Birkbeck, University of London > Business services > Case studies > Bespoke training for Eric R Kuhne & Associates: Islamic design

Bespoke training for Eric R Kuhne & Associates: Islamic design

Eric R Kuhne & Associates, a leading London-based international firm of architects, believes that by integrating local tradition and history into new designs, the result will have greater impact and appreciation.

They were commissioned as design architects for the multi-billion pound Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). A comprehensive civic art programme will be developed as an essential part of the DIFC, featuring the finest artists in the Arabic World as a showcase of the arts, crafts, performing, and visual artistry in Arabic tradition and contemporary design. Sculpture gardens, murals, furniture, and industrial design will likewise be inspired by Arabic ornament, patterns and traditions as much as contemporary innovations.

In order to achieve this, the architects wanted to learn more about how traditional Islamic patterns are constructed. They commissioned Birkbeck to customise the course ‘The Art of Islamic Pattern’ for their specific purposes, with additional training in traditional Islamic architecture as well.

Birkbeck tutor, Richard Henry, a gifted artist and Islamic design specialist, responded to the timing needs of the architects and ran early morning sessions at the architects’ premises twice a week over a month.

By the end of the sessions, the architects had a good understanding of how Islamic patterns have been developed over the centuries, where they were, and continue, to be used in building design, and a practical knowledge of how to use Islamic patterns in design work.