Finalists revealed for 2017 Urban Commissions public shelter project

Three finalists have been announced for the 2017 edition of Urban Commissions, a design competition launched by Dubai Design District (d3) and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

The shortlisted designs are for a ‘communal table’ that will be placed within the urban landscape of Dubai Design District (d3) in 2017.

The brief for the competition’s third edition was to design a table with various seating combinations that celebrate the Emirati tradition of gathering and creates a setting for conversation, collaboration and respite.

The three selected finalists are:

1. Dhow by Alya AlEghfeli & Jawaher AlKhayyal

Dhow is inspired by traditional Emirati sailing vessels used for transportation and pearl diving, the main source of wealth in the UAE before the discovery of oil. The concept draws parallels between the ships that brought trade and prosperity to Dubai and d3, the new gateway to design in the Middle East. The structure was inspired by the dhow’s hull and is crafted from weatherproof Marine Plywood planks that ripple, mimicking the movement of paddling.

Galvanised stainless steel rods hold the planks in place and the eco-friendly, light-coloured Corian table top reflects the heat. Dhow is built in 8 separate modules for easy transportation, and there is the option to include solar LED light strips between the planks for evening use.

2. Mu.TABLE by Cecilia Morosi of SUPERFUTUREDESIGN*

Mu.TABLE comprises a series of simple, minimalist, modular elements composed of concrete volumes, and Marine Plywood table tops mitred at 45 degree angles to lock into a welded steel structure without the use of screws. Tables are alternated with concrete blocks that secure the structure into place. The larger blocks serve as planters for olive trees which create shadows and integrate nature. The smaller blocks can be used as device charging stations if located close to an electrical outlet.

Very compact in its linear configuration, Mu.TABLE can be effortlessly turned to create a more private arrangement. Its stools can be hanged and locked within the table frame, allowing all elements to rotate at once, and the whole configuration can be easily relocated with the help of a forklift. As it is a modular system, more tables can be added to create an infinite array of possibilities.

3. Hi Lo Shade by Sarah Faruki

Hi Lo Shade consists of three distinct elements brought together to create a communal space that allows users to inhabit an intimate space or join a larger conversation. A high, rectangular table constructed from rammed earth supported by a wooden substructure spans a second, semi-spherical low table and benches constructed from pre-cast terrazzo incorporating stones from local beaches. A vertical arish shade woven from local palm with custom pattern supported by an ash wood frame loosely embraces both tables from above.

The winner will be announced early February and the completed prototype will be unveiled at Design Days Dubai, 14 – 18 March, before moving to its new home in Dubai Design District.

The submissions for this year’s competition were studied by a judging panel of design industry professionals and educators: Khalil Abdulwahid, visual arts manager at Dubai Culture; Umran Shah, business development manager at d3; Janet Belloto, associate dean College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University; Joshua Cox, founder of SoleDXB; Fadi Sarriedine of Fadi Sarriedine Studio; and, Rawan Kashkoush, head of Programming at Design Days Dubai.