LONDON: Dubai Culture and Arts Authority has unveiled its “And Beyond” design installation, celebrating the city’s past, present and future, at the fourth London Design Biennale.
Dubai’s pavilion at the international event includes a blend of content that reflects the emirate’s heritage and achievements, from the caravans of camels that once crossed the deserts and helped establish cultural exchanges between the societies of the time, to the launch of the Emirates Mars Mission’s Hope probe in July 2020.
“It’s extremely important for us to showcase locally-based talent outside the UAE, so it’s part of a bigger ecosystem where we try to see the top talents then export those talents abroad,” Saeed Mubarak Kharbash Al-Marri, the CEO of arts and literature at Dubai Culture, told Arab News.
As the custodian of arts and culture in Dubai, the authority considers a wide range of strategies relating to this duty, in line with the requirements of government, and also works closely with the UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, he added
The installation at the London Design Biennale, which opened on June 1 at arts center Somerset House and continues until June 25, was created by Emirati architect and designer Abdalla Almulla. Dubai Culture commissioned him to come up with an idea that aligned with the overall theme of this year’s event, “The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations.”
“I chose two forms of collaboration that happened within the city, one being the desert, using camels to navigate harsh environments, and then in sending the Hope probe to explore Mars,” Almulla said.
“The contrast of these two collaborations shows the vision that the UAE and Dubai have in terms of different landscapes, different explorations, yet which have many similarities.
“As you enter the pavilion, you start experiencing the sand dunes, walking among the caravans, and then ultimately you see a reflective sphere that represents Mars and you feel that you are navigating the landscape of Mars.”
The installation also showcases innovative prototypes that Dubai has adopted in a number of fields, including sustainability, society, the environment and space, as part of a global initiative launched by the emirate last year called “Prototypes for Humanity.”
These prototypes are intended to envision the future and push the limits of human achievement to a new level. Some of those on display in the pavilion include ideas for removing space debris from around the Earth, and robots capable of navigating the desert and planting seeds automatically.
Almulla, the founder of MULA Design Studio in Dubai, said his installation also highlights the pioneering work in Dubai in the fields of desert and space exploration.
“All these pioneering visions to collaborate and innovate are rooted in the city’s values, and they will be rooted in the people’s values, especially the youth, in terms of wanting to innovate and finding a platform to raise awareness,” he explained.
Khulood Khoory, director of the projects and events department at Dubai Culture, said one of the authority’s main pillars is to empower and nurture talent, and the event in London offers an opportunity not only to spread awareness of Emirati talent, but also to give the designer a chance to explore new avenues in the design sphere.
She said the authority had worked with several designers who submitted proposals for the event and Almulla was ultimately chosen by the jury as a result of his valuable experience in Dubai’s architecture and design sector, and a concept for the installation that was very much in line with the theme of remapping collaborations.
“It’s a great opportunity for us, also, to bring our values, our design and our heritage to an international audience, but also to highlight key innovative ideas that people are working on across the world, and Dubai always works as a great hub and a platform to incubate these ideas,” Khoory added.
“Dubai Culture is also looking into other forms of creativity, like emerging arts, whether that’s culinary arts (or) digital arts; what are the new forms of art that we should be developing, exploring and also promoting as a hub for creativity in the United Arab Emirates?” she added.