With such an intensely exciting week of architecture and design—like being a kid in a candy store—, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Dubai Design Week’s popular exhibition Abwab showcased entirely new work from designers and studios from Algeria, Bahrain, India, Iraq, Palestine and the United Arab Emirates; an excellent starting point.
Rawan Kashkoush, Creative Director of Abwab stated in a press release: “The Abwab pavilions are a microcosm of diversity each year, showcasing design in a format that brings the region closer together.”
Abwab was housed in a pavilion cluster designed by architects Meitha Al Mazrooi, Hatem Hatem and Fortuné Penniman of UAE-based architectural practice A Hypothetical Office. The architects chose to make the pavilions from a re-appropriated greenhouse structure to form a ‘housh’ or courtyard, a playful nod to Arab neighborhood nostalgia that is both enclosed and permeable.
Named after the Arabic word for ‘doors’, the Abwab initiative is dedicated to exploring the design narrative of countries within the MENASA region. This year, emerging and established graphic designers, product designers, photographers and architects from above-mentioned countries responded to the theme of ‘The Human Senses,’ by creating their own individual pavilion.
All six very appealing, but the Palestine pavilion brought reflection on a beloved material. Olive wood carving represents a third of the artisanal industry in Bethlehem, but cheap imports and mass customization are threatening this 16th century tradition. French-Palestinian architects Elias Anastas and Yousef Anastas have created an innovative olive wood structure in the Palestine pavilion that celebrates the imperfections of the olive wood master carvers’ craft.
Check out designMENA’s exploration of the Abwab pavilions.