‘An Urban Conceptualized River of Al Qala’a’ by:

Rawan Kashkoush – Resident Artist

Interior Architect – wishes she could sing like Florence. In a romantic relationship with design, Rawan has the working title of Interior Architect, but is still trying to figure out how to explain her relationship to those who ask. 25 and discovering how young that actually is, she looks forward to a long and intimate journey with maps, color, and concrete worlds.

Sarah Faruki – Resident Artist

“Inherent to her work in architecture is the inclusiveness of the client, the human, the context, the other… essentially always the grounding to something larger.” she says. One of the major appeals for her with this project was the opportunity to explore these relationships in a more ephemeral liaison; yet one whose long term social repercussions would unravel and evolve slowly over time.

(Picture above: from left, Rawan and Sarah, stand by one their targeted projects 'An Urban Conceptualized River of Al Qala'a' - Nahr Al Qala'a)


Girls, explain to us the theme of solid colors.
Rawan: Having revised the initial ‘Nahr Al-Qalaa’, a conceptual river was conceived. Selecting and coating already existent objects would stem a visual path, forming the ‘river’. The solid colors were to enhance the objects’ visual appearance without detracting from the object itself, the objective was not meant to disguise the object, instead pronounce it.

Sarah: Our initial approach centered on the idea of delineating a path through the injection of colour. We had an ambitious plan to paint the entire width of the road, from the top of the Qalaa down to the balad, blue and name it Nahr Jabal Al Qalaa. The essence of this idea was carried through to the current iteration where we highlighted all the metal objects along that same path. These included electricity boxes, pipes, poles and doors amongst others. We painted these objects blue, green or yellow. So as a “theme” the solid colours can be read as both a symbol for and the physical manifestation of a continuous thread along our defined path.


We noticed the repetitiveness of color used- visually forming patterns of colors in different areas or streets- What’s your motive/aim behind this technique?
Rawan: By highlighting elements in one’s line of vision with color, a dialogue or conceptual connect-the-dots occurs. The brain is able to create a virtual map out of irregular occurrences such as bright colors in a muted urban-scape. The intention is to draw the eye to color we’ve imposed, then allowing for detection of similar colors that may have otherwise been overlooked; ultimately nurturing a tendency to detect color more comfortably in the future.

Sarah: To make you go on a hunt for more! So in addition to the idea of the continuous path we found that during the painting process as we were trying to count and calculate the amount of work done and paint needed etc. it became a game. You see one and then another, and think it’s a coincidence. But then another one pops out and you know there must be more. You’re eyes are literally tracing this path and filling in the gaps between coloured objects to connect them. As opposed to a solid path where all you have to do is blindly follow, this scenario actually engages the viewer and involves them in the process of forming the path themselves.


Environmental psychology and color- explain to us the possible impact on human behavior you aspired to achieve.
Rawan: Color stimulates the brain. The brain receives a spectrum of waves from color in varying degrees, the reward is a regular invigoration that responds with mood enhancement, clarity, and imagination.

Sarah: The beauty of what was done is that it really kind of already existed. We didn’t re-invent the wheel, just offered a bright reminder that the wheel is a great thing to have around. Colour is all around us, perhaps in varying degrees depending on our immediate environment, but its there. By providing such a vibrant reminder along the one path, our hope was that people would begin to pick up on the bits of colour surrounding them everywhere.


Color is proven to be uplifting when it’s enhanced by the sun, which is a reinforcing element considering that the environment dealt with is outside.- What’s the relationship between the people in Jabal al Qala’a and the colors, in terms of associating their backgrounds and lifestyle with experiencing with colors?
Rawan: The colors opted for the ‘river’ were green, yellow, and blue. These colors act in basic relationships all people can interpret, vegetation, sunshine, and water. Having used tones that are calming (as opposed to red and orange for example) the desired effect is to reduce heightened aggression and also respond to the serious void of both water and nature.

Sarah: I think human beings basically experience colours in almost the same way everywhere. Obviously their personal life experiences will vary the way they receive colour to some degree, but the major difference here is that the community of Jabal Al Qalaa already spend a greater amount of their time outdoors. They’ve already done themselves the bigger favour by being outside in the sun; we have merely added little feasts for the eyes here and there.


What kind of material did you use? And is it aimed to last under different conditions or is it aimed to last for a short period of time?
Rawan: Having chosen metal objects, the intention is longevity. Through a rigorous process of sanding, priming, and painting the metal in oil based paint, we hope to have a permanent effect.

Sarah: … with a layer of metal primer underneath. It should withstand outdoor conditions quite well.


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