In 1974, the late Italian designer and artist Enzo Mari published his book Autoprogettazione? as a DIY guideline to furniture making that provides plans and instructions on creating eighteen items of furniture from wood and ubiquitous materials. The book represents Mari’s critical view of the mass production of furniture and is one of the first to advocate against consumerist production. Mari is the champion of one of the first publicly available, ‘open source’, and easy-to-implement furniture-making guidebooks based on the concept of self-design, before it was fashionable.
Mari wrote in the introduction to his book:
“A project for making easy-to-assemble furniture using rough boards and nails. An elementary technique to teach anyone to look at present production with a critical eye.
(Anyone, apart from factories and traders, can use these designs to make them by themselves).
The author hopes the idea will last into the future and asks those who build the furniture, and in particular, variations of it, to send photos to his studio”.
Over the course of six weeks, the white cube space of The Lab was transformed into a living carpentry workshop that explored furniture-making through the lens of Enzo Mari. The exhibition showcases work by participants of the workshop led by Ahmad Barakat, including reproductions of furniture from Enzo Mari's book and adaptations to his approach in creating/designing new pieces.
Participants: Abboud Rawajbeh, Abdulrahman Shoman, Amira Aburiash, Doaa Abdelhadi, Elwan Alawneh, Hala Younes, Hanaa Khatib, Laila Najmi, Laith Abudayyeh, Loai Hazem, Malek Awwad, Maysam Yasin, Mohammad Hammad, Mohammad Salameh, Mutasem Al-Nammari, Noor El-Fadl, Noor Masoud, Noor Yamin, Rahaf Bdour, Ramez Nimri, Sabreen Whoush, Saleh Hamdan, Sarah Hazem, Shatha Khalifeh, Victoria Dabdoub, Waleed Gharaibeh, Waleed Tamimi, Yazan Rawajbeh, Zena Jaghoub.
Ahmad Barakat is a musician, woodworker, and civil engineer based in Amman. His musical styles extend from traditional forms such as maqam music to jazz fusions and experimental collaborative projects combining dance, sound, and material installation. In pursuit of harmony between space and sound, Barakat started experimenting with acoustics and soundproofing. This endeavor led to acquiring a workshop space that eventually became an extension of his music studio. Furniture building is a product of this marriage and is a passion driven by the strong link between engineering and construction. The realization that disciplines however sparse and remote are still connected and close is a great source of inspiration for Barakat’s creative process; his workflow for designing a piece of furniture is driven by parallels found in music and engineering.