Old photos of Amman

I usually spend a lot of hours digging the internet for old photos about cities that I admire: Amman, Damascus, Cairo ..etc. It’s really interesting to see how these cities evolved!

This time, I’ll be sharing some photos of Amman, from the 20’s till the 90’s. You’ll notice that most of them are having a nice and well-designed shop signs; which is my well-known passion!

Photos have been collected from different websites, copyrights are reserved for their owners. Captions are available for most of the photos.

Enjoy!

Authentic again!

كأي مدينة أخرى تضج بالحياة، فإن عمّان تملك ذوقها الخاص في لافتات المحال التجارية، وبالتتبع لصور الشوارع واللافتات في عمّان منذ الستينات والسبعينات وانتهاءً بما تبقى منها في أيامنا هذه، نجد الهوية البصرية المرتبطة بنكهة المكان والأشخاص والأعمال في المدينة على لافتات جميلة فوق مداخل المحلات، تم تصميم وتنفيذ هذه اللوحات على يد خطاطي عمّان، والذين قاموا باستخدام فراشيهم وأدواتهم، وفهمهم للتصميم والتكوين الحروفي، وذوقهم بالألوان والظلال والتأثيرات، قاموا بمقام “المصممين” المتفردين بالمدينة، خاصة عندما نرى أن بعضهم تجاوز مساحة اللافتة إلى تصميم شعارات ومواد طباعية أخرى مثلاً. كل ذلك بمنهج عفوي بسيط يتكلم مع الشارع والزبائن وضيوف المدينة بلهجة واضحة مفهومة ثنائية اللغة في معظم الأحيان.

لسوء الحظ، تم القتل التدريجي لهذه الحرفة مع ظهور الكمبيوتر والطابعات الضخمة وانخفاض الذوق العام والسعي نحو السرعة والرخص، يمكننا القول بأن حرفة صناعة الآرمات قد انقرضت الآن بشكل كبير.
ضمن مشاركتي بأسبوع عمّان للتصميم في نسخته الأولى، قمت بالتعاون الفني مع اثنين من “الخطاطين المعلمين” القدامى لهذه الحرفة، وعملنا سوية لانتاج لافتات/آرمات جديدة لـ “حي الحرف” في مجمع رغدان السياحي، لإحياء هذه الحرفة من جديد ولخلق مواجهة جديدة بين شيوخ هذا الكار ومصممي عمّان.

Like any other vivid city, Amman has its own aesthetic and well-designed shop signs. Looking back at Amman’s photos from the 60’s and 70’s, up until the few ones left nowadays; one can identify the highly flavored visual identity placed above each shop entrance. The signs were designed and produced by local sign painters, using their own taste in calligraphy, colors, composition and sometimes logo design. They were the designers of their era, without any academic direction or any written guidelines to follow, just a pure spontaneous design practice.

Unfortunately, this vital craft has vanished with the rise of computer graphics and mega size printers, and nowadays it is near extinction.

As part of my participation in Amman Design Week 2016; I’ve brought back two of the authentic sign painting masters to the scene, to produce new signage for ‘The Crafts District’ shops in the Raghadan area, and to create a real encounter between the craft masters and the designers of Amman.

Curator of ‘The Crafts District’: Dina Haddadin

Text and photography: Hussein Alazaat

 

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Signpainter Abed Jukhy (Born in Amman, 1930) Holding his tools box. Mr. Jukhy is practicing his craft with great passion! despite all of the health issues he is facing! He is still offering his services in his authentic workshop that is located  in Prince Mohammad street, since the 1960’s.

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Amman Panoramic Map 1995

While exploring my archive I’ve stumbled on this map of Amman, it was published by “International Media Services”, as you see their credentials at the map footer.

It’s really a strange thing to find! I don’t recall how it came into my archive.. it’s like seeing a visualised memory directly in my hands. Anway, the map is really interesting, it shows you  the brands, shops, venues and landmarks of Amman two decades ago, I’m sure many of us still remembering few parts of this map, the map of a vivid city who changed a lot.

The map, obviously, was drawn by hand, the artist who done that used some weird orientations, so you find Rainbow street is west of Al-Husseini Mosque and they share the same horizontal level, then you keep going west until you reach Abdoun, a few steps after Abdoun you find yourself in the Queen Alia Airport! Funny..

However, the artist made a good effort to draw the building’s facade, I was impressed to see some iconic buildings of Amman drawn in a nice way, it seems like someone did a big research for photos and logos, and delivered them to the artist’s hands.

Many brands in this map have been extinct, and many are still surviving, but it still Amman that we love!

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Bilingual Typography at the map’s masthead.

 

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Good job on drawing this building, still exist on the Queen Rania Street.

 

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Childhood memories at Jollibee restaurant in Shmaisany.

 

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You can download a high-res photo of the map from here.: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alazaat/27737641776

 

 

 

أجمل ١٠ آرمات قديمة في عمّان

للأسف تم إزالة وضياع العديد من آرمات ولافتات المحال التجارية القديمة في عمّان.. هنا أنا أوثق ماتبقى منهم باختياري لأجمل ١٠ آرمات حسب ذوقي الشخصي.. فلا يعني الأمر أن الآرمة رقم ١ هي أفضل من رقم ١٠!

أتمنى لكم مشاهدة طيبة:

١٠– معرض البوط الصيني، وسط البلد، شارع قريش

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لخطاط مجهول، على الأغلب هو إيليا كيّال حسب خبرتي بنمطه في العمل واختياره للخطوط، أكثر ما أعجبني هنا هو شعار أحذية “بيكاديلي” المنفّذ بطريقة جميلة على يمين اللوحة. طبعاً مصطلح “بوط صيني” يرمز الى جودة عالية جداً في ستينيات وسبعينيات القرن الماضي.

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Top 10 Old Shop Signs in Amman

Unfortunately, Many of Amman’s good old shop signs have been removed and lost. Here I share with you my selection for the best existing signs, based on my personal taste, so it does not mean that number 1 is better than number 10 🙂

Hope you enjoy looking at them:

10. Chinese Shoe Gallery, Downtown, Quraish St.

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By unknown sign painter, most probably he was Elia Kayyal. What I liked here is the piccadilly shoes logo on the right side!

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