Dubai based ibda design, through its principals Wael Al Awar from Lebanon and Kenichi Teramoto from Japan have been appointed as the curators for the National Pavilion of the UAE at the 2020 Venice Biennale. Their winning proposal explores “sea salt as a traditional, locally-sourced building material, and its potential uses for developing sustainable habitation in desert environments like the UAE”.
The 2020 Venice Biennale, curated by Lebanese architect Hashim Sarkis under the theme How Will We Live Together? explores the potential of architecture as an enabler “to engage people and communities across increasing social, economic, political and digital divides”. From the 23rd of May till the 29th of November 2020, the UAE Pavilion will showcase ibda design’s exhibition.
Our approach to design interweaves natural light, time, structure, and landscape with architecture. We are continually inspired by natural phenomena and the ways in which architects can adapt organic materials to create sustainable designs […] We are honored to have been selected as the curators for the National Pavilion UAE, and we’d like to thank the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation for this opportunity to expand our research into this important global conversation. Salt is a geologically fascinating substance as well as one of the UAE’s most abundant natural resources, and through our exhibition, we’ll explore its potential as an environmentally-friendly building material. -- Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, Principal Architects of ibda design.
The principals of ibda design, Wael Al Awar who holds a B.Arch from the American University of Beirut, and Kenichi Teramoto who holds an M.Arch from Tokyo University of Science, have similar stories that lead them to leave their home countries and collaborate in Dubai. The firm is a multidisciplinary architecture, landscape, and urban design studio that “addresses the social, environmental, economic and technological aspects of architectural projects”. Their projects include Dubai’s Jameel Arts Centre, Hai d3 and Jeddah’s Hayy Cultural Hub.
Marking the UAE’s tenth exhibition at the Venice Biennale, the 2020 curators were selected after an open call that attracted both a national and an international audience with 97 proposals, showcasing “diverse ideas and vibrant perspectives on local and global architecture from a variety of voices”. The National Pavilion of the UAE for the Biennale di Venezia is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.
Curating a Venice Biennale pavilion is a balance between representing region-specific ideas and telling untold local stories while remaining relevant to global themes and conversations that resonate with the Biennale’s diverse audience. ibda design maintains a uniquely cross-continental approach and its Principal Architects bring professional experience from Tokyo to Rotterdam, meaning they will be bringing a fresh perspective on the dialogue between the region’s architecture and the world’s to the National Pavilion UAE. -- Khulood Al Atiyat, Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage at the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, commissioner of the National Pavilion UAE.