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Cultural-Contemporary Design Synthesis

Alainati, Maryam (2020) Cultural-Contemporary Design Synthesis.
- Statistical Data in SPSS, Excel, and Word doc. - Survey Questionnaires. - Shape Grammar pattern design development process demonstration sample. Abstract: This research is an attempt to find a synthesis of cultural identity within contemporary design. The proposed framework explores key features of a cultural and a contemporary style design language, as well as their modifications, to where both styles can be integrated. The drive behind this study is the need to revive cultural identity within the fabric of the Middle Eastern society as contemporary style has influenced and taken over the region, particularly Kuwait. Since the discovery of oil, Kuwait has dramatically changed due to its economic development as the rush towards modernization caused a loss in cultural identity within the arts. In the Middle East, the art of the Islamic geometries (IG) is a footprint to its cultural identity as well as a landmark. The loss of an art culture is the loss of a rich artistic heritage and design language. Therefore, enabling contemporary design to embrace the art of the IG is an attempt to revive and maintain cultural identity. The focus of this research encompasses a semiotic design methodology of both contemporary interior design (IKEA as a focus study) and the cultural arts of the IG; as they are explored, investigated and analysed. IKEA is targeted for this study as the contemporary commercial design style for its international success in the design field worldwide, particularly within Kuwait’s home interiors. The aim of this research is to create a link between the two styles by investigating their design language and finding commonalities identifiable to both, then merging them as one contemporary yet cultural design language, hence style. By adapting a semiotic design research methodology, this study explores ways of allowing cultural art to synthesize with, and integrate within, contemporary design. The balance between maintaining the artistic soul of the IG, and IKEA’s style and vision, is key. For an art of a different time and place to be part of today, a semiotic design style analysis was conducted in order to identify commonalities for defining a single style DNA that encompasses both styles; in order to formulate an integrated contemporary-cultural design language. Having a semiotic thread through-out the study entails qualitative properties, yet the data collection and analysis of the qualitative subject matter involved quantitative investigations; therefore, a mixed research methodology was carried out in order to investigate the developed outcome of the two styles synthesis. A main study survey questionnaire was conducted in Kuwait to test for style identity of the cultural art of IG and for the contemporary style of IKEA, in addition to measuring the likability to the integrated IKEA-IG design style. The study results identified the top IKEA-IG pattern designs (PD) that were of both the IG style, the IKEA style, as well as the most liked PDs. To further affirm the test results and findings, an evaluative study was then conducted, also in Kuwait, to compare the outcomes of both questionnaires to which turned out to have similar resulting top PDs. The evaluative study questionnaire was then also conducted for a second time, in the UK, in order to compare results of a different cultural background to that of the first. In all three studies, the demographic data was also analysed, using stratified sampling method in relation to the top PDs. Further analysis of the PDs was also investigated to present the method in which the found design language of the IKEA-IG style is demonstrated. The key to reviving cultural art within contemporary style was to initially measure each of the IG and the IKEA design languages, and then identify common style features composed of geometry and symmetry. Specific geometric shapes and symmetry rules of both styles are identified using shape grammars to refine and finalize the design language of the IKEA-IG style. This research provides the established framework of the PDs and shape grammars for the IKEA-IG style design language. This study concludes that it is possible to integrate and revive cultural arts within contemporary design and proved to be successful; both the IG and IKEA style were recognizable and likable by tested participants. Results and conclusions of this research contribute to knowledge by providing the design language of the IKEA-IG style; to the practice of interior design by leading to the possibility of exploring other cultural art preservations using shape grammars; and, to society by ultimately being able to revive and maintain cultural identity within present day design market and practice.
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