IOTA Installation / Karim+Elias
Text description provided by the architects. Utilizing one of the most abundantly found natural materials in the UAE — sand, IOTA is a grand open-air installation showcasing over 150 modular spheres of sand, designed to welcome guests into Dubai’s Downtown Design 2022 fair.
Sand has existed timelessly and, in many ways, paints a meaningful picture of the city’s history, culture and identity. Instinctively, the design duo saw this as an opportunity worth embracing while asking themselves — how can the most abundantly found local material be used as an ecological ode to Dubai?
The work preserves the age-old method of hand-pressing earth layer above layer, now cast in modern-made moulds. The design duo has reimagined the method through form, showcasing a perceptibly heavy material as contemporary, soft and seemingly weightless. Each tactile sphere is unique in texture and composition, naturally pigmented in an array of colors.
A majority of blood orange and powder pink spheres are composed to define areas of circulation and rest — a playful layout allowing pedestrian porosity to and from the exhibition’s entry point. The modular composition is likened to a painting, where each perspective throughout the installation is an exercise of art direction, meant to balance and harmonize the palette of colors. Given its versatile layout, ever-changing moments experienced throughout the installation present multiple opportunities for picturesque moments.
Sparked by the story of IOTA, Karim+Elias was founded to creatively explore sand through art and design. The duo has come to recognize sand as a material with meaning, in its timeless and universal quality. As a potential alternative to stone, marble or even concrete, it is the foundation of their work philosophy. Karim+Elias is beginning with pieces of Dubai, on a mission to craft earthen relics and spatial experiences from landscapes worldwide.