At Re_USE EXHIBITION
Fabrication: Alwafi Foundry
Video: Mohamad Chehimi
Location: Scientific Centre, Kuwait.
The team decided to dig into the history of Kuwait’s design identity and tell a story about using the past to create contemporary product designs. 46 custom designed products, that were sand-cast in a foundry in Kuwait, were initially presented as the Kuwait City Pavilion at Dubai Design Week 2018, and then travelled to Kuwait to become part of Re_Use Exhibition organized by Zahed Sultan and KFAS at the Scientific Centre in Kuwait.
The series starts from a critique of the kitsch replication of Classical architectural motifs in Kuwaiti houses. Kuwait has struggled to develop a context-based design identity due to the copying of Greco-Roman decor. Desert Cast borrows the profiles that were used for extruded cornices and friezes for these homes, and morphs them, to produce and establish a Kuwaiti identity that is rooted in its migrant history, yet embraces its contemporary image.
Desert Cast is an exploration of locally available materials and fabrication methods to reach a local ‘maker’ identity. Different Kuwaiti production methods were explored and reinvented. Gypsum-moulding, for example, is a method used to easily reproduce Classical Graeco-Roman architectural motifs, many of Kuwait’s decorated mansions and modest villas utilize this affordable technique. Although simple methodically, the end results are formally elaborate and considered “Oriental”.
The objective was to align gypsum-moulding with sand-casting through foam as a mediator to produce functional objects. The extruded profiles were cut in foam and used to cast complete metal objects by Alwafi Foundry master craftsmen. The objective is to shed light on the accessibility to master fabricators’ craft. These skills are used in a narrow practice, with limited perceived value, but by reading between the lines, can be used for much more. The Desert Cast installation visually narrates this story by showcasing functional objects in D3 that are made through lost-foam- casting.