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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Theeb film, Arabic calligraphy in the OSCARS

At one evening in October 2013, I sat down with the Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar to discuss the collaboration between me and him to design the Arabic main title and credits for his new feature film Theeb, I was more than excited to take the job, it was a great honor for me to work with such a brilliant director like Naji, for a great shining opportunity in the Arab film industry.

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My initial quick sketches with Naji, discussing styles and calligraphy approach.

We agreed to adapt the Nastaliq calligraphic style, that relates to the Ottoman official signage system that was popular in our region in 1916, where the film’s events are happening in. Continue reading →

Islamic Seals Design

I was impressed with this amazing collection of Islamic seals on different manuscripts from various Islamic cultures and ages, this database was collected by Chester Beatty Library in Dublin from their own fine archive of manuscripts, more than 2600 seal impressions were found and documented!

Yes, 2600!

I’ve picked some of them to share with you, copy rights are reserved to Chester Beatty Library:

 

My next little project is to make one seal for my name inspired by these designs.. stay tuned!

 

Meeting Helmi El Touni

Yes! I finally met Helmi El Touni! A great master that filled my childhood with bold drawings and unique calligraphic styles.. I met him during Nuqat 2015 conference in Kuwait,  it was one of best things happened to me in my entire life!

I can’t hide my happiness! He also signed the Yasmin Taan book about him, and he wrote there: To dear Hussein, the precious colleague 🙂 

Unbelievable moment!

Another great thing besides all of this, was El Touni exhibition, where he showed the original artworks and sketches of his old works, seeing those masterpieces face to face was a great honor for me.

El Touni is a special character, his thoughts and works will be always inspiring me.

 

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Visit to Tareq Rajab Museum

While I was in Kuwait last time, I couldn’t resist visiting Tareq Rajab Museum, I was truly SHOCKED! A massive amount of Islamic pieces from all around the world! I haven’t see such collection at any other museum!

I took couple hundred of photos there, here I selected some to share with you:

1- Calligraphy collection from Syria 

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