The geometrician is a geometry research project created in 2020 by the Spanish architect Alberto Aguilar. Its main objective is the study of Islamic geometry through modern design tools and its dissemination to the general public at all levels.
We caught up with Alberto Aguilar to discover more about the project, highlighting sacred geometry to a wide audience and his thoughts on the future of Islamic art, heritage and culture.
How did you develop an interest and connection to Islamic geometry?
Geometry had always seemed interesting to me. In 2016 I visited the Alhambra in Granada (Spain) for the first time in many years and completely fell in love with the patterns, muqarnas and tessellations. I was really impressed. I just wanted to understand what rules were behind all that beauty. I felt an irrepressible scientific curiosity. So I began to explore and research it with the modern drawing tools and methods that I had learned in the architecture school. And the more I learned, the more I liked it.
Has your cultural heritage influenced your creative practice?
Of course. Andalusia, where I live, is a region of Spain where all expressions of Islamic culture are very present, from the intricate design of the historical centers of the cities to the monuments: the Alhambra of Granada, the Mosque of Córdoba, the Alcazaba of Málaga, the Alcazar of Sevilla and many others. The influence of Islamic culture is unquestionable.
Can you share more about your approach and inspiration to highlighting sacred geometry to a wide audience?
When I started studying and unraveling geometric patterns I discovered that it was very satisfying, I enjoyed learning. That was my goal at first, just enjoy and learn. As my research progressed, I realized that I was generating a high-value graphic content and I thought that maybe it was a good idea to share it with others, so I decided to create The geometrician and make my work public. When I did, the response exceeded my expectations. I received messages from many people who encouraged me to continue with the project. So I thought I was on the right track, and I've been on it ever since.
How do you reveal the geometry in the architecture and break down the patterns?
The process begins by obtaining some high-resolution photographs of the pattern or element that I want to study. I usually prefer to take my own photos. Those photos are the basis of my work. I carefully analyze them to find the lines of symmetry and key points. After that, I draw the pattern pieces in a 2d vector drawing software and assemble them like a puzzle. Normally I do it from the center of the pattern outwards, but this can vary according to each particular case. Finally, I add the colors to get the final result that is exported and published.
How long does it take for you to deconstruct a geometry pattern?
Since I have the photographs of the pattern until I have elaborated the vectors, I usually need between one and three full days of work (although on some occasions I have taken more than a week if the pattern is especially complex). Finally, I need one more day to make corrections, apply the colors, adjust the linetypes, add the titles and logos and assemble the publications. In short, a publication takes me about four days of work on averge.
What is your favourite example of sacred geometry in architecture?
I have many. But the most significant for me is the Alhambra, its beauty is the reason why I do this. Most of the studies in Islamic geometry that I have done come from there. I have even made a series of videos dedicated exclusively to this monument.
What has been the most memorable feedback you have had for your work?
There have been two memorable moments in terms of feedback. The first one was when I posted my first tutorial. I received photos from people all over the world who had done the tutorial and wanted to share the result with me. At that moment I understood that geometry was a universal language without borders. The second one was when the strong growth occurred. I had been posting content on The geometrician profile for about a year and suddenly the account went from 1K followers to 25K in less than four months. Sometimes people ask me what I did to grow like that, but the truth is that I didn't do anything special, I just kept working in the same way that I had done until then. I am very grateful for the big community that supports my work, I am very lucky.
For anyone looking to learn more about the art of Islamic geometry, what advice would you give?
I think the first thing to keep in mind is that Islamic geometry is complex. It requires a lot of patience to do it well and accurately. Nowadays we want everything fast and easy, and geometry is not like that. You have to respect it, understand that it requires time and effort and, above all, not give up (although sometimes it is hard). The feeling of having solved and understood the rules of a pattern is wonderful. It is worth the effort, without a doubt. It brings you closer to the understanding of beauty.
What do you think the future of Islamic art looks like and how do you think we can continue to keep the tradition alive?
I see a great future in the dissemination of Islamic art. To keep the tradition alive, I think we have to continue doing precisely what we are already doing. The number of Islamic art content creators is obviously increasing, and many of them are really good, they are excellent ambassadors of this culture. They are not only keeping the tradition alive, they are also updating it by applying the modern tools that we have now.
For more information check out:
The geometrician Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/the_geometrician/
Architect Alberto Aguilar Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/albertoaguilararq/
The views of the artists, authors and writers who contribute to Bayt Al Fann do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Bayt Al Fann, its owners, employees and affiliates.