الهيما

This weekend the el hema الهيما project by mediamatic finally opend. The idea behind it is to create an arabic identity for the HEMA store chain (brand) which is about as Dutch as it can get.

The project had gotten quite a bit of media attention as HEMA had been so stupid to threaten to sue mediamatic for trademark infringement some 4 weeks back (which is more of less the best free publicity you can get). The whole thing is really well executed (much respect to the whole team that worked on it over the last two months). They did not sell anything on the opening night on friday (much to everybody’s dismay) and when they finally started selling the merchandise they almost got run over by hordes of dutch people who acted as if t-shirts (and condoms, chocolate, towels and underwear) with arabic script are something that that never existed before:

Just try to image the opposite scenario: Arabs going crazy over t-shirts with latin script on it (hint: does not really happen unless you are taling about expensive brand names). today when i passed by mediamatic there was a line stretching almost 100m outside of the shop. seemed like they were selling the first european iphones or something.

While the t-shirts are really nice (although the my favorite one does not even have text on it) my favorite part of the whole installation is the little arrow on the celing in one of the corners that indicates the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca (‘qibla’ / قِـبْـلَـة‬). Makes me almost want to have one for my flat….

More pictures (from the fashion show) here

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