We are accustomed to the Chester Beatty Library producing astoundingly beautiful objects and putting them on display for us to look at – but even by the library’s standards, the Ruzbihan Qur’an was something special.
Our design challenge was to tastefully and accurately display thirty-two single folios and double-page openings from the Ruzbihan Qur’an with another 21 folios partially displayed to facilitate discussion of the main pigments used (Lapis & Gold). Three other 16th-century Qur’ans and a 15th-16th-century manual on Qur’an recitation, all from the Library’s own collections, were also to be included in the display area.
The marvels of Islamic geometry are not just a beautiful accident and we were inspired to use particular parts of these elements from the Qur’an on the larger display boards and digital showreel. Bespoke display cabinets and hand-painted walls set the scene and created a suitable atmosphere for this incredible work to be absorbed and enjoyed.
To complement the geometry and bold colours of the surroundings we created a hand-rendered font for the display title, ‘Lapis & Gold’. Calligraphic techniques directly from the Qur’an were to be highlighted and by going through our own creative exercise with the brand we were able to showcase the technique in our own language.