Sasan Bassirat is an Iranian English graduate and tour guide who has combined his passion for Persian architecture and culture with art. In this article, he describes two of his latest works: ‘Desolated Iwan’ and ‘Tomb of Anonymous Poet’.


From the Artist: Desolated Iwan [pictures above as the main image] presents the concept of Iwan, a traditional element of the ancient Persian architecture, incorporated in a modern multistoried building. The term Iwan is referred to a rectangular space that is open on the one side and usually roofed by a vaulted ceiling. More elaborate designs of the Iwans were later used in mosques during the Islamic period. The remnants of a magnificent royal palace in Ctesiphon, the capital of Parthian and Sassanid Empires (two Pre-Islamic Persian dynasties), were a major source of inspiration for this work. One may have to be there in Ctesiphon to grasp the grandeur of that building in view of the ancient technology used to build it. However, some images of the people standing at its gateway can provide us with a glimpse of its size. Some specific efforts are made in this design to convey a similar grandeur in a contemporary structure.

Iwans can be regarded as a middle ground between internal and external space in architecture. In order to have a similar effect in time, as in space, a parallel middle ground is also established between past and present in Desolate Iwan. We have some familiar features from the past, like a vaulted Iwan, relatively weathered marble or a carriage in the scene. In contrast, a rather tall building with multiple levels and reflective glass windows are also introduced as the modern elements of this work. Therefore, some traditional and modern features are combined here to suggest a sense of timelessness in this work.


'Tomb of Anonymous Poet' by Sasan Basirat [Soure: Sasan Basirat]
‘Tomb of Anonymous Poet’ by Sasan Basirat [Soure: Sasan Basirat]

From the Artist: Tomb of Anonymous Poet [pictured above] is an original idea that was designed and drawn over a long process. The concept of building finds its roots in my general interest in architectural designs and specifically the artistic aspects of the external facades. Accordingly, the entire concept is based on my personal aesthetic perspective, rather than any distinguished thematic or stylistic premise.

As evident in the drawing, the geometrical structure is comprised of a blue tiled dome and an open vault, which are reminiscent of the traditional elements of Persian architecture such as tiled dome and Iwan. There was initially an inchoate idea of the decoration on the dome that resulted in a spontaneous drawing of its prototype. Then I found similar patterns in nature including the different shades of green on Malachite stone. A simplified version of these patterns was designed and applied to the final spherical form. The other parts of the drawing including the stalactites under the vault and the scenery were gradually incorporated later in the designing process. Two almost opposite colors with similar shadings (or gradations) were selected for the sky and the ground to effect a contrast between them.


About the Artist:  Sasan Bassirat is a graduate of English literature from Shiraz, Iran. He works as a translator, a private English teacher and a tour guide. Being an official tour guide, Sasan has studied a lot about historical monuments in Iran. This has fuelled his passion for Persian architecture, which enjoys sharing with the world through his art.