One of the most significant cultural events in the Middle East, Dubai Design Week represents a platform that offers individuals and companies the opportunity to showcase their design experience and to open conversations about the most pressing issues of our times. Developed in a strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), the event presents a series of immersive, large-scale installations that highlight the festival’s theme: Design with Impact.
This year’s program is focused on designing a sustainable future. To promote this, Dubai Design Week has invited international and regional architects and designers to create installations that demonstrate creative design thinking, to introduce innovative materials, and spark conversations about the ways in which design can have a positive impact on the environment.
Read on to discover eight of the architectural installations presented at Dubai Design Week 2022.
Once Upon a Forest / OBMI
Created by the US-based office OBMI, the installation aims to combine sustainable design with the preservation of UAE’s natural landscape. The organic shape is inspired by the mangrove forets, one of the spectacular landscapes found in the United Arab Emirates. Visitors entering the pavilion’s floating canopy become immersed in an exploration of the protection and resiliency of the indigenous forest ecosystem.
How Much Does Your Debris Weigh? / Quartz Architects
UAE-based Quartz Architects have used waste and debris to create the enclosure of this experimental space. The installation displays cascading demolished materials in their raw state, strongly emphasizing their materiality. Employing the use of waste materials as the canopy of the pavilion creates an uneasy feeling of weight, thus inviting visitors to contemplate the impact of the building industry and rethink its relationship with materials.
IOTA / Karim Tamerji and Elias El Hage
The first installation to welcome visitors to this year's fair is IOTA, a site-specific artwork made as a cluster of freestanding and stackable earthen spheres. The objects are hand-crafted in varying colors and textures. They represent a celebration of the Middle East region and its natural resources. To create the installation, the designers moulded the material and also used an age-old rammed earth technique. Powerful in its finished form, the installation remains open to the sky in a playful layout allowing visitors to navigate to and from the entrance of the fair whilst also defining areas of circulation and rest.
Grounded in Hope / Grounded Design
The installation is a convergence of identities, dreams, and growth, distinct in its character, yet well-balanced by unity. Its repurposed fabric roots the tree in the past, grounding its soul and demonstrating that by transforming materials a new life is brought to them - allowing their tale to be told time and again. The installation aims to inspire environmentally conscious architecture and provide hope that old materials can be beautiful.
Seven Cypresses (Seven SARV) / Banafsheh Hemmati
In traditional symbolism, the tree is interpreted as a backrest pillar between the earth and the sky, but in this installation, the stable balance between the earth and the sky is no longer established, and the suspended trunks refer to the loss of this balance. Hemmati dedicates this installation as a memorial to the women of her land, who, like this installation, have been in a state of suspension for more than four decades. In Persian literature, the cypress is a metaphor for women. These seven cypresses symbolize the endurance and persistence of Iranian women.
Suhail Design / Reem Al Bustani
The inspiration behind this work is the Suhail star and its importance and fame in the Arab world. In Arab folklore, the appearance of the star represents the weather’s descent into cooler conditions. It is also believed to be a symbol of prosperity, abundance, and favorable times. The design of the installation is inspired by the rhythmic sounds of waves rising and falling during the rise of Suhail and the changing of seasons.
KIN / FADAA
The installation calls upon visitors to rethink their relationship with nature, end its exploitation, and learn to live symbiotically. KIN uses bio and oyster bricks, created using discarded shellfish from restaurants, along with natural, lo-carbon lime. The installation is also envisioned to host native plants and species.
Al Gargoor / Sara Alrayyes
Al Gargoor is a public installation made from gargoor, meaning used fishing nets, either in their native shape or with minimal alterations. The idea of the project is to develop a useful yet creative space by upcycling materials such as fishing nets, a representative object for the local culture. This installation aims to educate the next generation about the importance of the fishing culture while preserving Bahrain and the surrounding Gulf countries' unique identities. The project also incorporates traditional palm tree weaving (Sa'af) and naseej textiles, produced and crafted by local Bahrainis.