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An ‘experiment’ blending architecture and fashion

"Experiment 1" is presenting a collection of handbags at a prominent design incubator in Jeddah. The event celebrates architecture, fashion and culture printed in unique handbag designs.
Dalal Al-Hashash, Khawla Al-Hussaini and Fatma Al-Obaid are the three Kuwaiti architects behind Experiment 1. They graduated from Kuwait University’s Architecture School.
The experiment began a couple of years ago when they noticed that having a day job did not bring out the creativity in them. “We hated working with clients,” Dalal Al-Hashash, 25, said. "We noticed they eliminated our creative knack with budgets and orders.”
They began designing small projects for friends and family, but they imagined that walking around with an embodiment of their work would be construed as silly. “We never thought of humanizing them, especially that we don’t have any background in the fashion field,” she added.
They pressed on with the project mainly to broaden their creativity and practice what they learned in their academic years without restriction.
“How we split the work among the three of us is a question we often receive. The answer is we don’t know,” Al-Hashash said. “We have been friends for a long time and there’s some sort of language we share that allows us to understand one another and the work usually splits itself.”
The fabrics and textiles used in the handbags are all Kuwaiti-manufactured from the Shuwaikh Industrial area.
Sofana Dahlan, the owner of Tashkeil, expressed her fondness for their work. “A lot of designers passed through Tashkeil but Experiment 1 left its signature here.”
She believes they have a great concept and commented on the finishing and the quality of fabrics. “If I were you, I’d invest in them.”
The handbags are sold at between SR 1,500 and SR 2,500.
Consequently, a number of critics attended the soft opening of Experiment 1.
Christophe Beaufays, a Lomar Thobe designer, admired the fact that the handbags were made with industrial material. “They created something new with basic patterns,” he said. “It’s young and fresh and very new and not something you would usually see, not even in Paris.”
He was very fond of the inspiration of the Arabic and Islamic patterns used in the handbags.
Mohammed Altayeb, general manager of Fab Lab, was one of the guests and thought it was indeed an experiment. “It is an experiment of different materials. It is unique, but one always asks for more,” said Altayeb, adding “For example, experimenting with different materials, heating and graving in wood would be interesting. I am not a woman, but if I was, I’d definitely buy one of those!”
Alexanda Sarfine, who’s an upcoming abaya designer, said this was the new generation of art.
Amy Lam, an architect from Hong Kong and a critic of the Dar Al-Hekma design department said: “It is a quite interesting approach to use local materials.” With her London-based background, she said they’re quite familiar with architects designing furniture. However, it’s a totally new step for the Middle East to have architects offering this kind of blend. “It’s always a positive approach for ascetics to offer more than the design of buildings.”
Abdulrahman Aburahman, an industrial designer, also made an appearance at the event.
Faris Al-Shehri, founder and co-organizer of the event, was the liaison between Experiment 1 and Tashkeil. “I went to Kuwait and met the three talented ladies in their studio,” said Al-Shehri. “I believed in and loved what they were doing from the get-go. They have their own philosophy.”
Yolanda Perez, CFO partner of Tashkeil, welcomed visitors to the exhibition.
Ahmed Fouad, photographer and event sponsor, commented on the enjoyable organization of the event.
The official opening of the exhibition will take place on March 4. "Experiment 1" will remain in the Tashkeil exhibition until March 18th.