Creative studio House of Gül on its liberating step towards spirituality and art

When we last spoke to Ali Godil, House of Gül was already making a name for itself as a studio with a creative conscience. Since then, the studio has made an assertive leap from commercially driven projects in favor of projects that feel “authentic and meaningful”. Ali explains: “I just realized that I didn’t want to become a blind vehicle for turbo-capitalism and always wanted to be motivated to create for commercial purposes, so I developed my own artwork, voice and sensibilities.” An important part of this evolution for House of Gül was a decisive step away from Eurocentric design traditions. This involved a conscious effort to collaborate with artists and designers from all corners of the globe, allowing the studio to move forward with increasingly “diverse perspectives and solutions,” says Ali.

Perhaps the biggest transformation that has taken place since we last spoke is that House of Gül is now both a creative studio and Ali’s artistic practice. The creative says that he has recently worked on a series of artworks that are mainly inspired by “God and the beautiful craftsmanship of nature”. Numerous references to architecture, textiles, poetry and history are woven into these graphic explorations. Each piece is the result of a holistic creative practice that involves “meditating, praying and just walking in nature,” and are deeply “rooted in my spiritual experience,” says Ali. The results are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the mind – a collage-like flow of consciousness, executed with Ali’s beautifully colorful and playful graphic style.

Returning to some of the commissioned work recently released from House of Gül, Ali emphasizes the importance of working with clients who align with the studio’s values. One of the customers who made the cut was Kismat Tea. The brand is committed to bringing authentic Indian spices to the Western audience, navigating a “culturally appropriated” market filled with dismal “watered down” substitutes for real Indian tea: “they are retaking the chai market with their grandmother’s recipes and bring tradition into modern times with their tea blends”.

House of Gül did the brand identity, creative direction and design for Kismat. For this project, the studio wanted to “embody the sensual intoxication and regal feeling of drinking a hot cup with family”. The photography for the project captures this atmosphere perfectly. The viewer is taken to an Eden-esque garden where a woman puts a cup of tea ethereal to her lips in a glittering sari. This overall effect is brought down to earth by a good dose of kitsch provided by the playful artificiality of the fake flowers and the gigantic set of curlers in the woman’s hair. The posters for the project complement this charming meander between authenticity and modernity with their inspiration drawn from Pakistani truck art and old Bollywood movie posters.

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