The role of human experience in enhancing Arab traditional identity awareness in interior design education in Kuwait

Al-Salem, Mohammad (2014) The role of human experience in enhancing Arab traditional identity awareness in interior design education in Kuwait. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

The role of human experience in enhancing Arab traditional identity awareness in interior design education in Kuwait
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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


This thesis argues that contemporary Arabian Gulf traditional design has lost its values. From large-scale developments to single detailed objects, one can easily see the deep and rapid impact of globalization on Arabian Gulf architecture, Kuwait in particular. The striking forms, rooted in the global influences on the one hand, and the superficial use of traditional Arab architectural motifs on the other, reflect the detachment of the new designgeneration from any true sense of the past.
The study reveals that the new generation of designers has become obsessed with the modern styles. What is more, today’s Arab undergraduate educators hold a great responsibility toward their traditions to innovate and
examine new ways of teaching design. Thus, rather than considering the discipline as the mere act of decorating, the new design generation will understand that Arab traditional architecture and interiors has never been
based simply on formal visual composition, but always on a deeper understanding of experiential reality and human feeling.
In this regard, the curriculum, staff attitudes and students’ viewpoints of the Interior Design Educational Department at the Public Authority of Applied Education and Training (PAAET) in Kuwait were examined in terms of how they address and deal with traditional aspects. Three methodological tools, curriculum analysis, interviews and surveys, were used to identify the current situation in the above respect.
By comparing the Kuwaiti school with two others in the region, through analyzing curriculums, conducting interviews with staff members and students surveys in (KU) in Bahrain and (KFU) in Saudi Arabia, it was revealed that the
identity crisis in the region mainly has its roots in the economic revolution following the discovery of oil. An unintended consequence of economic change has been on the new generations, who, under global influences, have
turned their thoughts away from local traditional values. Evidence of a lack of strategies to deal with traditional needs and aspirations were identified i.e. a miscommunication between theoretical and practical contents in the design
program was found. Nevertheless, some encouraging ways of treating traditional identity did emerge. It was discovered that the most effective interior design program is one which treats global, local and experiential
issues in a dialectical way, rather than treating each one separately.
Therefore, the main contribution of this research is to offer a rethinking of traditional identity in interior design education to contextualize global influences, not to resist them. The purpose of this is to free the new design
generation’s thinking from the restriction of form and aesthetic aspects by going beyond the superficial meaning of physical design, and to reach inner values. To achieve this, the experiential approach to design, derived from
celebrated contemporary architectural phenomenologists such as Steven Holl, Juhani Pallasmaa and others, will be adapted into the context of Arab interior design.
The research concludes with developing an experiential framework for interior design education. Although this research is with reference to the PAAET in Kuwait, it could be also applicable to other design institutions in the
Arab World.

Keywords:Kuwait, Interior design, Arabian Gulf traditional design, Architecture, Globalization, Architectural motifs, Curriculum, design education, Identity, Cultural awareness
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K120 Interior Architecture
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
W Creative Arts and Design > W250 Interior Design
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:14689
Deposited On:15 Aug 2014 08:39

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