Ana D’Castro, Architecture, BIA Design, Dubai, Furniture design, Installations, Public spaces in Middle East, Sustainability

Ana D’Castro shares her ideas on incorporating art into public spaces

Portuguese-born architect Ana D’Castro, founder of BIA Design, has been working across multiple disciplines, including street art installations, painting, interior design and architecture.

D’Castro shares with designMENA one of her latest projects – The Land Art series, inspired by the UAE desert dunes.

Designed as part of the revitalisation program for one of the public areas in Dubai, D’Castro and her team are currently designing a series of urban furniture pieces, installations and street lighting.

She explains: “It’s a very exciting project and in a very prominent location but for now the details remain confidential.”

The Land Art concept was inspired by the contour lines of the UAE desert dunes and the sensual and organic shape of its slopes.

“Our design intends to recreate the negative space taken from the shape of a sitting person over a dune, imprint a temporary landmark into the sand,” she says. “By carving out from a monolithic cube of concrete, the material used mostly in urban designs, and adding cork, a sustainable material, we tried to craft an ergonomic design to provide pleasant experience.”

The second part of the series is focused on children.

D’Castro continues: “To create a memorable visit for the young ones, we designed a playground that children can run, roll around and climb without any danger for them. This playground furniture is built out of cork, soft to play on, harmless for children, easy to be cleaned and sustainable for environment.

Paying tribute to the heritage of the UAE, D’Castro also proposed an urban art installation – The Diving series, composed by a triptych sculpture and integrated in a modern urban fountain.

“Taking as a precedent the heritage of UAE, the sculptures reinterpret the traditional activity of pearl diving in the Arabian Gulf, as one of the main trade activities of the country,” she says.

“The sculpture is composed by three large -scale human figures that metaphorically dive into the modern fountain, as if they were diving into the sea.”

The pieces are casted in bronze and supported by a concrete cubical base that intersects the fountain in punctual places defining a diving platform.

She explains: “The art piece encrypts a new meaning as if tradition is diving into the modern era, reconnecting both into a central axis.”

Read our full interview this month on designMENA.