design Consultancy

I can help you use Islamic geometric design in your architectural project in such a way that it:

a) does justice to this design heritage;

b) more fully takes advantage of its creative potential;

c) enables you to choose from dozens of different patterns;

d) enables you to have an historically and regionally relevant narrative around the creative choices you make for your client.

I’m not a traditionalist or a purist, or an arbiter of taste. I want to give architects and designers the information and insight they need so they can contribute to the continuation of a design tradition that is over 1,000 years old. Creative innovation has always been part of the ethos of this design tradition. But: You need to know the rules before you can break them.

CPD training: Architectural Best Practice in Islamic Geometric Design

Also coming as an online training soon.

Common Design Problems

Same Patterns, all the time

Less than ten different Islamic geometric patterns are used in contemporary architecture, even though there are hundreds to choose from.  Architects prefer fourfold patterns because they are perceived as being easiest to tessellate. So, prestigious projects, such as the ones below in Kuwait and Riyadh end up using the simplest of simple patterns.

geometric facade of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre in Kuwaitdetail of a canopy at Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Misc. Bad Design

example of bad geometric design: vases, jugs at Dubai Airport DXBAt Dubai airport. They also appear along the Golden Mile. So many design errrors, I’ve highlighted some of them.

At a 5 star hotel in Dubai. Design errors: six lines converging on an intersection, errors in offsetting.

Bad Tessellation

One of the most common causes of bad geometric design, is incorrect tessellation. This is one of the problems with this speaker cover in Mall of the Emirates.

Partial Knowledge

Often a designer will take a central star element and then try to join it all up. Sometimes successfully but more often, unsuccessfully. A good (bad?) example of this can be seen at Emaar Square in Dubai. example of bad geometric design at Emaar Place in Dubai

Universal Patterns?

Most geometric patterns and compositions can be linked to a time and a place. Awareness of this can avoid situations like below, where a Persian restaurant in Dubai used a pattern that is typically North African and which you would never find in Iran.

Visible Grid

An office tower lobby in Dubai. The pattern is trying to be something that is like Islamic geometric design. Some of the errors: grid lines are visible where they shouldn’t be, lines change direction at intersections.