“Moua’ayada Collection by Rita” is a set of 10 plates with 10 distinctive, yet very similar designs. Each adorn a different message, written in Kufi Style that fills the outer edge of each plate in a very stylish and innovative design.
Some of the phrases decorating the plates read: Ramadan Kareem, Asakom min Awwadah, Kul Aaam Wa Antom Bi Kheir, Eidkom Moubarak, Hayyakom, Nawartoona, and Bil Aafiah. Limited editions of 50 pieces each of Moua’ayada “felicitation” and welcoming statements used by Arabs on daily basis and on special occasions, are printed in Kufi Style on the plates, using luxurious Gold, Rose Gold and Silver ink, on off-white high quality porcelain—a combination which makes those plates complete, timeless, ultra-chic, classic, and elegant.
The Kufi script is the oldest calligraphy type of the Arabic script that is derived from an old modified Nabatean script. The Kufic script was developed around the seventh century CE, where it was extensively and exclusively used to copy the Qur’an Al Kareem by the orders of the Rashidien Caliph, Uthman bin Affan.
Square or geometric Kufic, which are used on those art pieces, is a very simplified rectangular style of Kufic widely used for tiling.
The Square Kufi, or the Murabba’ Kufi, is very popular these days because the simple lines are very fitting in the modern decoration. The Kufi Murabba’ is absolutely straight with no decorative accents or curves shown. Due to this absolute rigidity, this type of script can be created using square tiles or bricks. It is popular in Iran and in Turkey, where in the latter, it was popular as a decoration on buildings during the Ottoman empire.
Designer and educator, Rita Merheb, designed these plates with an ingenious and innovative technique through which she took the rigidity and straightness of Kufi and reproduced it in a perfectly proportionate rounded look. A technique that is very time consuming and requires a lot of patience and complicated calculations to get precise dimensions and proportions for the right design.
Those plates are Rita’s latest personal project of the many other projects that she works on whenever she has free time from her educational responsibilities.
Rita is a Graphic Design professor at the American University of Kuwait since 2009, before she came to Kuwait she was teaching Graphic Design in various universities in Lebanon. She holds an MFA in Graphic Design, and an MA in “Multimedia for Education.” She also worked in the field of Graphic Design in both Lebanon and Saudi Arabia before she started her teaching career.
“I have always been fascinated by Limoge porcelain, to the point where I became a Limoge plates collector," says Rita. She continues, "Out of this passion of mine, I started thinking of designing my own plates, and last Ramadan, I thought it would be the perfect time to launch my own collection of designer plates. I chose Ramadan because this is the time of the year where people use lots of plates for their futoors, ghabkas, and Niqsas. My first collection was basically greeting statements we use during the holy month of Ramadan.”
According to the designer, the target audience for this project is a very specific group of people, those with a very artistic touch, who have a great taste for elegance, and who pay good attention to details.
Many challenges faced the designer in both the design and the production stages.
Design wise, the challenge was to come up with a technique that will take a very rigid and straight piece of Kufi text, and curve it with very precise measurements to make it perfectly fit onto plates with very specific dimensions. And production wise, the biggest problem was to find a place that can print on plates with a very high-quality material and finishing.
With this said, the outcome turned out to be pieces of art that are entirely designed, manufactured and distributed in the Gulf region.
Words: Khaleejesque Team
Images: Ramy Khair