Dubai Design Week: Jordanian Pavilion uses stone swings to evoke imagination and play

A Dubai Design Week initiative, Abwab,  meaning “doors” in Arabic, is a series of six architectural pavilions that showcase the work of the most exciting designers, studios and curators from six different countries in the Middle East and the near region.

Inspired by the imagination that drives childhood play, the Jordan pavilion draws on the swing, or ‘murjeiha’ to evoke memories of its designers’ childhood.

With the help of accelormeters and  Arduinos, the team introduced interaction design that allows one to generate and activate the present surroundings while challenging gravity.

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The simple swinging motion converts into a visual and audible translation, the designers said in a release.

Designer Rand El Haj Hasan told DesignMENA: “We wanted each person who comes into the pavilion to be part of the display – so the swings make a musical sound every time anyone uses them.”

The pavilion was curated by Arini Creative Platforms, a non-profit institution promoting design, architecture and urbanism, founded by Mohammad Aljabi, Heba Najada and Liyan Jabi.

The team explained: “When it was playtime, the game that everybody knew how to play was our very own imagination. Imagination fuelled us with the limitless abilities to create new worlds, change our environments and explore alternative realities.

“The magnifying and augmentative imaginative powers took simple or mundane things from around us to transform them into objects and situations far more or bigger than what they are. It was so easy for us to live alternative realities.

“With all these in mind, the swing, or ‘murjeiha’, made complete sense to be the starting point of our design. We believe it to be the optimum representation of our collective childhood as Jordanian designers.”

The swing seats represent the solid and ‘grounded’ elements of the installation, using the heritage from the Palestinian and Jordanian geology. Each stone is from a different part of the two countries, gaining their names from the various cities and villages of their source.

Hasan added: “The swing is universal – everyone knows what it is. It’s all about imagination. I can remember playing on one and pretending I was flying. That is the feeling we want to give those who come to our pavilion.”

The fabric surrounding the installation represents the more volatile and airy element that accompanies the dreaminess of the imagination.

Design team: Dina Haddadin, Omar Al-Zo’bi, Rand El Haj Hassan, Rula Yaghmour and Arini (curator).

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