Warehouse421 has unveiled an exciting enhancement to its outdoor courtyard area. The exterior has been upgraded with the construction of a new earth wall, which incorporates elements of the natural landscapes associated with the Abu Dhabi creative hub’s coastal location.
Conceptualized and created by Fortuné Penniman and Hatem Hatem, alumni of the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship (SEAF) and co-founders of the design studio a hypothetical office, the wall reflects the area’s geological heritage by using materials sourced from the coastal desert region which surrounds it. The duo will discuss the inspiration behind the project during a talk at Warehouse421 on Sunday, 21 October at 6:30pm. Hosted in collaboration with Nagwa Design Studio, the event will see the architects reveal details on the research behind their recent work, their approach to context, and how landscapes and materials can be reinterpreted through design.
The wall provides visitors with a space that mediates the transition between the industrial context outside and the modern, clean lines of the art-display environments within the building. Drawing inspiration from the unique saline rock formations found throughout the landscapes of coastal Abu Dhabi, it consists of a series of layered-earth strata mixed with samples of raw materials from the locale, and was constructed using the traditional ‘rammed earth’ technique. Combining a durable construction method used extensively in the region in antiquity with indigenous shrubbery, the wall is both materially and geometrically representative of the natural landscape of the nearby desert.
Faisal Al Hassan, Manager of Warehouse421, welcomed the new addition, saying “We were delighted to commission a hypothetical office to develop this project, which highlights Warehouse421’s exploration of a wide range of creative disciplines and showcases innovative production techniques within the UAE. By incorporating elements which represent the surrounding desert and industrial environments, the wall embodies the rich heritage of Abu Dhabi’s coastal landscapes. The use of the rammed earth process revives a neglected traditional construction method, reflecting our dedication to the preservation of indigenous crafts and heritage. We look forward to hosting Fortuné Penniman and Hatem Hatem for their upcoming Nagwa Design Series talk, where the community will have an opportunity to hear the fascinating story behind the conceptualization and construction of the wall.”
Standing over five meters tall, the monolithic structure incorporates biophilic design principles and features a series of organic openings situated at various heights. A selection of indigenous plants has been incorporated into the façade, symbolizing the natural pattern of shrubbery that forms an important feature of the coastal region’s desert landscape.
Warehouse421 is located in Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed area and is open from 10am to 8pm, Tuesday to Sunday.