Aspiring young Bahraini architect in training, Maitham Al Mubarak is an inspiring young talent that has done more to develop and improve his skills to it’s full potential. Maitham describes himself as a ‘super visual person,’ and as such has utilized that aspect of his personality to his advantage from a very young age. He has dabbled in illustration, street art, graphic design and film with his younger brother, aspiring film maker Mohammed Al Mubarak. As a junior of prestigious Savannah School of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia USA, Al Mubarak found his calling in Architecture and sees a bright future for himself in that field. This emerging young artists is a name that you will hear of time and time again in the future.
How old are you? And when did you get into art?
20, will be 21 in 2 months. I’ve been interested in art ever since I could remember.
What was your involvement in art during high school?
I am sorry to say that Bahrain public schools are extremely poor when it comes to art, I tried to shove myself into doing different stuff at school but there were never any appreciation from the school’s side, so I found myself doing different things and trying different categories. By the time I graduated high school I was somewhat known for my street art pieces, and was commissioned to do some, but before I knew it, it was time to leave to college, and I haven’t done any street pieces since.
Currently you study architecture, is that where you feel most at home with your art? If not, what mediums do you find yourself most drawn to?
My comfort zone is the computer, but I always push myself to try other stuff. In architecture school, I work a lot with graphite and ink, which I am very comfortable with as well. I hate glue.
Has architecture always been in your plan?
Yes, there were times when I was very excited about computer art and I thought I wanted to do that, but that did not last very long.
You say you felt that the computer was your comfort zone, but gravitated towards architecture eventually. Why did you choose it as a career path?
Architecture has always been on the top of my list, and when it was time to choose, it made a perfect sense. It combines engineering with the design to create order in human’s life.
What is it like studying at one of the best Art Universities in the US, Savannah School of Art and Design?
They make sure to keep you busy 24/7. The quality of education is excellent, and the artistic community is inspiring.
Do you see yourself achieving substantial change in architecture in the middle eastern part of the world, or in your country of Bahrain specifically?
Architecture wise, I wish that some day I could help people differentiate between “Architecture” and “Building”, especially in Bahrain. I look at Dubai, I look at Abu Dhabi and even Bahrain, and they out source architects from other parts of the world. In Qatar they now have the Islamic Contemporary Art Museum and they had international Chinese American architect I. M. Pei design it. It is awesome that we have an architect like him doing things in the gulf, but it’s kind of sad because we have a Chinese American architect designing an Islamic museum in a Muslim country. What I want to aspire to do is to replace the big international names with Arab names.
Who do you take inspiration from?
I like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It’s not the building he makes, it’s the concept behind them, it’s the entire process. I don’t look at architecture as the art of building I look at it as design. The design process in all mediums is the same, we all have to problem solving, creating concepts and go through steps, and it’s the outcomes that are different. When I say I take my inspiration form Mies van der Rohe’s designs I don’t mean I imitate his design style, I mean I draw from his design process. He talks allot about making what is necessary. For example when you design a structure you don’t design in to look like anything else but a structure. He believes in simplicity, making the building functional rather than ornamental, he always says ‘My attention to detail is my ornament,’ and though he says that he ends up with amazing architecture!
In conclusion, why don’t you tell us what are you favorite buildings in Bahrain?
The Bahrain National Museum and Mattar House.
WORDS: BADRIYA AL MAHMEED
To see more of Maitham’s work visit http://maitham.prosite.com