Designer Siba Sahabi’s new triangular chess set, called Al-Andalus and inspired by Moorish geometric patterns, will be launching at Kazerne during Dutch Design Week 2015.
With Al-Andalus Sahabi refers to the extraordinary history of the game that has evolved through Eastern and Western influences.
Says the designer, “Chess is one of the world’s most popular games and one of the oldest board games. The word ‘chess’ derives from the Persian word ‘shah’ which means ‘king’. Although there is little known about it’s early history chess is believed to have originated in India (280 – 550 CE). The game was then spread from the Middle East throughout Europe in the 11th century, among others though the Muslim cultural domain of Spain and Portugal (‘Al-Andalus’ 711 – 1492).”
“The current form of chess was developed in Spain in the 16th century when the queen became the most powerful piece; able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally or diagonally. With the birth of the queen the game has gained tremendous popularity.”
“In 1971 Robert Zubrink invented a new variation of the game, which can be played by three parties. Siba Sahabi developed her geometric design for this so-called ‘trichess’ taking inspiration from Moorish patterns found in Andalusian architecture. The 48 pawns of the game consist of a mix of resin and chalk and have the appearance of stone. The oversized chess game measures 120×140 cm and includes a magnetic system that allows hanging the centrepiece on a wall.”
A specially-commissioned film is screened alongside the exhibition. Made by Siba Sahabi in collaboration with Arjan Benning (cinematography), Gerben Kruk (editing), Rutger Zuydervelt (music) and Anne de Grijff (fashion design). The short film brings historical paintings to life were chess players are portrayed with their board game apparently hanging on the back wall. Numerous medieval paintings show that the intellectual game was not reserved for men only but also played by woman. And it was a popular pastime throughout all classes of the society. In the short film three performers (Nabila Meknouzi, Sereena Natoewal and Zeynep Gunduz) represent the different religious groups of Al-Andalus – Jews, Christians and Muslims. The ladies sit together around the three-cornered chess game and play a game that can’t be won and ends in a tie.
‘Al-Andalus’ will be exhibited during DDW at the Kazerne, Eindhoven from October 17 to 25, 2015.