For years we’ve been keeping a close eye on UK-based Soner Ozenc, of SOPDS (Soner Ozenc Product Design Studio), who has wowed us repeatedly with his electroluminescent designs. But it is his latest work, a high-tech illuminated prayer rug, that is poised to catch on throughout the Muslim world. Devout Muslims pray towards Mecca five times a day, sometimes using a small and portable mat that rolls out. SOPDS’ EL Sajjadah is a rug that illuminates when it is pointed to the holy city of Mecca – and they just launched a Kickstarter campaign to support it!

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With 1.6 billion Muslims living across the world, many of whom do not have access to the neighborhood mosques that are readily accessible in countries from Egypt to Indonesia, the potential for this thin, lightweight and ultramodern mat is huge. EL Sajjadah is not only easy to carry around, but can also be hung on a wall as an art piece.

EL Sajjadah displays the correct direction in which to pray using electro luminescent fibers that brighten as the rug points closer to Mecca. The mat’s design combines modern technology with traditional Islamic art. Easily portable, EL Sajjadah can operate using rechargeable batteries or it can be plugged into a power supply.

The bright teal colored patterns reveal timeless elements including a mosque at the heart of heaven, the light of God (Allah) just below the crescent, and markings for the mat’s owner to place his or her hands and feet. The bright teal is one of Islam’s holy colors, which contrasts with the black representing the Holy Kaaba in Mecca. The Mosque pattern is reminiscent of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, one of the most stunning places of worship in the world.

SOPDS just started its Kickstarter fundraising campaign and it needs pledges totaling $100,000 by August 14 if this project is to move forward. Considering the long history and sublime beauty that marks Islamic art, this modern take on a centuries-old tradition is a project that makes it easier for Muslims to practice their faith while building bridges to cultural understanding from which the world could still very much benefit.


Photos courtesy SOPDS Facebook page.