The concept of the website first emerged through the Principal of Atelier Hapsitus, Nadim Karam, and was materialised thereafter by our colleague Alfred Tarazi who completed the draft design. This initial design formed the first phase of a longer website development and enhancement process.
The first difficulty we faced was to gather and scan all the requisite material that would later form the content of the website. Kaya Karam assisted in coordinating all our efforts and went on to provide most of the texts. Design-wise, ironing out all the functionality subtleties took a considerable amount of time.
Marcel Farjallah of Fluid Design started the development of the website using Adobe Flash at the end of 2007, with work extending over a period of three to four months. Coding was completed at the beginning of 2008. Several meetings between Fluid Design and Atelier Hapsitus were conducted during that period to discuss the general interface before the site was finalized.
The website showcases technically challenging features that required innovation and creativity from both parties. The sequence at the beginning is different each time the website is started, with the figurines of Nadim Karam appearing in random order and random places. Much testing was required to get the drawings to spread out and cover the desired screen area. The sheer number of elements would sometimes bring the Flash runtime and browser to a crawl, rendering website usability and efficiency a priority issue to address. In response, the development team successfully compacted the data of the main flash component to a mere 147KB size while the rest are loaded dynamically when needed.
The design was scalable to fit all types of screen sizes resulting in a more flexible website accommodating the different machines of various visitors.
‘Usually, architects aren't the easiest creative people to work with!’ says Farjallah, but for this specific job with Atelier Hapsitus, it was a genuine collaborative effort with each member handling a different task in a well-coordinated effort.