Fantasies of Isaura

Design Research

Conceptual Design

Installation Art

Model Making

Wearable Design

Isaura is the city of a thousand wells. In this city, the townies are able to dig holes in the ground and draw up as much water as they please, for there is a calcareous lake below them. There are also gods of the town. Some believe they reside in the water itself and others believe that they live in the mechanics of the city that draw the water. There’s not a conclusive answer, it’s folklore for all we know. 


In my narrative, Isaurians have abused their access to natural resources (the water) and the gods have become displeased. As a punishment, the gods shifted the landscape, making it dangerous and difficult to access fresh and clean water. Deepening their limitations, they also destroyed many of the wells. This contaminates the water when drawn. Until the ecosystem regains its balance, the people of Isaura will suffer. 


Fantasies of Isaura explores a possible future in which mankind's interaction with the urban environment is obstructed due to the exploitation of natural resources. With the reality of our depleting planet, this project also explores sustainable ideas towards urbanism and primitive survival strategies.

Survivor Suit

After the main source of energy (the water) was stripped away from the city, Isauraians now have to rely on primitive tactics for survival.  By using nature as nature technology, Isaurians are able to navigate through the landscape and sustain their livelihood. With nature being the only way to survive, the Isaurian Officials designed a vest that would contain and preserve the plants as the user endured the water hunt expedition. In addition to the plant pockets, there is a viewing device to decode the signpost directions and a biomimetic sensor that detects harmful airborne chemicals (mimicking the nature of a spider web). Fun Fact: Velcro is a biomimetic design.

Suit Contents & Uses
Viewing Finder [fantastical : vinyl]
Air Pollution Sensor [fantastical : string]

Nettle Leaves (rope)

Sticks, & Stones (fire)

Eternal Light Mushrooms (night light)

Needle & Magnet (compass)

Aloe Vera (healing device)

Interactive Poster

The Isaurian Officials are the city’s governmental executives. They are responsible for creating laws, publishing public information, and protecting their citizens. The design of this logo uses the letter “I” and “O” turned counterclockwise. The circle added above the “I” and “O” is intended to add personification and exhibit the brand’s humanity. Instead of making marketing collateral that could be easily ignored or discarded, the Isaurian Officials designed a poster that would encourage the city residents to interact with the material. By using the red viewing device, the message is then revealed. 

Viewing Device

The viewing devices reveal the messages hidden underneath the pattern design.

12" x 12" maguette and signage design

Landscape Model

Foreshadowed by the poster put out by the city, hidden messages are embedded onto the geometric signpost. They can only be decoded with the viewing device found on your vest. Decoding the messages will identify the path to the wells that draw fresh and clean water. The terrain of these spaces is not dangerous. Once arrived at the well,  buckets are provided by the sign stations to draw the water. The maquette was made to represent the idea of danger in the city of Isaura. Within the landscape wayfinding signage that directs the water hunt crew to the wells that draw fresh and clean water. By making this small-scale model, I was able to visualize and test a variety of shapes and ideas that helped develop the narrative for this project.

Dangerous Landscape

As an experiment, I constructed a full-scale model of the blades that emerged from the Isaurian landscape. The idea for this project was to provide user experience of the narrative and open conversations about the current state of our ecology.

Pocket Size Field Guide  for Landscape Survival

Pocket Size Survival Vest Manual

Surrealist Collages

Texture Design

After developing the language of the fantastical city, I created a series of eight textures that embodied the meaning of the chosen vocabulary. These textures were used to illustrate the feeling of the words and their relation to the story of Isaura. 

Analog Type Design

When developing the visual identity of the invisible city,  I choose four words that I felt described the story. I then designed each word to reflect its description and the story of Isaura. 


Mythic describes folklore (tall tale).

Whimsical describes the playful nature of the gods.

Mechanical describes the movement of the city.

Sensorial describes the impulsing feeling of the story.

Process Books


Amira Maruf © 2020