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MEAN* reveals cathedral-like pavilion with lightweight fabric strips at Dubai's World Trade Center
United Arab Emirates Architecture News - Oct 26, 2021 - 15:58 933 views
Dubai-based architecture studio MEAN* (Middle East Architecture Network) has designed a temporary cathedral-like pavilion made of lightweight fabric strips at Dubai's World Trade Center, United Arab Emirates.
Called Luminescents Pavilion, the pavilion was designed for MANE, a pioneering French group and one of the worldwide leaders of the Fragrance industry.
The pavilion's primary purpose is aimed to represent the ethos of innovation, sustainability, and collaboration at a global, Dubai-based industry convention.
Although the pavilion appears a heavy and massive structure, the structure is made of lightweight fabric strips that give the same affect. The pavilion hosts ten scents crafted by ten expert perfumers, taking the visitor on a multi-sensorial journey.
"The stimulating space is a result of cross-pollinating architecture with the craft of fragrance making," said MEAN*.
The floor plan of the structure is symmetrical. The circulation directs the visitor in a zig-zag-like motion through the space to experience the different scents.
As opposed to the austere and monolithic exterior, the studio designed the interior space with ephemeral and lightweight fabric strips to have a minimal ecological impact.
"Different tones of Yellow, the color of hope, were chosen for the fabric. Each module had a gradual transition of color from a dark shade to a light shade."
"The lightest shade of Yellow is ‘Pantone Illuminating Yellow,’ the color of the year 2021, which surrounds the black pedestals that host each of the fragrances," the studio added.
The pavilion is composed of 24 modules, with only six unique types. The unassuming exterior takes the visitor into a 'dramatic sanctuary', while each module highlights one of the fragrances below.
The design of the modules was to explicitly enclose the structure from the sides while also keeping a sense of ambiguity from the entrance, reducing the visitor's vision; the cascading fabric creates discrete arched enclosures.
Each module hosts 150 pieces of fabric that vary in width and height, which was produced with the aid of computational design and digital fabrication, each piece of fabric was tagged with a unique identifier to assist in the building process.
The modules are triangular, with longer and wider pieces of fabric at the periphery, and smaller pieces of fabric at the center, generating a gradient in color and size. The implementation of this strategy was to minimize the amount of material used to achieve the spatial effect.
The steel structure hosting the modules is composed of a truss-like triangulated roof supported by fifteen columns. The number of unique modules is kept to a minimum to avoid complications during manufacturing and installation while achieving a complex interior.
According to MEAN*, Luminescents Pavilion investigates themes of hope, resilience, rejuvenation, and light as notions of optimism - to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pavilion’s design refers to these ideas to create a modular structure that suspends fabric from the ceiling, highlighting the scents underneath.
MEAN* is an innovative architecture practice that works at the nexus of design and emergent technologies.
MEAN* was founded in 2016 by architect, entrepreneur and researcher Riyad Joucka, since its inception, MEAN* has developed projects of varying scales and functions.
The overarching theme of the work produced by MEAN* responds to the contemporary context of the Middle East, developing a site-specific, native architectural language in juxtaposition to avant-garde technologies.
The studio recently revealed design for a modular 3D-printed Majlis House in Abu Dhabi. The studio also designed a retreat featuring a sculptural limestone and glass façade in Jebel Jais, the highest peak of the United Arab Emirates.
Project name: Luminescents Pavilion
Location: Dubai, UAE
Project Team: Riyad Joucka, Wael Nasrallah, Amro Mansy
All images © Alex Jeffries
All drawings © MEAN*
> via MEAN*