Abstract Structural Modifications, Complexity, & Detail by Julia Ibbini

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Pushing the boundaries of possibilities in terms of medium and choosing to experiment in paper with its beautiful, tactile, delicate qualities.

In November 2019, Jordanian-British designer Julia Ibbini won the Award, winning a trip to L’ECOLE Van Cleef & Arpels, a school dedicated to sharing the culture and crafts knowledge behind the world of jewelry. In addition, AED 30,000 was awarded to her to cover the entire cost of materials and production of her design piece.

We met her at the opening of the [21,39] Jeddah Arts event under the Saudi Art Council and had a chat with her to know more about her intricate work and experience

Tell us about your experience Middle East Emergent Designer 2019 Prize

For the sixth edition, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tashkeel invited designers to submit a project that celebrates the theme ‘Cyclical’ and explores ideas in sculptural works. Most of my work being two- dimensional, I had never done any sculptural or three-dimensional work and this was a good opportunity for me to have a go.

I had no idea that I would be shortlisted let alone winning the prize. I was totally blown away – not only by winning but also from the tremendous support I received from both Van Cleef & Arpels and Tashkeel.


img_20191028_184825Can you tell us a little about the design process of the Symbio Vessels? 

It’s essentially developed using algorithms and computational geometry. It’s the idea of a single element that you can see rotating around each vessel that’s calculated to rotate around the radial arc. 

Each layer of the vessel is laser cut individually using a customized laser machine, and then each piece is layered entirely by hand using glue and pins. 

They are organic hand-drawn elements, arranged in a rigidly structured pattern around a form developed using algorithmic calculations, yet built by hand, and produce a whole that is highly complex, detailed, precise – but organic and imperfect at the same time.


What inspired you to come up with the design?

It’s part of an ongoing collaboration with a French computer scientist called Stephane Noyer a few years ago and so I bring the design and the eccentric to it and the complex algorithm design side of it is his doing. Together we traversed analog and digital to create works with highly detailed machined precision, but which remain distinctly human in origin.


What were your most difficult challenges during the whole process of the design?

The biggest challenge was building these objects by hand and redoing the mistakes. Yet it is the flaws that come with the human hand that produce the beautiful end result.


From your experience what advice would you like to give to the emerging designers who want to participate in the next competition?

Push the boundaries of what you feel you are capable of, enjoy the process and find ways to get involved – especially with Tashkeel as they are a tremendous community.


Instagram: Van Cleef & Arpels| Tashkeel | Julia Ibbini
Web: ibbini.com

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