Raajje Map: A design journey
Here at Island Bazaar, our process for design is organic, bespoke and meticulous. We get inspired by our nature, or surroundings, our culture and our heritage. As with most of our designs, the first product since its inception have garnered a cult like following from our loyal customers. It is indeed the Maldivian map.
The archipelago of Maldives is strung out in the Indian Ocean in such a way that it resembles a garland of flowers, or perhaps a pearl necklace. Since our childhood days our map has been a source of inspiration and fascination. We strive to search for it whenever we see a world atlas. We love its shape, the number of atolls and how it perfectly evoke the uniqueness of our island nation. Hence, for us the map of the Maldives is a personal design inspiration.
Our links to the map dates back to when we first started our brand in 2015 we realised the need to incorporate the Maldivian map into our design from wanting to own our heritage and our identity as a country. Few maps around the world can resemble the identities of a nation, its people and culture. As such the unique design not only blends well with our water colour backgrounds, but it complements our simple yet elegant design motifs.
On the first day of the South West or Hulhangu Monsoon in 2016, we introduced our throw cushion range with our Fenn Kulhi Collection. In the midst of 12 custom designs came the Raajje Map blended in colours of lagoon, teal and aqua, within weeks the map tote bag as well the cushion covers became a customer favourite.
Due to the following that it garnered and our commitment to this custom design we also introduced postcards in our Noo series. It also was incorporated into our magnets, sarong and scarves, travel key tags, journals, as well as onto our T-shirts. The Raajje map has indeed not only become one of our staple minimalist design go to’s, but it also is what our customers gravitate towards. It evokes our lifestyle and is a part of our daily lives.
In line with this tradition, we are immensely excited to bring to you our newest take on the map, in illustrated form. The Maldives archipelago design is an exciting venture for us. We have been working on this idea since that hulhangu day in 2016 when we initially launched our Raajje Map cushion cover. Our initial thought was to write a children’s book to accompany the illustrated map. Being unable to work in our traditional settings in the past year we chose to go ahead with the design with Maldivian Artist Azoo, [Fathimath Azleena] to realise this idea. Azoo helped make this concept into a reality for us in the past year. One of the most exciting products with this design is a puzzle we have introduced this week. The design has over 20 hand illustrated artworks and texts that celebrates our diverse environment and culture. From the majestic whale sharks and turtles to the beautiful local people to our intricate boats and stunning landscapes.
With the roll out of the new collection, the Maldives Archipelago design will come as a poster, post card, magnet and a 200 piece puzzle ideal for kids and adults. We also look forward to bring you the children’s book that was the origins of the illustrated design idea, some time this year. It is worth mentioning that all our existing posters and postcards are printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper; which are responsibly harvested. The paper used come from virgin tree fibres without harming the existing ecosystem, protecting the indigenous land and its peoples. This affirms our commitment to sustainability.
The Maldives map is something we hold dear to our hearts. In modern times and even in the old school hand painted tourist shop days, we see many unique takes on this design concept in our market. Rather than feeling overwhelmed with the saturation or fear of duplication, we find it inspiring to see it being incorporated into design and art in so many unique ways.
As we are still living through a pandemic, with restrictions and staying indoors we resorted to fun yet constructive ways to pass our time. Therefore, puzzles have great educational capacity to inspire critical thinking skills as well as problem solving and it can bring families and friends together. Once solved or completed, it brings us hope and a sense of accomplishment. At a time when we cannot travel, it brings a sense of journey and escape. Here at Island Bazaar, this is the message we bring to you for the year ahead.
Aishath Shifa Shafeeg @eyeschipha
Aishath Latheef @milkandyolk
Sarah Haleem @sarahhaleemphoto
Mimrah Naeem @mimrahnaeem
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