DIFC Art Nights’ “Deciduous” 3D-Printed Pavilion Made from Recycled Water Bottles
Art Nights at the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC Art Nights) is a three-day event centered around physical art, live performances, and culture. This year brought in a variety of art exhibitors to the lifestyle hub, which until now has usually been more closely associated with business.
One eye-catching installation not only perfectly embodied the “Autumn” theme for the event, but also brought together multiple organizations in its creation and sent out a powerful message about the environment at the same time.
The highlight at the DIFC’s “Gate Village” location is “Deciduous,” the first-ever 3D-printed art installation in the Middle East. That’s especially notable in a city that’s far from a stranger to the technology. In fact, Dubai has been recognized several times for its work towards more sustainable architecture with the use of 3D printing.
The large pavilion is meant to be a reflection of nature, with an abstract botanical form that loosely resembles tree branches rising from the earth. The goal is to encourage visitors to walk through the art and be inspired to reconnect with their natural surroundings.
The term “deciduous” refers to plants that shed their leaves annually, typically in the fall, thus lining up with the “Autumn” theme for this year’s Art Nights event as a whole. The tip of each curved “branch” is colored orange to further express the sensations of the season. In addition to emulating an abstract sense of nature, the piece also represents the conservation of nature with the use of three different materials chosen specifically with sustainability in mind.
The project came together through a collaboration of partners, starting with the design team at MEAN (Middle East Architecture Network). Lesly Lobo joined in to tackle the CNC birch plywood fabrication, and AI Build converted 30,000 upcycled water bottles into a usable polymer. Last but certaitly not least, BESIX 3D joined forces with local 3D printing service 3DVinci Creations to provide the concrete mold.
Computational modeling provided the framework for “Deciduous,” which allowed the design to marry with large-scale 3D printing processes quite smoothly. The entire installation was created off-site and moved into place in sections. No heavy equipment was required to move or put the piece together. Instead, it’s simply been fitted with joints for manageable assembly and disassembly.
Although “Deciduous” is both installation art and a statement for nature, it also represents the City of Dubai’s new goal to infuse similar additive manufacturing to 25 percent of all its new buildings by 2025. This year’s DIFC Art Nights also displayed the work of 21 other artists, as well as nine galleries. With over 7,000 visitors each year, the event continues to solidify the DIFC’s status as a reputable art center.
Peyman Al Awadhi, Senior Vice President and Official Spokesperson at DIFC Authority, says: “Art Nights is one of DIFC’s most popular and important lifestyle events of the year, representing a real celebration of the vibrant and cosmopolitan community in Dubai and the UAE. It is also a reflection of our commitment to the creative industry by delivering on Dubai’s Culture and Arts strategy to boost the Emirates’ position as a global cultural center and an incubator for talent. With so many spectacular art exhibitions, entertainment, and dining experiences for everyone, we look forward to welcoming visitors to the DIFC to experience this exciting cultural event.”