As part of Dubai Design Week, which runs until Nov. 14, Dubai-based architect Jumanah Rizk in collaboration with Belgian company Delta Light have created “Earthly.”
On display at Dubai Design District, the large-scale relational installation embodies sensitive sensibility and timelessness.
Rizk’s new proposition for seating takes the form of a monolithic natural earth structure using locally sourced compressed sand and earth to form platforms of alternating heights. “Earthly is rooted in an interest in the natural environment and material experimentation, particularly scavenging, mixing, and compressing locally abundant materials from the landscapes of the UAE,” explained Rizk. “It is certainly an approach to alternative construction methods.”
The landscape-based seating features pockets of gravel and vegetation, serving as “a material exploration that creates harmony between aesthetics and ecology, through reclaiming and the repurposing of natural materials,” she added.
Environmentally conscious and energy efficient, Rizk’s design and her choice of materials are natural, non-toxic, non-polluting and “breathe” in a way that only organic matter can. “Sustainability is at the core of my practice, with a holistic approach to the environment that involves circular design,” she remarked. “In the Earthly installation, construction materials and sands from building sites were repurposed to become an urban intervention.” While introduced for the 2020 edition of Dubai Design Week, Earthly has longevity. It is a project that does not necessitate dismantling or removal come the end of the showcase. Rather, Earthly can remain as an ephemeral entity or be easily repositioned elsewhere.
The installation is the result of a series of experiments Rizk undertook over the last several years. “It invites a distant gathering in its formal layout, yet draws people in through its tactile quality,” added Rizk. In spite of fulfilling a need for a sedentary activity, it emphasizes and encourages a heightened and physical experience of the outdoors. “Its earthly nature is a texture that is interesting to touch, a grounding, calming and contemplative experience,” she notes.
Bringing landscapes of the UAE into the urban sphere, Rizk makes an honest return to formal and conceptual rawness and quiet timeless elegance.