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Natalia Najmowicz - "Arab Culture Center".

10 of July '24
Technical data
Type: undergraduate thesis
Year of defense: 2024

Natalia Najmowicz

Sopocka Akademia Nauk Stosowanych
Dr. Emilia Rolka

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Interior Diploma".

The project "Arab Cultural Center" is an attempt to start a dialogue about migration and the problems or prejudices that arise in connection with acculturation. The location for the foundation became Gdansk, my hometown, because of personal knowledge of its history, moods or needs, and through inspiration from the activities of the Gdansk Center for Equal Treatment. The district (Oliwa) was chosen because of the visual attractiveness of the area and its close proximity to the University of Gdansk, Olivia Business Center or the mosque, which primarily brings together Tatars, while generalizing to the Muslim community.



© Natalia Najmowicz

The concept was based on the creation of a universal space, which will have both educational, cultural, support and social functions. The project was divided into four zones. The public zone includes a reception area with a checkroom that welcomes visitors; a bistro that allows not only to relax and have a meal, but also to make new acquaintances, strengthen ties or start a dialogue; toilets that provide adequate separation and privacy in a consensus that takes into account both cultures; and a multifunctional room suitable for various types of events such as conferences, lectures, shows, art exhibitions, author meetings, business meetings, groups, foundations, associations and the like. The staff area consists of a comfortable office, utility room, social room and toilet.



© Natalia Najmowicz

It was important to me that this space was not neglected and that aesthetically it did not deviate from that conventionally considered representative. The last two zones are communications and the zone outside the scope of the design, where I conceptually propose to organize a crisis staff for the Arab community, storage space for charity collections or individual accommodations. The main idea of the project is to try to warm up the image of people from Arab countries through natural meetings, education (including for the youngest) and by promoting the beauty of Arab art and architecture. The interior itself, thanks to its unusual, minimalist design, is intended to be a pretext for potential visitors, and the subsequent assimilation processes have a chance to happen naturally.



© Natalia Najmowicz

The color base of the project is a palette of shades of sandy beige, which is supposed to slightly resemble the desert landscape also through the texture of the structural clay plaster present on the walls. It is complemented by deep green emerging from here and there in the form of a wall of plants or ceramic tiles, which has an invigorating effect - just like an oasis in the desert. Most of the details in the interior are metal in a matte black finish to contrast with the walls in keeping with universal design; I designed the remaining elements in copper because of its history, original aesthetics, as well as its germicidal properties, which is an extremely positive feature especially in the context of interior design of public buildings. The project implements a wayfinding system through wall markings and measures to facilitate intuitive movement such as the placement of LED strips at wall contours. The interior is also adapted for people with disabilities through the use of appropriate technical solutions such as maintaining appropriate widths of passageways, guidelines for toilets and the complete elimination of thresholds. The lighting in the CKA is a full-fledged part of the space's creation and oscillates between 2700-4000K. The project aims to connect people through art and therefore, as far as possible, I try to leave out political issues.

Pokój socjalny

Social room

© Natalia Najmowicz

This is just an attempt to respond to the current situation with the hope of improving mutual understanding and starting a dialogue on eliminating stereotypes about the Arab population. The project proves that it is worth looking for new and interesting solutions to improve communication and build a synthetic society.


Illustrations: © Author

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