waiwai : Follies

Follies i​s a display of built and unbuilt projects by Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, principals of ​waiwai​ (formerly known as ibda design), an architectural practice with roots in the U.A.E and Japan. Taking over the Socotra and Chiuhahan Gardens, the display showcases architectural models that highlight waiwai​’s commitment to deep research and to exploring the tensions between form and function. In 1962, Japanese architect Kazuo Shinohara’s controversial declaration that “a house is a work of art” marked a juncture in the architectural field. ​Shinohara’s intentional use of the word “art” detached the house from notions of economic efficiency and mass production, ideals that subsumed architectural practice in the 1960s. ​Likening the practice of architecture to art enabled discussions of efficiency, value and the market, and the potential to explore inefficiency as a driver for creative, idea-driven architecture. The title of this exhibition, ​Follies​, references the architectural folly: a costly ornamental building or structure with no practical purpose.

Follies showcases 10 models of waiwai’s work over the 10 years of their practice. Made of materials including marble, resin, wood and cardboard, the models represent various residential, cultural and religious projects, as well as Art Jameel’s Hayy:Creative Hub in Jeddah, which will open in winter 2020-21.

Long time collaborators of Art Jameel, Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto are curating the National Pavilion UAE’s exhibition, which explores how salt from the UAE’s Sabkha could inspire renewable building materials, at the upcoming edition of the Venice Biennale.

By channelling their home cities’ nurturing of multicultural diversity, both Wael and Kenichi synthesize an array of cultural backgrounds into a clear and deliberate architectural language. Their deep interest in natural phenomena has led them to approach architecture in a multi-disciplinary manner, one that is distinctive and always pushing the boundaries of design. Their practice combines architecture, landscape, graphic and urban design, with offices in Dubai and Tokyo.

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