Decorative calligraphy at the Alhambra, Granada

Exquisite arabic calligraphy in the Alhambra. Just a tiny sample of the wonders one can find there.

I think it is high time I updated the information about this wonderful and inspiring typographic experience. Since our first workshop in Marrakech last September, we have met two more times in Granada/Córdoba –in December— and recently in Montalba-le-Château, France. Our work in Granada and Cordoba was still rather exploratory. The main guidelines seemed to be defined but there was still the challenge of translating the findings and proposals of each alphabet into the the others while keeping each one’s specificity.

During this second workshop we spent a whole day visiting La Alhambra. With the help of renown professor of Islamic art José Miguel Puerta Vílchez we were absolutely delighted to discover the stunning omnipresence and integration of calligraphy and lettering in the architecture: words were everywhere building texts, textures and walls! Three more remarkable visits completed our field work: the spectacular Mosque of Cordoba, the archaeological site of Madinat al-Zahra and the Cordoba Archeological Museum.

Superposition of arabic and renaissance styles at the Cathedral of Cordoba

Coexistence? Superposition? Imposition? This is when you realize things were far from ideal in Cordoba at a time.

Al-andalus was clearly a must in this project. Its historical cultural mix of Arab Maghribi, Morisco and Spanish cultures inspired and influenced our work in different ways. It was also an opportunity to think about the ideal of cultural coexistence. The palace of Charles V built inside the Alhambra, or the cathedral erected in the middle of the mosque in Cordoba did not seem the best examples of respectful coexistence and harmony. Food for thought for our projects…

The workshop ended with the presentation of the projects in Casa Árabe. My sincere gratitude to its stuff for their kind support. More about our third workshop in the next post (coming soon hopefully).

See also:

Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib (Marrakech)

Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib II (Granada-Córdoba)

Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib III (Montalba-le-Château)

Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib IV (Amsterdam)