As part of a social design project related to water and its precious essence in life, Ô-CULT is Lebanese designer Richard Yasmine’s latest design piece, commissioned for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy curated by La Triennale di Milano Design Museum for an exhibition titled “The Shapes of Water.”
The symbolism of water has a universal trace of purity and fertility, it is the source of life since the ancient cultures and considered an aspect of wisdom that takes the form in which it is held. It does not resist, it flows, but always goes where it wants to go to fill empty spaces.
As water is becoming rare yet more and more precious due to the environmental problems such as global warming, pollution, climate changes etc… Richard Yasmine’s concept was to create a fantastic water safe, a water sanctuary, that takes shape of a mascot/Genie imitating the authentic type of liquid containers descending since the Neolithic period till the ancient Roman era passing by our heritage but definitely in a contemporary silhouette using multiple materials. In addition to the shape, providing a faucet, using the whole component as a useful water dispenser.
The concept of “Ô-CULT” (the water sanctuary) inspired from the Memphis movement is based on combining various functions altogether melting the jar to the fountain (‘ein in Arabic which we can still find few remaining in some Lebanese villages where thirsty people can come drink from its flowing water), using new and old, yet typical materials, the belly/body of the piece is made of stainless steel covered with neo terracotta with duplicated blackened brass handles to accentuate the visual of a jar, roofed with a headpiece of red glossy finishing paint on stainless steel imitating a mysterious animal head shape as a reflection to the mythical stone masks of animals or heroes used previously on ancient fountains. Incorporating a turquoise funnel or a huge pipette in the head symbolizing actually rainwater collecting …the head can be turned upside down to recreate an old amphora or bowl with also 2 big ears/handles, altogether handcrafted carefully by artisans including decorative and other fetish items made of natural rough jute tassels and blacked brass, the overall eccentric appearance creates an euphoric humoristic cult totem so far an occult phenomenon capable of granting wishes when summoned.