Sharjah Architecture Triennial

Exhibition / Installation Design / Film

Location: Al Qasimia School, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Year: 2023

Date: 11.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

Status: Temporary Exhibition

Space Caviar

Exhibtion Images made possible by
Graham Foundation

Image of Exhibtion by
Danko Stjepanovic. Courtesy of Sharjah Architecture Triennial.

“CONTEXT IN DESIGN, DESIGN IN CONTEXT”, leans on the approach of contextual design within the long term research project, Africa - A Designer’s Utopia (AADU) a project that looks into and archiving the design and manufacturing of indigenous contemporary design solutions and products in major West African cities. Looking into these typologies and solutions within the archive, findings are used to explore new contemporary design languages that are inherently contextual to behavior, spaces, people, material and history.

To elaborate this further, “Context in Design, Design in Context” takes an existing solution, the Waf kiosk and replicates the same typology within the context of Sharjah, posing the question of design conditions in both Lagos and Sharjah. This exercise has allowed a dialogue between the cities, while allowing this production process of the pavilion act as a deep dive into Sharjah’s rich history of gargour weaving (used to make fishing baskets) in time for the Sharjah Architecture Triennale, 2023.

At the start of every calendar month of the Triennial the pavilion will change arrangements to reveal modularity in both form and experience.

The exhibition breaks down the production process of the Waf Kiosk made in both Lagos and Sharjah, highlighting similarities and differences in material and form. Touching on the gargour weaving technique from the UAE region and the open bamboo weaving technique used in the original design and production of the Waf kiosk in Lagos, Nigeria. The exhibition space also showcases archive images from “Africa - A Designer’s Utopia” that highlights the users, products and interactions with the objects through lifesize images taken on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria. 

A film by nmbello Studio, “CONTEXT IN DESIGN, DESIGN IN CONTEXT” follows the production process of the kiosk in both Lagos, Nigeria and Sharjah, UAE. The film dives into the fabrication of the metal frames and follows closely the weavers and weaving technique used to create the kiosks, bamboo weaving technique in West Africa and the gargour date palm weaving technique in the Middle East, probing a dialogue and narrative of the similarities in both cities while posing the question of the potential of design being a commodity to both cities.