Created by Studio Studio Studio, the new interdisciplinary lab founded by Edoardo Tresoldi, Gharfa is a pavilion located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The experimental installation is part of the temporary creative project Diriyah Oasis, designed and curated by Dubai-based studio Designlab Experience.
Positioned next to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the At-Turaif District, the project “stages the intimate relationship between man, landscape and architecture through the reinterpretation of the human relationship with cultural archetypes”. Commissioned by the Diriyah Season Committee, and designed by Studio Studio Studio and Edoardo Tresoldi in collaboration with designer Alberonero, musician Max Magaldi, and garden designer Matteo Foschi, the founder of Odd Garden Studio, Gharfa offers a new type of experience in the Saudi Kingdom.
With a concept inspired by local ruins, the multi-disciplinary intervention joins Edoardo Tresoldi’s Absent Matter approach, with the use of his famous wire mesh technique. Nevertheless, Gharfa is the first work of ephemeral architecture for the designer that is not blending visually with the context and that is utilizing cork to generate masses. For once, he imagined a structure that is an architectural fortress, “offering mere glimpses of what is happening within it”.
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Duna, the semi-transparent fabric-based installation by Alberonero, dialogues in a complementary way with Gharfa, symbolizing a white horizon, a journey into the void. […] Inside the space, a video installation created by Tresoldi virtually recreates fire and its inherently human aggregation force. Adding a touch of traditional Arabian cultural heritage, the use of a carpet in another installation acts as a counterpart to a sky made of artificial clouds, suggesting a metaphorical connection between traditional and contemporary worlds.
Occurring in a period of major changes, the site-specific installation uses different elements to generate spaces in which visitors can meet, rest, and meditate. In fact, the overall experience resembles a theatrical performance where technique, reality, and illusion come together. Finally, “Gharfa shapes an expressive experience that first shatters and then restores the thin line between collective imagination, individual imagery, and narrative fiction”.
The complexity brought by the involvement of Arabian style decor, often characterized by symmetrical yet delicate features, gets sublimated by Tresoldi and Matteo Foschi’s green installation, in which the greenery is made to intertwine with industrial materials. […] In Max Magaldi's sound narration, each musical segment is simultaneously independent yet interconnected. The composition can only be heard in its entirety from the center of the structure. This way, the particular spatial arrangement of the installation allows visitors to experience their own personal audio "mix".