Pillow Fort Playground (نلعب بيت؟)

Marble
357 x 289 x 160 cm, 143 x 120 x 52 cm
2021
Al Forsan Park - Al Ghayath trail, Expo 2020 Dubai

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Afra Al Dhaheri, Pillow Fort Playground (نلعب بيت؟), 2021. Installation view at Expo 2020 Dubai ©️ Afra Al Dhaheri 2021. Courtesy Expo 2020 - Dubai

Artist Afra Al Dhaheri worked with Factum Arte on her site-specific installation Pillow Fort Playground (نلعب بيت؟) with Green Art Gallery, as part of the Public Art Programme of Expo 2020 Dubai (October 1 2021 - March 31 2022). According to the artist, the pillow fort is a shared childhood memory of many, and Al Dhaheri decided to translate the softness and impermanence of the structure into the carved materiality of marble. The viewer is invited to interact with the installation, which acts as a "space within a space" made of tikkay, traditional Emirati floor cushions.

Through this marble sculpture of tikkay, traditional Emirati floor pillows, Al Dhaheri revisits moments of impromptu play. The massive scale materialises the comparison in size felt by a child when piling up a pillow tower or fort. The material weight of the marble monumentalises the experience of this recent history, allowing the delicate architecture of the tikkay to prompt questions of reinvention, play and creativity. 
- Munira Al Sayegh

While the engineering and architecture teams were designing an inner stainless steel structure capable of invisibly supporting the pillows (weighing about 1250 kg each) in their final composition, the 3D modelling team at Factum Arte worked on the shapes of the individual pillows, which were CNC-milled out of solid blocks of marble. The fragility of the flaps required hand finishing in Factum and careful handling once the pillows were shipped on site.

The artwork will become permanent fixture of the Expo 2020 Dubai site after the event closes in March 2022 and the area becomes District 2020.

Render of the final composition © Factum Arte

Render of the final composition (top view) © Factum Arte

Render of the final composition © Factum Arte

The CNC-milled marble pillows in Factum Arte's workshops © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte

The CNC-milled marble pillows in Factum Arte's workshops © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte

The CNC-milled marble pillows in Factum Arte's workshops © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte

Detail of the subtle decorations on the marble surface © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte

Detail of the subtle decorations on the marble surface © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte

Detail of the subtle decorations on the marble surface © Oak Taylor Smith for Factum Arte


 

 

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