Omar Sartawi: Novel techniques to create sustainable, luxurious art

(Photo: Handouts from Omar Sartawi)
Passionate and creative, Jordanian culinary artist and molecular gastronomist Omar Sartawi never stops inventing things that are bold and practical, associating food making with art and creativity.اضافة اعلان

Now, merging food with art, Sartawi has entered the fashion market with his new “orange peel handbag”, a luxurious product made in collaboration with the Bahraini bag designer Noof Alshekar.

“My latest project, ‘Orange Leather Peel High-End Bag’, is a collaboration with international designer Noof Alshekar who specializes in gold brass bags to which she adds semi-precious stones to reflect her heritage and background in bejeweled wearable art,” Sartawi told the Jordan News.

“I created a sustainable biodegradable and animal-cruelty free leather that can be made from the peels of vegetables and fruits about three years ago, and since then, I have been perfecting the way I cure the material and protect it. At the same time, I try to find great collaborations across the region, with fashion and furniture designers, because it is a new-age material that has not been tested before,” he said.

Sartawi creates the material for his bags locally; it takes two weeks to make the material workable.(Photo: Handout from Omar Sartawi)

Sartawi, who developed the technique, focuses on sustainability which his bags made out of orange peels incorporate using a technique he calls “digital fabrication”.

The bag-manufacturing process

“It took us a year to come out with this product; first, to try the material, which was ruined in the process, as Noof changed the design twice,” he said.

Sartawi creates the material locally; it takes two weeks to make the material workable.

“Later on, it was Noof’s part to come up with her creativity. She chose a unique hand-carved malachite stone from India, which was shipped to Lebanon. I also shipped the leather to Lebanon where the workshop and one of the most sought-after bag manufacturer that works with the biggest names in the industry is,” said Sartawi.

(Video: Handout from Omar Sartawi)

The material is fitted on a brass frame that is then gold plated and finished with a layer to protect it.

The prototype was displayed at Al-Burda Festival, part of the Jordan pavilion during the Tourism Week at Dubai Expo 2020 and at Fann Gallery, all in Dubai.

“This regional collaboration to create innovative work to display is a unique experience; Jordan, Bahrain, and Lebanon come together to present art and culture in the Gulf area, which now leads the way in supporting art and creativity, Sartawi said.

 “I would love to do a sustainable project in Al-Ula (Saudi Arabia) and some other international events, something on a big scale to show our creativity and capabilities,” he added.

Orange peel on a table

Sartawi came up with another artistic project in collaboration with Karim Sawalha Studio. It is an “intermixture of sustainable luxury and the essence of art integrated into functionality, in the Duck à l’Orange limited-edition side tables”, he said.

The Duck à l’Orange table (duck-like legs, orange peel top) “has been the object of desire for many collectors across the globe”; it is a mixture of workmanship and scientific methods that creates a piece of art which serves a purpose within one’s home.

(Photo: Handout from Omar Sartawi)

Sartawi got international acclaim for his breakdown of textures, culture, science and methodological innovation in many projects that challenge our view of the world, for his sustainability and culinary experiences; in one such experience, he fused indigenous jameed with the flavors of French cuisine.

Sartawi has been experimenting with the concepts of sustainability and luxury, inspired by nature’s textures, while trying to find endless possibilities within produce that people see daily without thinking twice about it.

“We can create extravagant products with modern designs through available technologies,” said this artist who is always on the run, looking for ideas to dazzle the audience with his art made out of food and with a thematic message that blurs the lines between the familiar and the extraordinary.

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