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MEMBERS Ammo Lio / Yue Yiang / Ok Okeun Lee
Tal Leizerovich / Nir Ze'evi / Vanane Borian



GoGlobal is a project that started at the RCA in 2005 aiming to bring together staff and studentsfrom top global design institutions for educational cross-cultural collaborations aimed at tackling regional or national scale issues. Our objective is to bridge the policy to implementation gap by using design thinking focussed through cross cultural interdisciplinary design teams. GoGlobal 2014 brings together staff and students from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College’s Innovation Design Engineering masters programme and postgraduate students from a range of design and engineering programmes at Shenkar College of Design and Engineering in Tel Aviv. Staff at Shenkar have been developing a range of important projects over several years and our collaboration brings these together for peace of design. The purpose of our three-week project is to work with a diverse range of crafts people in Israel and Palestine who have opportunities for design thinking to generate social and economic benefit.


This is a collaborative project between students from Royal College of Art (UK) and Shenkar College of Engineering and Design (Israel), and Maryam’s embroidery workshop in Bethlehem (West Bank).


The area around Bethlehem has well known for distinguished embroidery work. People in the Holy Land used to make a respectable living selling their embroidery craft. Since the situation changed dramatically, women can hardly sell their beautiful embroidery due to the shamble economy. In Maryam’s workshop, there are 3 people working there and 38 disabled women who do the embroidery at home. Each piece of embroidery work sold provides not only income and employment but also dignity and hope to the women disabilities and their families.


The aim of this cross-border project is to find a design solution to keep Palestinian embroidery lively and vibrant by offering products with identifying feature that carry Palestinian characteristics in the form and shape of motifs and patterns. It also aims to build up peaceful and open conversation between Palestinian and Israeli.






Palestinian embroidery has been a traditional craft made by village women. It is an important symbol of Palestine culture. Originally, embroidery was the decoration of Palestine women’s clothing, which recorded their daily life and showed their personal skills and social identity. The earliest Palestinian embroidery combines pre-dominantly geometry and abstract patterns. The patterns, for example cypress tress, moon, eye of the camel and feathers represent the daily routine of Palestinian women. Some of th­­e motifs were introduced to this area by European missionaries and educationalists from 1930s, and some of the motifs appeared as a result of foreign occupation. The ‘pasha’s tent’ is a reference to Ottoman times, and the ‘officer’s pips’ was first found on British Mandatory military uniforms.Cross-stitch is one of the most popular stitching methods in Palestinian culture. Old women embroider as part of their daily life, while young women embroider in order to preserve embroidery tradition and to earn a living.




Maryam is very keen to have new design for her crafts, so after the first visit, we started to experiment on fabric colouring and pattern transforming. We tried tie-dye, decolouring by bleacher and stamping on fabrics, and the results gave different colour effect. However considering the workshop situation after talking with Maryam in the second visit, we decided to keep only logo stamping for further development.


Several samples were developed based on the idea of pattern on dyeing fabric and changeable embroidery gap. We brought the samples to Maryam’s workshop and discussed with them about the design for new products. The concept of embroidery gap was selected because it has more variability and it is easier to learn. For the final deliverables, all the embroidery patterns were made by Maryam and other disabled women.The ‘Beyond Invisible’ concept is not only about the final products we co-designed, it also about the idea of flexible boarder and open communication between Palestine and Israeli. The ‘hidden beauty’ is designed as an inspirational concept for Maryam, and it can be adopted in various kinds of products in future.






The ‘Beyond Invisible‘ collection embraces the beauty of Palestinian embroidery in the form of ‘hidden pattern’. The ‘hidden pattern’ is a metaphor for the gap between people living on the border. With the change of the ‘hidden beauty’ as the fabric stretches, it implies a flexible boarder and an open conversation between Palestinian and Israeli. It also represents the wish for peace and harmony between people from the two areas.


The collection includes two T-shirts with inserted embroidery piece at two sides or on the sleeves, two tote bags with embroidery in the middle, one foldable moon-pattern bag, one foldable sack bag and a laptop protector. The ‘hidden beauty’ stays in the gap when the bag is empty and it appears as the bag gets full. The changing embroidery pattern refers to the flexible ‘border’ between the two areas, and the wish for more communication and understanding between Palestinian and Israeli.By introducing the idea of flexible boarder and hidden beauty, it builds Maryam’s brand identity and reduces the embroidery work the women need to do on individual product, thus bring in more support for their work and their family.



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